In This Mexican Ceramicist’s Pottery, Traditional Clay Gets a Refined and Contextual Upgrade
Eugenia Díaz Peon, a Mexican ceramicist who prefers to go by the nickname of Uxi (a variant of which is also the name of her brand, Uxiii), discovered her calling not very long ago. As co-founder of the Yucatán-based brand Région, she began traveling in recent years to remote locations outside of her home base in Mérida, to learn from the traditional craftspeople who typically work far outside the city. Région employs many different natural materials in its products but Díaz was particularly drawn to a clay known as “el barro de Ticul,” or the mud of Ticul. Rough, dirty, and filled with impurities, the clay is like a terracotta, but with a more luminous color and texture. “It was like love at first sight,” she says. She took the clay home and began experimenting with formulas and firings, trying to achieve a more refined aesthetic than is typical of pottery from that region.
What resulted is a rather singular look. Though the designer still travels around, digging clay from the ground and bringing it home by the bucketful, experimenting with colors, textures, and temperatures, the resulting forms are instantly recognizable. Each vessel is hand-built using a traditional coiling technique, and has a textured surface as well as charms or other protrusions, their forms inspired by everything from the architecture of Mayan ruins to an ancient ball game in which players shoot a ball from their hip through an upright hoop. Said Uxi poetically but also practically in a recent interview: “I like to think that my vases are a link between myself and the ground where I stand.”