Santana do São Francisco is the new name of the old Carrapicho village, near Neópolis, in Sergipe. Famous for its clay, collected from the riverbank, Carrapicho became famous and synonymous with clay work.
People say that in 1850 a Portuguese man called João da Igreja taught the local people how to make pots and dishes in clay. All of a sudden, nearly all the inhabitants became potters. And that’s why José Ivan dos Santos, who was born there in 1959, still works as a sculptor despite having a degree in History and being a teacher. Known as Cachoba, he says he lived among ceramics since he was a child. “Around here most pieces were utensils. That’s how I started. Then, in my spare time I started sculpting. Nowadays during the day I work with ceramics, and in the evenings I teach. One thing helps the other, because we are only busy in the high season, such as during Carnival. Then people from the city come and buy our things. Here in Carrapicho 60% of the population lives directly or indirectly off ceramics.” Like in most of the Northeast, saints are the most popular kind of work. This work depends on pilgrimages and seasonal festivals, which grow stronger every year – be it to honor faith, water, or simply life.