Calderón was the first local town we visited on our weekend excursion north of Quito . Calderón is approximately 20 miles north of Quito in the Pichincha Provence. We started our weekend tour of the artisanal handicrafts here.
The town is famous for making bread dough ornaments called masapan. The art of masapan started in local bakeries during the 1970s & 1980s. As the ornaments became more popular with tourists, bakers started adding colorings to the dough.
Masapan requires a good deal of manual labor, as they are handmade. It is becoming a dying art. Young people no longer want to learn the art of making masapan because they are so time consuming to construct. They also do not command an high price, making it unattractive to spend so much time hand making them.
While in Calderón, we visited the shop of Señora Blankita. She gave us a demonstration, making several small ornaments while we watched. The students also had the opportunity to try their hand and making a masapan figure as well.
I couldn’t help but purchase a couple for myself. I came home with a set of figurines. A man and a woman, dressed in the tradtional attire of the city of Cuenca. They now live in my office with the monkey flute I found in Nazca, Peru last year.