Soledad has lived in San Pedro de Atacama for almost 30 years. Surrounded by a vast and amazing landscape, she connects with the ancient local language: pre-Columbian pottery.
“My work is deeply rooted in the ancestral and powerful pre-Columbian pottery tradition and its ancient shaping, burnishing and firing processes. It is in the slowness of the process of building each piece, where I try to find a sort of rhythm between volume and form, stillness and movement, balance and tension.
I make one-of-a-kind handbuilt, sculptural vessels using the old techniques of pinching, coiling and paddling.
Each piece is burnished with a small river stone several times during the drying process, in order to achieve a certain tactile surface. Each piece undergoes one or two firings, depending on the color and surface I am looking for. I make a low temperature gas kiln firing and I also make the traditional open sky firing, using llama and goat dung as fuel. On a low temperature gas kiln firing I can obtain an evenly red surface on pieces. If I want a red surface but with some smoke and black marks, I make the traditional firing with an oxidizing atmosphere.
If I am looking for a smoked black graphite marks surface, I make the traditional firing with a strong reduction atmosphere.”
Through an ongoing relation with clay, her work is meant to express intuitions and sensations that are constantly present when inhabiting the vast Atacama Desert and Altiplano territory and its outstanding atmosphere. The territory has become a part of the artist’s own identity; silence, solitude and vastness have shaped Soledad and her work.