Ceramic and wood vases in Central America
"This is how I've learned. The main thing is that you must have a good attitude, be always open to information and be like a child: ask, ask and ask again and then practice, and practice some more.""I express my creativity through my art, ceramics. My friends say that I'm a happy person, a jokester, and quite creative. I'm always trying to cheer people up, I am a man of many convictions and I will defend them. I talk about my beliefs and I partake of different movements, such as the struggle for social justice and democracy, promoting fair trade and protecting the environment.
"I spend a good deal of my time volunteering for these causes and have made many friends this way. People say of me that I am a good father, and that is what I value the most.
"As a kid I loved to draw and growing up I chose the path of design. In 1988 I started designing low temperature ceramics. I've had to learn and unlearn many things, not every experience is the same. I've experimented a lot, invented tools, made trials and performed many tests. This is how I've learned. The main thing is that you must have a good attitude, be always open to information and be like a child: ask, ask and ask again and then practice, and practice some more.
"Other than designing, I have a very close working relationship with my friend, ceramist Mariela Ticay. The main thing is to make sure she likes my designs – I think it would be torture to be an artisan and work on designs that I don't like, that have nothing to do with what I believe in, or do. That's why designing needs to be done, officially and obligatory, with my partner artisan. That’s why I didn’t go looking for any artisan. I looked for a partner.
"For our partnership to work we must talk about and agree on what we want to achieve with a new design and how will we market it. We agree we only want to craft high quality pieces, and we also agreed that each one will sign the piece they painted. We both know the ups and downs of the market and we make decisions together. We are associates and partners in this adventure.
"My inspiration comes from indigenous traditions and my country's natural beauty. I see in tradition something others don't see. I don't wish to copy or replicate pre-Hispanic pieces, but there exists in them many interesting details from which I can learn.
"I am also inspired by textile patterns that when abstracted, they transfer well to ceramics thus creating something completely new: something uniquely modern while remaining ethnic.
"My dreams have been well dreamt and shared: I want to live in a small, self-sustainable estate and have three workshops. I've been researching solar and aeolic energy, organic farms, natural swimming pools and houses with geode domes. I would love to have the opportunity to put into practice what I preach so I can have the space and tranquility that you can’t find in a big city like Managua.
"This workshop offers direct and indirect employment – mainly indirectly. We are part of a sector in Nicaragua that offers more than 90% of job opportunities. A venture like ours is a vital source of work as it provides for many families. Our dream is to grow so we may offer more jobs under optimal working conditions.
"We offer temporal contracts for the different stages of production, and we also offer special training since our style is very different to other ceramists' styles.
"Thanks to Novica I am able to see an opportunity to create what I like the most, and not b limited by what others want. I work with the very best materials and procedures to ensure high quality pieces, and we constantly innovate our techniques."
In 2013 Omar and Mariela were awarded Best Product at the Feria Centroamericana de Artesanías.
Omar's ceramic pieces start with a mixture of powdered clay, which is sieved and mixed with water. The clay is kneaded with the feet and shaped by hand on a lathe. The ceramic piece is primed, sanded with a pumice stone, painted by hand with four coats of paint prepared with natural dyes, and/ or etched as desired. The drying process must be gradual – during the summer it can take a week to dry fully, but it can take up to 15 days to dry during the rainy season. The piece is then placed in a wood kiln to bake, where is left for two hours at its highest temperature of 600°C, then the kiln is left to cool over night so that the piece can be retrieved the following morning. The etched patterns are then painted with acrylics and the glass marbles are put in place. After wiping, the piece is waxed for a lustrous finish.