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On the occasion of Mother's Day, we want to continue paying tribute to all present and future mothers who fight every day to make our days wonderful.


Today, we had the pleasure of interviewing Marta Bonilla, an artist and mother based in Barcelona. Marta tells us how she discovered her love for ceramics and how she found the perfect place to develop her passion, leaving her mark in simplicity.

Marta, could you share with us when you started to feel interest and passion for ceramics?

 -  My interest in ceramics dates back to my childhood. I have always been fascinated by the pieces I saw in the ancestral homes of my parents' village, and the various shapes and uses given to each piece. Large jars for preserving bread, pitchers for drinking fresh water, or jars for marinating olives... ceramics have always been present. However, I started shaping pieces a few years ago when I began to feel somewhat demotivated in my previous job. I felt the need to do something more creative and hands-on, to find an activity that would allow me to materialize the shapes and ideas I had in mind. The malleability of clay and all the possibilities it offers captivated me and have kept me hooked until today.

We would also like to know what your creative process is like when you work with ceramics. What elements within your studio are essential and indispensable to inspire you and start creating?

- I don't have any specific rituals when I work. What inspires me is my everyday life and my environment. I am always thinking of possible designs, and when I think there is an interesting form, I bring it to life in my studio. Other designs emerge as I work, during the process, until I feel that the piece is finished and I am satisfied with the result.

Sometimes when I work, I listen to music, but other times I enjoy working in silence. I like that sensation; it helps me concentrate and enter a sort of meditation.

Could you describe your distinctive style when using ceramics? Is there any element, technique, or something that makes your pieces unique and that you always incorporate into your designs?

 -  I work my pieces with the coiling technique, using rolls of clay. It is the technique I have always used and the one that has given me the best results. It gives the piece a natural look, showing the signs of the process and the marks that add texture and authenticity.

There are so many people making ceramics these days, and it's great to see crafts and other trades gaining visibility. In the case of ceramics, it really benefits to be in contact with the material and to engage in an activity that requires patience and being present in the here and now. However, I see a lot of pieces that resemble each other. In my work, I try to move away from that and create more personal designs.


We know that you have two children, one of them still very young, and often time is not enough to dedicate to all the things we want. How do you find the balance between your career as an artist and your responsibilities as a mother of two children?

-   Balancing the two is not easy, and there are times when you feel overwhelmed. I try to enjoy this stage as much as possible, as my children are young, because it goes by quickly and I want to cherish them. However, my work is also important to me, it's my outlet, and I don't want to neglect it. So sometimes it is difficult to deal with these contradictory feelings. I try to organise myself and make the most of the time I spend in the studio. I am lucky to be able to manage my time and my schedule, which makes this period much easier, and I am also lucky to have the support of my family.

How do you think motherhood has influenced your work? Are there aspects of raising your children that have been reflected in your designs?

- I think being a mother has influenced my work. You enter into the universe of children, into their playfulness, and you see things through their eyes. Unconsciously, this is reflected in my daily work, which has a more naif and childlike touch.


 As it is a hands-on job, have you ever enjoyed any moments designing and creating with your child?

 - Yes, we usually do it at home and in the studio. We both enjoy it; it's one of those activities that keeps him focused for longer periods, allowing me to work alongside him. I enjoy seeing how he pays attention to what I'm doing, although sometimes he wants to destroy it too...

Finally, is there any advice you would like to share with other mothers who are also seeking to balance their career and family life?

 - Having two jobs at the same time is not easy, but I would like to remind you that you are brave and strong. In this whole process, there is hardly any time for yourself. You have to manage so many things at the same time, and society tends to minimise the importance of family work and not give it the recognition it deserves. However, I encourage you to believe in your project, to be consistent with it and to follow your intuition, enjoying each stage. The path of parenthood is beautiful but also very demanding. In difficult moments, I often remind myself that I must enjoy it without demanding too much of myself. We do what we can, and we do it the best way we can.


Marta, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.

You can see and learn more about Marta's work on her profile @martabonillam.