In the tiny and little known rural community called Loma Panda, a group of women from indigenous origin has dedicated themselves to the creation of impressive handicrafts made of clay. These pieces are of high quality and made with a lot of creativity, using a traditional style that has been transmitted from generation to generation. This artist family is the Muñoz family.
Two different aspects make the production of the Muñoz family interesting. First of all, there is a great variety when it comes to the design of the pieces. Among the crafts are utensils (cups, dishes, trays) but most importantly ornamental objects (vases, flower pots, dolls, airplanes, flutes, and more). The second aspect is the variety in color that the family achieves by using different types of clay (known locally as “tagüe”).
The processes involved in the elaboration of the crafts has been inherited generation from generation by women of this humble family. At the beginning the production was limited to local, domestic use, but at the beginning of the nineties the Muñoz family started to to experiment with different designs that could be commercialized.
Currently there are six women involved in handicraft elaboration. They produce small or large crafts every day, making it interesting to pay a visit to their simple workshop, where the crafts can also be purchased.
Loma Panda is a very small settlement located in the municipality of San Lucas, in the department of Madriz. To get here, take a dirt road from the town of San Lucas that heads to the health center. Continue down the road for some eight kilometers. Next, take another, smaller dirt road that goes up a hill until reaching the settlement (a 4WD vehicle is necessary). There is no signage that points to the settlement and the road itself is hardly visible, as a small river has to be passed (the river dries out during the dry season) to get here. This makes it necessary to ask locals for the exact location of Loma Panda.