Lenca pottery is presently being restored by a small population of Lenca Indian Women, forming a group of "Women Only" working together in restoring and promoting their unique Pre Colombian art. From the eldest to the youngest all participate in this process and structure. The only help accepted from men is assistance in chopping the firewood for the baking process and hauling of the mud from the remote areas to their homes or working ares.
Lenca pottery was known to the Pre Hispanic era and is completely made by hand using only natural materials. The mud is taken from four different areas and make up the four different color groups of dark brown, brown, red and white. It is put through a three step process of refining until the final material is ready to be mixed with water. It is then mixed and molded until reaching a pasty mass of tine texture clay, making it then ready to take any of two hundred shapes and designs that they presently offer. Beginning with a mass the size of the intended piece the potter will start the mold into whatever shape they have decided for that day or moment. The only tools used in the process are the husks of dried corn and twigs. After the form and shape has been completed it is then put through the processes of baking in large brick ovens at high temperatures. The length of time depends on the piece according to its size. Then cooling it is then ready for its designs.
Lenca artist then prepares another special mixture of clay which contain secret ingredients,which sill preserve the original color after the first baking process. Packed in small bags they begin the decorating process applying a coat of clay depending on their choice of design. The various designs include an Aqua line, a traditional line, Nativity and contemporary.
After the design has been concluded the piece is then fired in open air allowing the artist to fire each piece according its its individual design and shape. The open fire process is done by burning different types of leaves including dried and green in order to achieve the final color. After this process it is the girls turn for a bit of work/ play after school hours, They then clean the relief layer of clay from each piece and pass it on to the ladies for polishing process. This process is done by buffing each piece with the stone called the "Piedra de Raya" meanings the lighting stone. It is the processes, which takes the most to accomplish. The piece is then again baked and polished sometimes up to three times until reaching the final look and satisfaction of the potter before it goes to the supplier. Because of its uniqueness and tradition these Groups of Lenca Ladies are proud to have the privilege to give some of this pieces a gifts to very important people from Foreign Governments who have visited our Country Honduras. Some of whom have include the Queen of Spain, Lady Sophia who truly has expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the art.
As the art continues to develop we expect to see pieces among the Worlds Most Prestigious Makers of Pottery. We then , will experience the Pride and Joy of our County Honduras and its distinction in the "Restoration of Pre-Hispanic Art".