An interesting excursion from Santiago de Chile is to approach the small village of Pomaire to see samples of its good work with clay crafts. It only takes an hour from the capital to travel the little more than 60 km that separate it from this congregation of artisans.
In Pomaire, work is mainly done on clay, a type of clay that the pre-Columbian peoples used to make utensils here. Getting around the village is extremely simple, as there are countless shops and workshops along the main street and the perpendiculars. At first glance, it will be easy to appreciate at least three types of objects: those dedicated to tourists (eye-catching but not very useful and not at all traditional), kitchen utensils (if a simplicity not without attraction, is the genuine use they have given here to clay for centuries) and craft pieces (which are usually miniatures).
My practical sense of the traveler who likes to move around with little luggage had to struggle hard with the aspiring stove inside me not to come back loaded with pots, plates and salad bowls: prices are low, and the quality is very good.
If you are tempted to come back with piggy banks (there are thousands of clay piggy banks) remember that in Chile a “pig” is a “chanchito”.
Seeing this gentleman working on the lathe, I remembered Neruda’s verses that I read on the plane…
The lathe to me seems hypnotic, to see how delicately a clay stick becomes all kinds of objects. I found this video on the clay of Pomaire if you are interested.
Some interesting links: in “Todo a Mano” they have a directory of craft workshops in Pomaire, and in “Puro Chile” there are notes on the history and tradition of Pomaire.
There are many little shops on the street where you can eat something, but in the next post, I will make you a very good recommendation to eat in Pomair.