In the Lencan highlands surrounding Gracias , traditional pottery is hand-molded, baked in the sun, and usually painted a brick-color, if it’s painted at all. But across Honduras , gift shops sell a different kind of “Lencan pottery” — made of pale clay that is fired in a kiln, and then the black outer stain is rubbed off to create black and white patterns.
This pottery originates in the Lencan communities of southwest Honduras, in the department of Valle. The techniques used to produce the pottery are centuries old, and the designs got a big boost in the 1980s when an Italian anthropologist resident in Honduras began giving aesthetic advice. One women’s cooperative in Valle that is renowned for its work is Magu-Alfarería Lenca (Magu is short for Manzanarez Gutierrez, two common last names in the area).
For information on Magu, contact Maria Magdalena at 504/3347-2201. The cooperative is based in the tiny community of La Arada, Goascorán, along the highway heading west from Nacaome , close to the border town El Amatillo  and the border with El Salvador. Visitors are welcome, and the prices at the source are unbeatable.
Alternatively, pick up a piece from any of the myriad shops across Honduras selling it, including the shop Alfar in the Clarion hotel in Tegucigalpa , where new twists on the traditional design (pottery colored by vegetable dye or gold dust) are available for purchase.
The pottery is a beautiful souvenir, but quite fragile, so be careful how you pack it.