About a year ago, I got introduced to the work of Loreto through a few photographs that really moved me. Set at the biggest vegetable market of Chile, ladies were holding these small, handmade crochet bags with a beautiful ceramic handle. The images were so compelling, merging contemporary design with traditional handwork and a certain sensitivity I couldn't quite pinpoint but I wanted to know more of. Through a common friend I could get in touch with Loreto Figueroa, the ceramist that had created these bags.
Photographer: Ignacio Gutierrez
When we were traveling in the north of Chile earlier this year, I absolutely wanted to visit her workshop. Welcomed by Loreto and her dog Froid, we spent such a warm morning together. She received us with homemade treats, showed and explained the process behind every piece. After I left, bringing with me a few pieces carefully wrapped in my suitcase, I kept thinking about this creative soul living in such a naturally fascinating part of Chile. We kept in touch, and our enthusiasm for each other’s work grew. We were determined to create something together for Maiwe. Meet Loreto Figueroa, the maker behind Paramo Gres.
Hi Loreto, can you start by introducing yourself? What’s your background and how did you start your own ceramics studio?
My name is Loreto Figueroa and I’m 37 years old. I live in La Serena, a coastal city in the north of Chile. I studied Visual Arts in the capital and when I graduated, I didn’t have a job nor did I really know what to do with my degree. I moved to La Serena, a much cheaper city on the coast. I was a bit lost at the time, and feeling down. It was my mother who motivated me to start ceramics classes with a lady called Mercedes. She thought me the basics and since then, I never stopped. Now, I earn a living thanks to my ceramics. I never imagined I would come to this point, but I’m so happy I did.
"Every piece is absolutely unique, I don't use any molds nor a turntable. I only work with my hands."
Can you describe your work?
I think my work is very much like I am. It’s unpretentious and very spontaneous. I want every piece to be absolutely unique, I really search for that when I’m designing or crafting a piece. I don’t use any molds nor a turntable. When I’m creating, I try to empty my head as much as possible and not to think at all. I like to imagine myself as an energetic channel, as someone who is translating a certain mood in a ceramic piece. Painting is different, I prepare the way I will paint. But then when I start, I paint quite frenetic and hasty. It doesn’t take much time. Every piece is created by hand in my workplace in La Serena.
What about your lifestyle, how do you take care of yourself?
A healthy lifestyle is so important to me. Taking care of my body and my health is an absolute priority to me. I eat pure, unprocessed foods, and I avoid alcohol and sugar. When I feel like something sweet, I make it myself. If I feel tired, I make sure to get some extra sleep. I try to stay in constant communication with my body, making sure I’m listening and giving it what it needs to feel in good health and active.
How is your relation with your skin?
I have combination skin. Keeping my skin cleansed, fresh and well nurtured is my main priority. Once a month I make a mixture with ground coffee and raw honey to exfoliate my skin. My mother taught me the importance of a natural skincare routine. Sometimes I get acne when I’m really stressed out. Caring for my lifestyle always brings my skin back to balance, I believe you can care for your skin from the inside out.
"Caring for my lifestyle always brings my skin back to balance, I believe you can care for your skin from the inside out."
What do you find in Maiwe? Do you have a favourite product?
Maiwe simply resonates with my lifestyle. It has this same authentic, grounded vibe that I have too. I love how connected the brand is to the roots of the products. You can feel this connection in the quality of the line. The Rosehip Oil Serum is my favourite! When I put it on, after my cleansing routine, I feel like I’m treating myself to an act of selflove. It feels very comforting, nurturing and luxurious. It’s the best hydration my skin has ever felt. It’s so pure, as if I would directly apply unprocessed wild rosehips to my skin. After massaging it in, I make myself a tea with some honey and I get ready for bed. It instantly makes me feel good.
SHOP LORETO'S FAVOURITE
Rosehip Oil Serum