For the latest edition of our “Crafted In:” series, we bring you to Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico to meet Julio, master ceramicist and owner of a small studio who we have partnered with for the skillful production of our new ceramics line.
Designed in: Portland, Oregon - Crafted in: Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico
TG: What inspired you to establish your own ceramics studio?
Julio: My passion and love for ceramics. Also the need to start my own business and because ceramics is an important part of our culture in Dolores Hidalgo, and the desire to revolutionize ceramics into something more modern.
TG: Who introduced you to ceramics and / or taught you the craftsmanship skills that have shaped your work?
Julio: When I was studying Industrial Engineering I had the chance to take a ceramics class with the industrial designers and that’s where I started to like ceramics.
My dad was a partner of a ceramic tile company and had a small oven that he gave to me to start the business. Three years after I started “Procesos Cerámicos”, my dad left the tile company to join me, and we’ve been working together since then.
We started in the same warehouse where we work today but didn’t have all the equipment we have now. I remember we used to glaze on the street at the beginning because we didn’t have the glaze spray booth.
TG: What is the most rewarding part of the ceramics process for you? What is the most challenging?
Julio: For me, the most satisfying part of my work is the opportunity that I have to help other people to have a better quality of life. What excites me the most is to arrive at the factory in the morning, open the oven and see the final look of the products. I believe it is the same feeling that I had when I was a kid on the Three Kings Day (A holiday similar to Santa on Christmas).
The most challenging part for me is that all the customers and products are different and I like the difficulties that I face when there’s a complex product or piece to develop. All the problems and details that come with each piece, to find solutions to those details is what I find the most challenging.
TG: Can you share some insights into the way you give back to your community with your studio?
Julio: What I like the most about my work is that I can teach craftsmanship to people. The workers usually live in a marginalized area and don’t have access to higher education. Working with us is beneficial because of a good salary, plus we train how to work with ceramics and help them on how to be responsible. We have some young employees that used to have drug addiction problems. We give them the opportunity to quit and become better people. I like the idea that we can change and become better; that we don't necessarily need to change the world. Helping your community is what matters for me.
A lot of the single mothers who work here used to be in abusive relationships. We encourage them to leave, then we teach them and help them have a good life. It’s very important to me that the team is happy in their lives. When we work with ceramics, we work with our hands and transfer all our feelings and energy into the clay.
We also donate B-grade products to Non-profits who can sell them and help provide medical treatments for people in town.
Huge thanks to Julio for being so gracious and open. Questions were provided by Tanner Goods' staff.