Beatriz Esperanza Malaver Zthocumbi
Beatriz is the President of Sinchi Warmi and the wife of one of the school teachers in Santa Ana. She recently came to Santa Ana from another village and is quickly making friends and lending her time to work alongside the women of Santa Ana in their initiatives. She has four children: two boys and two girls. When she was 8 years old, she began learning the art of pottery-making from her aunt. Beatriz sells pottery and raises chickens to be able to send her two older children to attend middle school and high school. She has an extremely rich imagination for depicting her surroundings on her pottery – the jungle, the rivers, and her new community of Santa Ana.
Gladis has five children and is currently raising two of her grand children. Her mother taught her how to make pottery when she was a very, very little girl and she has always enjoyed it. Gladis came to Santa Ana from Canelos and her pottery reflects the traditional style and shape that is common in the pottery there. Gladis says that originally the pottery was not painted. Then people started painting the pottery with their fingers in bold, broad strokes. Now the traditional method of painting involves the artist taking some of her own hair and fashioning it into a brush. Gladis started painting her pottery with her fingers and transitioned to a brush made from her hair when she was 25. Now it is Gladis’s turn to pass on the tradition of pottery making. She has been teaching her daughter Marisole, age 20. While Gladis prefers to paint the most traditional design, Marisole has developed her own unique style with her gift for drawing and painting plants and animals.
Etelvina Clara Gualinga Machua
Etelvina is a single mother with five children, four boys and one girl. She learned to make pottery when she was 10 years old and has in turn taught her own daughter. Etelvina came to Santa Ana from a village deeper in the Amazon called Sara Yaku that is only accessible by plane. She came to Santa Ana when she was 17 to marry her husband. They were since separated and Etelvina runs a small store and “bar” in Santa Ana. Her adult daughter now lives in Puyo, a nearby town, and makes pottery to sell as a way to help her mother. Etelvina has much experience with ceramics and is extremely generous in lending her time to teach other women of Sinchi Warmi how to make the pottery.
Maria Veronica Zabala Wama
Maria has eleven children, three of whom have died leaving eight who are living. She has 26 grandchildren. She was never officially married but was matched by her parents and given away when she was 12 to her husband Walter, 25 years old at the time. She had her first child when she was 17. Her husband is now 55, the “grandfather” of the village, and one of its founding members. She learned how to make pottery from her mother when she was very young. Her mother only made traditional designs and did not know how to paint. Maria illustrates the natural world around her in her pottery in a painterly style that is uniquely her own. She finds the painting in particular to be more difficult now that her eyesight is deteriorating.
Sonya Clemencia Atsamp Pinchupa
Sonya has lived in Santa Ana for 10 years. She is originally from a town in Macas Provice called Santa Teresa Lucia but came to Santa Ana when she married Daniel, one of Maria Zabala’s sons. Sonya and Daniel have four children and another on the way. Sonya’s mother made traditional jewelry but not pottery, so Sonya is only now started to learn pottery from other women in Santa Ana. So far she has only sold jewelry to Sacha Yaku, but is hoping to make more jewelry and start selling potter as well.
Carmen Lolaida Cutji Gualinga
Carmen is 36 years old and has three children with another on the way. When she was 12 years old, her parents separated and she was raised in a mission in Sara Yaku. Her mother taught her ceramics when she was little, then she learned more while living at the mission. She lived with her aunt in Schell while in high school and sold pottery to raise money for her own tuition. She says she feels like she’s forgotten things she knew about making pottery and is happy to have this opportunity to learn them again. Carmen is an expert at forming ceramics with unique shapes and painting exquisitely fine, detailed traditional designs.
Carina Elizabeth Moya Cansetta – Murushi in Shuar
Murushi prefers to use her indigenous name. She is 28 years old and has two daughters. She and the father of her children were never married but remain together to raise their children. Murushi’s father is Schuar and a Shaman, and her mother is Quichuan and a herbal healer. They were one of the founding families of Santa Ana. A gifted artisan, Murushi started working to learn the traditional indigenous arts when she was 7 from her mother – both jewelry and ceramics. She is also the heir apparent to the knowledge and traditions that were passed from generation to generation among the indigenous tribes in the amazon.
Her parents separated when she was 9. When she was 12, she moved away from her mother to live with her father, her 20 year old brother, and 8 year old sister. She raised her sister like her own child while her father brought in other women. At 23 she moved on her own and took her sister with her. Murushi makes jewelry to support her family and allow her to continue to live close to the natural world that is the foundation of the cultural heritage she carries. She has traveled across South America with her work, which is sold in several jewelry stores around Ecuador.
Veronica Gimena Gualinga Santi
Veronica is married and has 6 children. She came to Santa Ana when she was 14 and is now 22. She learned some ceramic skills from her mother as a child, primarily by watching her as she worked. It was only after she came to Santa Ana that she started making her own pottery. Nevertheless, Veronica has accumulated a lot of skill and knows a lot about the different sources of clays, mineral paints and varnish. She hopes that the collaboration with Sacha Yaku will help her convince her husband to allow her to participate more with Sinchi Warmi’s activities and make more ceramics to sell.
Lucila Maria Santi Vargas
Lusila is 52. She had 8 children before her husband died from a snake bite. She remarried and had another 2 children. Her grandfather is from Santa Ana and she grew up in the village. Her grandmother taught her to make ceramics when she was you. She follows many of the traditional styles, including a rough outside texture, minimal designs on the outside, and a banded bottom, which she paints with her fingers. She never went to school and did pottery instead. Lucila is making pottery to sell to help her children.
Gloria Wasantan Zubala Vargas
Gloria is the first wife of David Moya, who currently lives with his second wife Carmen, leaving her essentially a single mother. She has two boys and one girl. She has just recently started making pottery because her mother never knew and could not teach her. Other women in Santa Ana are teaching her. She wants to learn to help pay for her daughter Sacha to go to middle school and high school. Gloria’s pottery is careful and precise and she paints the animals and plants from the environment around her.