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Artisan Jenny from Arte Guavete, Puerto Rico | by Jorge Quinteros
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Artisan Jenny from Arte Guavete, Puerto Rico

During the period in which we lived in El Salvador, I recall visiting a town called Ilobasco which continues to hold it's distinct Salvadoran style of beautiful colorful painted pots, plates and miniature figurines by artisans who's inspiration has derived from every day customs and lifestyles. There's a good amount of pottery workshops throughout the township which one can stop by and catch a glimpse of the artisans at work and support their artistry by purchasing anything that's being made.


This is my recollection of the skilled workers in El Salvador and I'm reminded of the importance of their labor and how it's sustained the livelihood of the artisans. Having recently visited Puerto Rico with the family, I was hoping to walk away with an almost identical appreciation for the product development but after chatting with a few souvenir vendors in a number of small towns we visited, I was sad with the fact that there aren't many artisans left. There's only a handful and Jenny happened to be one of them.


If you're shopping for gifts in Old San Juan and randomly walk into the very few souvenir shops that haven't gone out of business and pay careful observation to what's being sold, you're likely to distinguish the gold sticker attached onto several of the pieces that clearly state where they were made and it should be no surprise that it reads "Made in China".


Jenny along with a long line of family members have been in the almost extinct business of carefully crafting by hand everything they sell. There was only a handful of people who I brought back souvenirs for and rather than aggravate myself in trying to find the "best" price for anything I hand in mind buying, my family and I purchased everything we needed from Jenny as a way to support her business and artistry.


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Taken on April 7, 2013