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Guaitil pottery

Old Jan 29th, 2007, 06:25 AM
  #1  
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Guaitil pottery

earthtraveler (and any others who know),

I didn't want to hijack the souvenir post where you mentioned pottery. But would love to know where you think I can find the "good stuff." Also hoped for more posters by mentioning Guaitil specifically.

This is one of the places I plan to go when in CR this May. I really want to buy some nice pieces to bring (or ship) home for myself and for gifts. My time there will be limited so it would be great if I knew the best places to go, rather than just wandering and hoping to luck upon them.

We'll most likely be there on a Saturday on our way to Arenal from either Mal Pais or Nosara areas.

Thanks for the help.

Fran


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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Just got back from a trip to CR and spend a morning at guaitil. We picked up some very nice pottery there. It was in my opinion, much better than the stuff that was sold by the street vendors / souvenir shops. we shopped at the stands around the main town square. There were some others coming into town, but we didn;t visits those. Upon entering town on the left, is a shop where they will give you a demonstration on how the pots are made, fired, and painted. Very informative. But be warned, this shop has the most expensive prices. We bought one piece here for $30. the proprietor;s name was Willy, and he spode some english. He took credit cards, travelers checks, and of course cash - both US and CR. He also can ship purchases back to the US for you via UPS I think. We didn't do this so don't know how much is cost. We found bascially the same thing in other shops around the town square for about half the price. the first shop to the right on entering the town square area seemed to be the cheapest. We called this one the Cinqo Amigos shop since it was run by 5 young men who were all friends and working together. Each piece was signed on the bottom by the maker and also says made in guaitil which we thought was a nice touch.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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Brollend is right about the town of Guatil on the Nicoya Peninsula being the best place. Great fist hand advise!

I haven't been there but did stop at a quaint pottery shop along the hiway between San Jose and the west coast and found a couple very nice pieces. One was signed, the other not, but still good quality and that is coming from a potter. Happy hunting.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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brollend,
Thanks for the firsthand advice. I'll make notes and be sure to check out the "cinco amigos."

earthtraveler,
I didn't know you were a potter, or if I did, I forgot. My husband and I are both "hobbiest" potters. We're just now getting our studio back together. IVAN took everything but our wheel and a home-built raku kiln. Hope to get to play in the mud more once we retire from our real jobs. (He's a college prof. - Organic Chemistry - way over my head! And I'm a contractor building pre-sold single family homes.)

I love looking at other potters' stuff.

Fran

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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Fran, we loved Guaitil, but I don't remember the name of the place where we purchased our pottery. What I DO remember is that it was run by a woman about my age who kept calling me "Mi Amor" as is common, of course! If only I could get my husband to do that. . . LOL!

I also remember her telling us about her son who was killed in a motorcycle accident between Santa Cruz and Guaitil. Very sweet lady. It was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Nice memory!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 06:33 PM
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Fran, I just looked on the bottom of one of my pottery pieces (dark green spherical bowl with small opening and wide clay decorative rim with 2 lizards lounging around on the top.

If it is any help to you in finding a particular place, it says:

VASIJAS
RIGO H
Gte. CR (Gte--Guanacaste)
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 07:28 AM
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was just there and went to all the shops around the square. From the corner you are at when you first drive into town, on the far right was a shop run by a middle age woman that had a nice selection. In the far left was a shop run but a young woman. Just to the right of that was a shop run by a very old woman. Its was quite funny when we tried to bargain with her on the prices. She said, I have to go ask Mama if I can reduce the prices. She went into the house and came back and said mama said no unles you buy two or more. All the shops were fairly reasonally priced except the one on the left when first entering the town square run by Willy.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 05:11 AM
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shillmac,

Thanks for taking the time to post that info from the bottom of your pot. I'm going to print that on a small piece of paper that I can slip into my wallet. I'm sure if I show that to someone in Guaitil they can tell me where to find that potter.

Fran

bollend,

Thanks for the advice on which side of the of the street to shop on. I had to chuckle at the story about asking mama. Truth be told, she may have been going to ask her mama. When I lived down there I met quite a few old people with even older parents. At least they looked old to me then - I was in my mid-twenties. Might not look so old to me now that I'm in my late 50s. ;-)

I have a potter friend here, who is Costa Rican. In fact she teaches at the Universidad when she goes home. She told me the women potters started the potteries in Guaitil. When they got successful the men got into the act and many of the women now sell out of their homes because the men have sort of taken over the shops. She hasn't given me names of anyone specific to seek out but did tell me to look for the women potters.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 03:58 PM
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We were in Guatil in August. The "shops" around the plaza are, in reality, the homes of the potters, with the "shops attached.

In the one we finally bought from, the daughter of the house was manning the shop. My husband is an amateur potter and when he asked her a question about technique she proceed to throw a pot before our very eyes.

The mother came out as we were paying for our purchases and handed us a notice, in English, to read. It seems that the "co-op" on the corner of the square which you pass as you come into town has been paying tour guides handsome commissions to direct their tourists to this "co-op" and discourage them from visiting the individual potter's shops/homes. She was very distressed as she related this to us.

We did not visit the "co-op_
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Glad you posted your e-mail. I'll take a photo of my pottery piece and e-mail it to you. May take me a week or so--my USB cable for my camera is with my other computer. Remind me if I forget! It's a very nice piece.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:39 PM
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jtr,

What you related reinforces what my Costa Rican friend told me. She said the women potters have always worked out of their homes. But now that Guaitil pottery has become a tourist draw, the men are trying to take over. She urged me to bypass any large places and visit individual homes/potters - male or female. Although she did repeat that the women are the ones who made Guaitil pottery famous.

Shillmac,

I'm printing this to go in my CR file. I appreciate your offer to e-mail me a photo of your piece. I'll give you time to get your stuff together (sounds like us - we're still trying to get our house back together since IVAN did a number on it and half the time we can't find something we know we unpacked just the day before) then give you a gentle reminder if need be.

Fran

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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:59 PM
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I can do it tomorrow evening, and have made myself a note.
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 07:33 PM
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Floridafran.

Good. I am glad you got the message from someone else besides me. I hope that persons going to Guatil get it as well.

I hate it when the tourist industry takes over a 'native' craft place and turns it into a 'cash cow'. Aaaargh. My daughter lives in Costa Rica and we were visiting her when we went to Guatll.
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