Cata Echegaray has become one of Barcelona’s best known artisans: fun, creative, passionate and happy. At Labois we have had the honour of interviewing this young promise of pottery, whose hands have produced pieces that explain a history and great know-how.
A project called Bonitos Pottery
Cata Echegaray opens the doors of its workshop, located in the neighborhood of Poble Nou (Barcelona). She explains that for weeks she devoted many efforts to transform it into an inspiring site, where working with ceramics was something free and open. We can not avoid asking about the neon letters of the entrance and the origin of the name “Bonitos Pottery”. She confesses to us, while she shows us the works of her students -exposed with care on the shelves- that the name was put by his son Otto. Soon after starting in the world of ceramics and bringing some of his pieces home, Otto exclaimed, “Mama, how beautiful (bonito)!” Since then, every time I saw a piece of ceramics I called it bonito.
There is still a certain poetry in seeing how Cata shapes the clay, in a space built by and for potters. Maybe that explains why Bonitos Pottery is now a reality and has been so successful. After months of great dedication and many efforts, the Cata project works and is one of the ceramic coworking spaces with the most projection of the capital. In addition, she teaches workshops every month, open to all audiences, and she also works on a new collection.
“If a few years ago they had told me that I would end up creating a pottery workshop and live from it, I would not have believed it” – Cata Echegaray
Cata Echegaray and ceramics
Sitting next to the wheel, Cata invites us to a tea. Indie music plays in the background while she serves us in one of her handmade cups. We can attest that drinking it like that tastes much better. Without further delay, we begin the interview:
When did your hobby for ceramics begin?
It started when I had my son Otto. I had almost no free time and I stopped having a social life. Then my friends went to pottery classes … and to have a social life, I went with them. Before, I had done many things related to crafts and for me it was like recovering something. In the end, my friends unlearned and I followed. You can connect with that part of doing things with your hands.
Where did you learn to create ceramic pieces?
A parte de este curso, estuve durante algunos meses haciendo talleres y fui aprendiendo más y más. En casa, al darme de baja y en plan autodidacta, miraba vídeos por Internet, experimentando y haciendo pruebas.
After a year I signed up for the El Torn school (Barcelona), where I specialized a bit more. Then I realized that, technically, the bases are quick to learn, but for me the essential thing was to be self-taught. Do not focus so much on how to do things. This nullified my creativity. But I recognize that it was those bases that allowed me to be self-taught and work alone.
Where can we find or buy your creations?
On my website Cata Echegaray and now I plan to go to fairs and markets. In addition, they are also available at the Les Eines store (Gran Vía, nº 761 in Barcelona).
What is your goal or purpose for this new year?
That the workshop works a little more alone, because now I’m spending a lot of time looking for students, coworkers, … I would like to focus a little on myself, on my pieces and creativity. Now I feel almost entrepreneur-craftswoman. I need to connect with myself and my creative part, let myself go. It is difficult to run a workshop, which is much more administrative and numerical, and be creative at the same time.
Why is handmade pottery so in fashion? Do you think that workshops or workshops in artisan ceramics have influenced in any way?
I see that it is much more in fashion. I started 4 years ago and it was already in fahion. My friend signed up for that. For this reason, I think that if it had not been fashionable it would not work for me as it is working now. In fact, I threw myself into the pool because I thought this was in fashion, there were a lot of coworking and there was always a waiting list.
On the other hand, maybe it’s because handmade is more fashionable. I noticed when Otto was born. I realized that a lot of mothers were leaving their jobs. We came from a time when women wanted to move up in office work and now we are in a time that they prefer to work 4 hours and be at home. It can be doing a labor or in a garden. It’s all a bit connected.
It also has to do with pollution, mass production. It is not sustainable and has been a way to go back and do things that make us feel good about ourselves. Ceramics, within this “sustainability”, is attractive to the eye. Like handmade things, they are beautiful to look at. It is also easy to go to a workshop and start doing things and this hooks people. The truth is that the workshops are now very fashionable and I find people who ask a lot for them. In addition, they allow you to know and make a mark. In fact, I have been more known by my workshops than by my work, but I think this is good because it helps this work.
To finish, a tip for young entrepreneurs / craftsmen:
I think an important part is the organization. Being organized is necessary. I am not that much and I think that if it were, it would be much better, but I am making efforts to be so because to take your business you must be. It is also constant because if you leave everything is lost. And, above all, come and have a good time. Because if you do not have a good time and are not happy, do something else. For me it is the most important thing. I have a good time, in classes and when I come to do my things. And I think that shows in day to day.
We finished our interview here. We greatly appreciate the participation and collaboration of Cata Echegaray. You can find more information and learn more about his work through its website, which we encourage you to visit.
See you in the next post 😉