The Sagada Ceramics Center was founded in January of 2001 by U.S.based potter, Archie Stapleton. Sagada is located in the Central Cordiallera Mountains of the island of Northern Luzon in the Philippines, and is where Stapleton grew up as the son of Episcopal missionaries. The building and land for the project were donated by the mayor of Sagada, Mr. Thomas Killip, and the money for outfitting the workshop with equipment was provided by a grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust based in the United States.
During the two and a half years that Archie Stapleton and his family spent living in Sagada, he got the workshop outfitted with wheels, clay processing equipment, and kilns. A dozen or so apprentices were trained in all of the stages of pottery production: locating and processing clay from the surrounding mountains, throwing forms on a wheel, locating materials for glazes, applying glazes, building and firing kilns, as well as the scientific principles underlying clay and glaze composition as well as the effects of different firing conditions on the eventual outcome of a pot. most importantly, the apprentices learned how to experiment with various glazes on various types of clay using a small test kiln enabling them to come up with products that are unique to Sagada. They try to rely as much as possible on locally found clay and glaze materials which are abundant in the geologically rich mountains of Northern Luzon. The aesthetics of fine ceramics are ingrained in the Igorot people of the Cordillera who, for centuries, have treasured jars and other wares traded from China that were used as vessels to make rice wine, and used and appreciated as family heirlooms.
The apprentices are now potters in their own rights, who sell and display their products in Sagada as well as cities such as Manila and Baguio. The potters are able to use the facilities to produce and sell their own work. The current members who were trained at the cooperative workshop are Siegrid Bangyay, Tessie Baldo, Jessie Degay, Brenda Fotchay Alma Bagano ,Chritina Aben,Cora Degay, and Lopi Bosaing who has opened his own workshop in conjuction with other Filipino potters.All of the potters have their own individual style of pottery and their own assets to contribute to the upkeep of the Sagada Ceramics Center.
To see photos of the Sagada Ceramic Center, please click here.