Nourishing Objects: PJ Gubatina Policarpio

Nourishing Objects: PJ Gubatina Policarpio

Contributors share stories behind meaningful works.
handmade ceramic vessels of different shapes holding lemons incense and pencils arranged against a patterned textile backdrop

Photo courtesy of PJ Gubatina Policarpio.

All around my home are scattered ceramic pieces: a tall cup holding pencils, a semi-deep plate catchall for small items, a medium-size bowl for fruits, and a small bud vase currently holding incense—all made with care by my cousin Angelie Gubatina.

A San Francisco–based chef by profession, Angelie enjoys making ceramics. Throughout the years I have been the beneficiary of her skill and joy as recipient of these vessels during various birthdays and holidays. These humble ceramic pieces nourish me every day. They are daily reminders of strong bonds that tie together so many immigrant families like mine. For many of us in diaspora, this support and connection are essential to sustain healthy lives in a new country.

Another reason to love these ceramics is how and where they came to be. These vessels were made at ceramics classes at San Francisco’s City College. San Francisco offers residents free college tuition. It makes me realize the amazing possibilities when craft education—and all education—is accessible for everyone. Free education is not only not impossible, it is already happening.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person gatherings and close connections to friends and family are limited, Angelie’s ceramic objects have meant so much more to me. They are daily reminders of the essential care and nourishment that each of us receives and offers in return.

PJ Gubatina Policarpio is an educator, curator, writer, and community organizer. Born in the Philippines, he is currently based in San Francisco and New York City.

pjpolicarpio.net | @pjpolicarpio

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Cover of Winter 2022 issue of American Craft