On a recent interview with last week’s TIMEOFF section of the Princeton Packet publication, Tito talks about his experience as a descendant of seven generations of potters in his family.
Pottery artisan Juan Pablo Martinez will demonstrate ancient techniques at Carter & Cavero in Princeton
RENOWNED Spanish potter Juan Pablo Martínez (aka Tito), grandson of one of the most popular pottery artisans in 20th century Spain, will give a demonstration at Carter & Cavero Old World Olive Oil Company in Princeton Dec. 2 and 4. Using clay and a potter’s wheel, he will show the ancient techniques that have made his pottery world famous.
TO: What kinds of pieces can customers purchase at Carter & Cavero?
Tito: Most of the pieces are to decorate the house or the kitchen; they are traditional pieces with 1,000-year-old designs. In the past, these pieces were used to contain oil or wine and to preserve food over the year. However it is not a “mummified” production — we receive orders from 21st century customers, adapted to the necessities of this great country.
TO: What special techniques do you use in your work?
Tito: They are techniques that have survived the different civilizations of our country, from the Neolithic, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance… each period left different styles and techniques. The quality of the pieces turned is extraordinary. You can find a wide variety of colors and finishing touches, which lets us work with different forms of expression.
TO: Where do you sell your pieces?
Tito: We sell most of our pieces in our in-house workshop. Úbeda gets a great deal of tourism from central Europe and North America. Our pieces are in great demand with these two groups, especially. We export only about 15 to 20 percent of our production with Carter & Cavero in the United States, Japan and other countries.
TO: How many pieces do you typically make a week at your workshop?
Tito: We try to produce just the right amount to ensure a good quality and we dedicate sufficient time to the decorating process. We cannot quantify it — there are pieces that can take a week to 10 weeks to create, and there are other pieces that we can produce 100 of them during the same amount of time.
TO: What is your earliest or fondest memory of watching your grandfather and father creating pottery?
TO: Can you describe the region of Úbeda?
TO: Have people in your region regretted giving up their craft to instead use plastics and inexpensive glassware for their households?
Tito: Yes, in all of Spain almost all workshops disappeared in the 20th century during the ‘60s, once new materials and new customs came about. Only potters that are very dedicated and entrepreneurial like my father have survived in this profession. However there were many years of uncertainty, and it was very hard for many people who stayed with this profession. Fortunately time has recompensed those efforts.