The Living Light Studio Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of this project is to bring this unique traditional artwork to the Midwest and share with others the special craft that the people of San Juan de Oriente have developed. By working with the best artists of the area, Living Light Studio is working to enlighten others to these works of art and help promote the artists of the area. Each piece of pottery is hand selected at the shops of the artists themselves. Through several years of working with the people of the area, we have established a personal relationship and come to understand the tremendous effort and skill that goes into the production of each piece.

 

Once the pottery has been selected, it is then professionally packed by Carga Preciosa for shipment to the United States and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. In this way, Living Light Studio is working to bring this pottery to you and the Midwest. While undertaking this effort, Living Light Studio has established a goal that seeks to provide local support to the artists while promoting their works to the people of the U.S. As part of this effort we have established the following policy:

 

  • We have worked to identify the most talented artists in San Juan de Oriente in order to represent examples of the best workmanship in the area.

  • We work to share the craft and artwork of these people with those in the upper Midwest and beyond.Working closely with specific artists, we have encouraged each of them to properly sign and authenticate each piece.

  • Each individual piece of pottery made by our Featured Artists is provided with a Certificate of Authenticity.

  • All artists are paid under our Fair Trade Policy, meaning that we work directly with the artists and pay them asking price for their work. While bargaining and haggling over prices is common - we do not practice it! We aim to provide a decent living wage and contribute to the good of the community.

  • Living Light Studio has been involved in donating artist brushes and other gifts to the people we work with.We work closely with Jairo Tenorio to establish and maintain a personal relationship with the artists and rely on Carga Preciosa to pack and ship our purchases, which provides additional employment to the people of San Juan de Oriente.

  • We also work with the Ministry of Culture of Nicaragua to catalog and document each exported piece and ensure that no antiquities leave the country.

  • This project, of course, helps to support the artist and their families through purchase of their pottery and as a result we have seen great improvements to their shops and homes, and quality of life because of our financial investments.

  • And finally, a portion of the proceeds raised through sales help to support the people and their village through donations to the children’s library and to develop a scholarship fund to allow young people of San Juan to attend the pottery school and go through a series of established apprentice classes.

 

 

Our Fair Trade Policy

Living Light Studio, located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is a gift shop and gallery that has been in operation for over 30 years.  Originally specializing in stained glass, Living Light Studio has become well-known for its vast selection of sterling silver jewelry as well as a variety of other artistic products, ranging from wood carvings and clay figurines to wind chimes and handblown glass.  Since 2005 we have been traveling to Nicaragua with Bill Volkert and his wife Connie to visit the village of San Juan de Oriente.  Our purpose has been to meet and become personally acquainted with many of the talented artists in this village and bring their finely-crafted art to the U.S.

 

Over the years our circle of friends in San Juan has grown tremendously and so have our purchases.  As a result of four major shipments that we have received, we have now purchased and imported more than 2,500 pieces of Nicaraguan art pottery to Wisconsin.  We believe that both we and the artists have greatly benefited from this relationship.

Living Light Studio

Living Light Studio in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Artist's Signatures

 

Many of the artists in San Juan sign their work, but this is not

true for all artists or in all cases. Most of the commercial pieces

are simply inscribed with “San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua”,

or left blank. As part of the Living Light Studio Project, each

featured artist was asked to sign every piece that was hand

selected and purchased directly from them. Each item had to

include a proper signature of the artist, claiming their

workmanship on the piece and identifying themselves.

 

It also had to state that is was made in San Juan de Oriente,

Nicaragua. More recently we have also been encouraging them

to include the year when it was produced as people begin to collect

the works of specific artists.

The requirement to identify each piece as a product of Nicaragua is imposed by U.S. Customs for importation. The Nicaraguan Ministry of Culture also needs to inspect all foreign shipments and each piece must be photographed and catalogued in order to prohibit the shipment of antiquities. In some cases, artists are doing such a good job of reproducing these authentic pieces that they require additional inspection, proof or documentation. Each piece sold through Living Light Studio comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. This signifies that the piece is an original work of art produced by a particular artist. Much time was spent to become personally acquainted with each artist and to conduct a formal interview with them, as well as photograph their shops, the pottery production process, and obtain a portrait of them.

Certificates of Authenticity

Additionally, each artist provided a sample of their personal signature which was incorporated into Living Light Studio’s Certificate of Authenticity. This certificate substantiates that each particular piece of pottery was produced by a specified artist for Living Light Studio and has been personally signed and inscribed. As seen on several certificates, many artists will reserve a unique signature that they inscribe their pottery with which may differ from their written signatures.

The above information is included on the back side of the certificate.

Shipment to the U.S.

For more than seven years, we have been working with Jairo Tenorio and his company, Carga Preciosa, to carefully pack and ship our pottery directly from San Juan de Oriente.  In addition to packing and shipping, Jairo also takes care of all logistics, including documentation of each piece for the Ministry of Culture and the Customs Office. 

 

Jairo has become a close personal friend and indispensible partner in our efforts to get to know the many artists and their craft as well as export their works to Wisconsin. 

                                          Jairo Tenorio                                                                                               Carga Preciosa, San Juan de Oriente

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