The ceramics mission
This year I want to make things. So when I was asked if I’m still interested in making ceramics I was like “hell yeah!” And that is how we found ourselves invading the lives of Alan and his parents at their home and ceramics workshop.
Alan’s parents run Ceramica Servin, based in Ezequiel Montes. Prior to living here they had a home and studio in Mexico City, and are carrying on what has been a family business for generations. I’ll give you a brief explanation of how they work here, but to really appreciate it you have to check out the photos below.
- They use clay slip from Guanajuato and pour it into plaster moulds of the different products they have. And trust me they have a lot! It is really pretty amazing to walk around the studio/warehouse and see all the pieces at different stages.
- Once these have dried a little they are taken out of the moulds and perfected so all the joins are smooth. When I say perfected, I mean to the max!
- Then a highly talented and hardworking group of women get started on the pattern work. They use a grid as a base and in pencil draw patterns on before using glazes.
- There is a certain style in the pattern work that is a trademark of Ceramica Servin, but the women can create their own patterns as long as it fits within the same style. This means that each piece is different, which is really pretty crazy.
- Then comes what I think is the extremely tricky part, adding the glazes. A pipette is used to draw the pattern onto the surface with glazes. I tried this on my own ceramics and really struggled, which is why my lines are all wonky. But I happily embraced it as part of my naive style.
- The women however seem to work at lightening pace, adding the glaze to the pattern they’ve created with pencil. I just stood there staring at them with my mouth wide open in wonder.
- Once these have dried, some areas have a clear glaze applied before Alan the kiln master takes over. The firing in itself a pretty consuming task, with Alan regularly cheking up on it during the night.
- Then once they’ve cooled down the pieces are ready to go!
Part of the family
Ceramica Servin’s pottery is exquisite, award winning in fact. The level of craftsmanship in each piece is really pretty incredible. But having been to visit and also work there it is the sense of community that really struck me. Alan’s parents sit in the workshop and smooth down pieces or add glazes, whilst Alan gets to work on the sewing machine or laser cutter. We were made to feel at home immediately, fed, given a room to stay in as well as materials and a space to work.
One of my very handmade, pretty wonky pieces will remain there and hopefully become part of Alans collection of visiting artists. Whilst we take away some lovely memories of spending time with the family and observing their very impressive craftsmanship in action.
For some images of the pieces I made whilst there check out these links;
To find out more about how to visit or shop at Ceramica Servin click here