Monday, April 10, 2006


Artesa Factory

One of the places we like to shop in Ecuador is a store called Artesa. They make and sell a variety of ceramic items. We have bought dishes, vases, and even a hanging ceramic light fixture. We originally discovered their main retail store in downtown Cuenca. Later, we found an Artesa store in the QuiCentro mall in Quito.

We knew there was a factory in Cuenca and, this year, we compelled Cayo to take us there. We piled in a small yellow taxi and headed for the outskirts of town. It was much larger than I expected. Where we entered was a very nice gallery with art pieces. Senor Vega started the company originally but has since sold it. He has his own gallery and workshop in Cuenca where he makes very nice original pieces. (see Terry’s prior post regarding the Vega gallery.) In the gallery of the Artesa plant were a number of original pieces by señor Vega.

The people at the factory were very nice and hospitable. A lady gave us a complete tour of the factory.

We saw the piles of raw clay and the crafting of the basic shapes. Then they fire them in an oven and all the items are hand painted. The final firing sets the colors. They obviously produce a high volume and we were told that they ship them to the US and a couple of other countries in addition to the Ecuadorian distribution.

At the end of the tour we were taken to an area with a long rack that contained rejects. For some designs, there were just a few pieces and for others there were many. Any item in this area could be purchased for a dollar. We bought these four small bowls from the discount rack.

Oh, I love those bowls! Can't decide which one I love best, though. The red one is beautiful but, oh, the green one... or...
I have Artesa dishes, and also Vega and Matisse from Ecuador. We lived there for some years, and, being a dish lover, I brought quite a few dishes back to the States with me.

Now, after using these dishes for about 8 years, I have questions of the safety of the glazing. I don't know how to be assured that the dishes are safe to use.

Do you have any information about that?
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