Lucía Ocejo was born in Mexico City. She moved to Boston to study sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design before relocating to London in 2018, where she is still based.

We asked Lucia to share some insights on her practice, what inspires her and how her Mexican roots inform her practice.


After your training in Boston, you moved to London and discovered the British Studio Pottery movement. Could you talk a bit about its appeal for you and what elements influenced your own practice?

I became acquainted with the British Studio Pottery movement after moving to the United Kingdom in 2018. Since then, I became familiar with the work of Bernard Leach, the “father of the British Pottery movement” and his ideas behind craftsmanship.

Leach played a crucial pioneering role in creating an identity for artist potters across the world and give craftsmanship a valued place in modern England.

Leach’s philosophy made me revalue my own opinion about craft. I arrived to England identifying only as a sculptor and I would now introduce myself as a pottery in my own right.

The work that I produce at the moment is wheel-thrown functional-ware ceramics in high fire clay bodies for electric or gas kilns.


Can you talk about the ideas/ themes you are investigating through the collection you designed for Revolution of Forms? 

I have always been interested in understanding how culture propagates. The way in which one craft can translate and transform from one culture to the next. The history and the practice of ceramics is incredible for showcasing this, it belongs to no one, and to all at once, it could arguably be the first craft! The Aortic collection I made for Revolution of Forms is a play between Oaxacan-inspired forms, specifically from the Mixe region, that have been translated and adapted using British techniques. In a way, the pieces in this collection tries to bridge two distinctive styles and techniques of making into one body of work. Bringing together my Mexican heritage with my training here in the UK.



How much did you understand about the regional vernacular of Oaxacan pottery before you left Mexico?

 I have always been aware that Oaxaca is a state with an incredibly rich indigenous history and precedence, with each region practicing their unique craft or trade, social system and even language. However, I can now say that, since working with clay as my only medium, my knowledge of the regional vernacular Oaxacan pottery has increased. Oaxaca is an enormous state located in southern Mexico. Ancient and remote, it is a land of complex traditions and unmapped histories. Oaxaca is home to more than 16 distinct indigenous groups, including the Mixe (pronounced ‘Mi-je’) people of the Eastern highlands. The Mixe pride themselves on being el pueblo nunca conquistado or ‘the unconquered people’. The Mixe's resistance to external forces of change has preserved many of their ancestral ways and unique cultural identity. The Mixe people speak a distinctive language of pottery; they are the masters of the multi-spouted vessels that inspired my Aortic series. The potters wheels as we know it does not exist, the vessels are hand-formed and shaped using a dry corncob as the primary tool. They are then burnished with local river stones and wood-fired at low temperatures for no more than two hours. This pottery style is the common heritage of a whole village; it belongs to no one, and to all at once.


"The Mixe people speak a distinctive language of pottery;
they are the masters of the multi-spouted vessels that inspired my Aortic series."


How does Mexico, its culture and craft practices inform/shape what you are doing? Do you find that some of these practices are helping you defining your own identity within a culture and society in which you didn't grow up in?

As we are both immigrants and we both decided to move to London, I am interested in understanding how crafts can bridge the distance between cultures and societies, the ones we left behind and the one we embraced by moving here.

I think of pottery as different languages of making, languages that developed and reflect their geogrpahy and history. I currently speak a modern language of pottery filled with specialised dialects depending on the method: electric or kick wheel, gas, electric or high fire wood kiln; salt, soda, or bisque firings; cone 6 or cone 10; slip, raku. The urge to stay connected with my country from afar inspired my research into the languages of Mexican traditional pottery. Oaxaca is an enormous. It is a land of complex traditions and unmapped histories.

These Mixe vessels have been a key influence on the development of my own language as a potter. For me these vessels became the embodiment of a more personal metaphor regarding my own nomadism currently working from the United Kingdom. By translating the multi-spouted shape into one that can be thrown on the potter’s wheel in a segments. With the use of UK-sourced clays and high firing in a modern electric kiln, Ive been able to slowly develop a new aesthetic. One that gives full expression to my cultural background by bridging my discipline on the potters wheel with the freedom of form in sculpture drawn from my Mexican . To me, the Aortic vessels work like transplants, extracted from one culture and introduced to another - hearts given to a foreign body.


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