Archaeologists have found Maya terracotta vessels and sculptures dating as far back as the 6th century, including the famed Jaina Island figurines. Artisan Roberto Perez draws on that ancient tradition when creating pieces like this terracotta tea set in his studio near Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán.
The designs are inspired by the traditional clothing of local women, and the palette is drawn from the colors of peacock feathers. Together, the style is unique to their Mayan village of San Antonio Palopo. Perez says, “Although a foreigner [his teacher, American ceramicist Ken Edwards] brought ceramic arts to our village, we try to relate this art to our own culture.” Each set is thrown on a potter’s wheel that was made from old household items such a boards, rulers, and an old door, and the glazes are painted by hand. Each set includes a teapot with a lid and two cups.