How La Chamba Pottery is Made

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Chamba pottery has been made in the village of La Chamba on the banks of the Magdalena River of Central Colombia for as long as anyone can remember.

Because of its popularity, virtually every family in the village is dedicated to the making and selling of Chamba; the more rustic pieces are sold domestically and the finer pieces are sold abroad. The pieces are crafted inside the homes, dried outside on porches, patios and yards and fired in small ovens. Individual families specialize in certain pieces and most family members help in some way.

The clay itself is ubiquitous, and through special laws, belongs to the residents of La Chamba. It is even “mined” from the fields of local farmers prior to planting. The red or terra cotta colored slip that is applied prior to firing if mined further away and is purchased from vendors. (The red clay is finer than the coarse black clay and enables the Chamba to be burnished to a fine sheen.)

The resident-craftsmen and women are their own bosses and set their own prices for their products.