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May 08, 2017
Maritza Blas Cano lost her battle with Cancer. I wanted to republish this post as a way to recognize her art form and maintain her memory as a fine "artesana" from San Juan de Oriente. NICA Ceramic Art is very excited to represent the handmade clay necklaces by Maritza Blas Cano. In spending a couple of days with Maritza and her daughter Delmis in their home in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua I was able to both understand and document their extraordinary process in creating the clay necklace series. Maritza actually learned from her husband, Zapan. The pieces at that time were rather rustic. A program with Potters for Piece brought Ron Rivera to San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua where he met Maritza and the necklaces. Ron helped develop the line and stressed the quality of the product. It was at that time when Maritza took over and mastered the process.
Handmade is a buzz word out there in all sorts of artisan products. These clay beads are hand rolled with the same clay used throughout the pottery workshops of the village. A reed is rolled through the center of the clay to open the center, then the lengths of the beads are cut from the longer roll. At the same time the beads are rolled the various designs are etched in my hand with a collection of hand make tools.
When a large quantity of raw clay beads are produced they are arranged and placed in the sun to dry. The firing process is unique in that the beads are not placed in adobe kilns like the majority of the pots of the village....these pieces are fired on an open flame on a metal plate. All the beads are a native clay color. The black beads are colored by adding saw dust on the hot metal plate.....as the saw dust ignites the clay beads immediately turn black.....yes I made a video in case you don't believe me:). After all those steps the pieces still need to be strung! All of the beads on a table where Maritza and Delmis quickly and craftfully arrange the beads of style and color creating the variety of designs. These clay pieces are a specially item that are both cultural and classic. It is important that gift givers and recipients of this fine clay beaded necklaces know who Maritza and her daughter are and the incredible process that they take to produce in every piece.
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