Residency Sachaqa Art Centre, San Roque de Cumbaza, San Martin, Peru
Clay was the very beginning of my entry into the arts. As a 13 year old I was delighted to receive a wonderful and freshly educated ceramicist as my art teacher. She introduced me to the amazing world of clay and I sucked all the learning and experiences like a sponge and worked with clay whenever I could for many years. When I started my art degree I shelved the clay to explore other materials and not so familiar practices. Ever since I have only kept the clay work going as part of my teaching art to children.
Two years ago I happened upon a pile of clay in a field nearby my house in Norway. Someone had dug it up to make a ditch. Beautiful and shimmering earthenware clay, so clean that it hardly needed sieving in plenty fold. A lifetime supply! I immediately collected a wheelbarrow full which has become the source of my rediscovering this beautiful material.
I spent three weeks at Sachaqa on the clay program. This program was especially designed for artists to wanted to explore the use of locally sourced clay and be inspired by the traditional and beautiful, indigenous Quechua ways of making clay pots and sculptures.
Trina, the artist who runs Sachaqa, has been in the village for many years and has a good network of wonderful Quechua potters and weavers that I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to spend time with. A bunch of beautiful, capable and welcoming women! I loved the simplicity of using the local clay and shintu-firing the pots the native way on an open fire. I also had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with a traditional clay collective in Chazuta, an amazing village a couple of hours away from the centre, known for its pottery traditions.
My work was exhibited together with the other three artists that were there during my stay at the Sachaqa.
Additionally I went to museums in Lima and Cusco to research how the ancient Inkas and other native cultures had made their clay pots and sculptures. It was a truly transformative experience!