Bernardino Arce was born in Pucara, Puno Peru, in 1950 into a family of ceramic artists. He began making pottery with his father when he was ten years old. In his teens, he moved to Arequipa to finish high school. Bernardino had hoped to become an architect, but due to his family’s needs, he wasn’t able to finish his career training. Instead, with his love for clay he started his own ceramic workshop. Today he works with his wife Irma, his son Luis, who has a degree in ceramics and design, and four helpers. On occasion, his other sons and daughters also give a hand in the workshop when they are not busy with their other occupations.
Bernardino mixes clay with “sillar”, a very light and white volcanic rock found in Arequipa, to achieve extra durability. He also enjoys creating colorful marble patterns using engobe and natural pigments, a technique inspired by Japanese water marbling. In recognition of his innovation, creativity, and excellence in his craft, he was recently given by the Peruvian government, the prestigious Joaquin Lopez Ampay folk artist distinction award.
See Bernardino's watering birds