Ceramica Valentin Lopez
San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua
Ceramics made the old-school wayI have to admit I was a little worried about making a stop at a ceramics studio. I've made these stops before, where you're supposed to see the traditional processes and all that, but it's really a slick showroom for a factory and they spend the whole time pressuring you to buy stuff. Not here. This was legit. Just a few young guys making pottery on wheels they spin with foot pedals, baking the clay in a homemade oven out back under the papaya tree. And no pressure to buy at all. But buy we did. The pieces were unlike any we'd seen anywhere else, with geometric designs etched on polychromatic glazes. Plus, they let our son try out the potting wheel. We visited this place as part of a half-day excursion with Tierra Tours that also went to the Masaya volcano and Masaya market.