Tessie Baldo

Tessie Baldo

Tessie Baldo was born and raised in Sagada and continues to create her ceramic wares and art pieces in her hometown, nurtured by its rich culture coupled with rituals where raw materials for pottery abound.

She started creating pottery in 2004 after training under Archie Stapleton, the son of Episcopalian missionaries who grew up in Sagada in the 1960s. Seeing the potential of the local soil and clay for pottery production, as well as the opportunity to help the townsfolk earn a living through pottery, he set up the Sagada Pottery Training Center. But from the potters trained, only two remained: Siegrid Bangyay and Tessie Baldo, who now run the pottery training center together along Besao Road, managing tours and pottery lessons, whilst pursuing their craft at the same time.

Unlike other potters who buy their clay, Tessie and Siegrid source their own clay from the Sagada mountains, digging it from the dirt themselves. For Tessie, who had tilled the land for kamote and rice, this was something she was used to; however, the local clay had different compositions which made the firing and glazing of the pottery a trial and error process, resulting in different consistencies. Tessie worked the glaze imperfections as designs into her art, focusing on simple, flowing shapes with geometric piercings.

Tessie’s work has been exhibited at the Ayala Museum, BenCab Museum, Pinto Art Museum, MaArte and Art in the Park. Together with Siegrid Bangyay, Tessie has been instrumental in bringing Sagada earth as art and Cordilleran pottery to the rest of the country and hopes to pass it on to the next generation of Sagada potters.