A Journey with clay

Siegrid Bangyay is a native of Sagada, Mt Province, the Philippines and a member of the Applai Kankanaey indigenous group. The Applai are one of the few Philippine indigenous peoples to have retained full control of their land, culture, and resources, and have blended a lifestyle that adopts many modern features with a deep attachment to their traditions and ritual life.

20 years of earth and fire

Siegrid’s pottery journey began in 2001, at age 21, under the tutelage of American ceramic artist Archie Stapleton.  Stapleton is the son of Episcopalian missionaries and grew up in Sagada, becoming intimately acquainted with the indigenous language and culture. After studying and practicing the art of pottery in the US, he returned to Sagada with a grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust and a plan to develop a ceramics center in Sagada.

Siegrid studied under Stapleton for 2 ½ years. She learned to identify clay deposits and how to dig clay and process it into a workable form. She studied the painstaking process of developing and testing local clay and glaze ingredients, learned to throw forms on the potter’s wheel, and learned to build and fire kilns.  She embraced the continuing process of experimenting with new materials, techniques, forms, and glazes, a process that allows her to combine the traditional influences of Chinese heirloom pottery with those gained from modern artists and their own creative impulses.

Ranging from the utilitarian to the purely sculptural, Siegrid’s work is characterized across its spectrum by its grace of form and the purity and texture of the indigenous glazes. Siegrid pioneered the integration of bamboo and woven rattan elements with stoneware pottery and the combination of sculpture and traditional wheel-thrown pottery exhibited in the “Facebowl” and “Hairy Pot” pieces.

Siegrid’s artistic life is complemented by extensive involvement in community and development work.  She has worked for several NGOs, including A Single Drop Foundation ( training community residents to build and use bio-sand water filters, and Earth Day Network Philippines (, as community coordinator for projects installing hydraulic ram water pumps.  She’s one of the board members of the Sagada Solid Waste Association and has served as barangay (village) secretary in her home village of Dagdag.  Siegrid has worked as a local counterpart to a Peace Corps Volunteer’s environmental education projects and was a project design and management trainer for Peace Corps Philippines. 

Siegrid holds a BS Commerce degree from the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio and is married with two sons.