Chameleon on the moon 2

Continuation from Rio de Janeiro

When I arrived in a new town, I asked around to the locals. How to get to the valley I’m looking for, or about the pottery village. I moved while gathering information.

One day, I met Fabiana while hiking to a mountain, who knew an artist who is a painter, also potter, and sculptor.

I saw a tall flower that looked like a firework on my hike. I heard it was called “Sempre-viva,” meaning “sempre (always)”, “viva (alive)”. I liked the name. It probably means “evergreen”.

After descending the mountain, we went to a place where there was a grassy plain on top of the land that looked like solidified lava. There was also a rockery, with murals of animals painted by the ancients. Sempre viva, someone is always alive.

A few days later, Fabiana took me to the town where the artist lives. It was an old town where the first settlers began to live about 300 years ago.

And then I met João.

He painted portraits or churches, one is Aleijadinho (a Brazilian colonial architect and sculptor affectionately known as Mr. Handicapped or Little Cripple). He used soapstone from the region to make stone pots, an essential part of the region’s traditional cuisine. He made almost everything himself, from electrical wiring to table saws to potter’s wheels to small tools. He made various sculptures out of stone and wood, made clay from soil he collected near his house, and fired pottery in a kiln he built behind his house.

It was still a little south of the valley settlement I was aiming for.
But isn’t it here? I knew this was the place I was looking for.
João welcomed me to his studio with open arms.
I had been in Brazil for three months and could only speak a little Portuguese. Even so, João talked to me a lot, and at the same time, he gently watched over me. Our communication was imperfect, but there were moments of understanding that do not always happen even between speakers of the same native language. It was a precious time when we were able to exchange various invisible things.
The days in João’s studio reminded me to immerse myself in the act of making and reminded me of fulfillment.

After about a month, I stopped my hand like crazy moving and suddenly went for a walk. I went all the way up the hill and arrived at a school-like place with lots of kids.

to be continued