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The Maya have been making ceramics the same way for centuries. To produce a bowl the potter sits on the ground before a wooden board. Using her hands she forms the flat base of the bowl. Then she builds up the sides by placing ropes of clay, called gusanos (worms) on the base. Once the coils are tall enough, she then smoothes out the clay. The potters hands, fingertips and palms are her main tools, though she will use a piece of rubber and/or the flat of a knife to work the piece to a smoother finish. Then the  bowl is is left to dry in the sun for several days.

Painting is next. Today brushes come from stores, but the colors—mostly yellow and brown—are not. Pigments are extracted from stones the women collect in the mountains, or buy from the women who collect them.  The bowl's surface is rubbed with a rough stone to help the clay absorb the paint. Then comes the painting, and designs are simple: geometric figures, wavy lines, flowers, birds, suns and little bulls. Finally, the piece is fired, an outdoor activity that all the women in the family participate in.