Master Ceramist (Perú)

In the city of Arequipa is a small family owned ceramic workshop founded by Eduardo Gonza. Depending on the volume of orders, between 5 and 15 people work at the shop, mostly women. The group has specialized in nativities to avoid the competition in common ceramics like pottery, cookware and garden pots.

The clean workshop is lit by natural light and takes advantage of the beautiful, sunny climate of Arequipa to sun dry the clay molds. The women work either in the morning or the afternoon, which allows the mothers among them to watch their children after school.

Each ceramic piece is poured into a mold to dry in the sun. The design is extracted from the mold and first gets a rough cut to trim off the edges. Another woman then takes over and carefully grinds and sands the piece smooth while the clay is still damp. Pieces are then baked in the kiln before the painters finish each character.

Eduardo and the group believe in promoting Peruvian culture. They research different cultural groups within Peru to capture them in their ceramics. They currently create 5 nativity sets based on different Peruvian ethnic groups. Eduardo also created our very popular polar bear Nativity design honoring indigenous North American cultures.

Nativity sales in America help keep workers employed year-round. That makes these ceramic nativities the best kind of fair trade gift; Christmas décor that brings happiness to the recipient and to the people who make them.