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Ceramica La Major is a full service ceramic studio producing work for artists and brands. This state of the art studio elevates clay and craftsmanship to the level of luxury line production. www.ceramicalamejor.mx

CERAMICA LA MEJOR is a full service ceramic studio producing work for artists and brands. This state of the art studio elevates clay and craftsmanship to the level of luxury line production. I got to interview one of the founding partners, Tony Moxham, who was an art director at the magazine Interview before starting La Mejor. He told me about La Mejor’s background -

Mauricio Paniagua and myself originally created La Mejor back in 2010 in a small town outside of Cuernavaca called Tres de Mayo, which is one of the biggest producers of everyday, popular ceramics in Mexico (it's where Disney had ceramic factories in the '60s, and a lot of our crew come from that type of background.) In Tres de Mayo they specialise in everyday slip-casting, model making, and low-temperature ceramic production. Our current clientele of artists and designers looking for eccentric, complex, small-run production allow for these skills to really shine, and for our crew to push themselves technically further than they'd be allowed if they were producing for more conventional clients and in larger runs. We're super proud of the work they create. When La Mejor moved production to Mexico City, we partnered with two additional young designers, and in the last year have taken on 4 additional partners as we've grown. Today, we have a crew of around 10 full-time young artisans working with us, some of whom came from Tres de Mayo with us when we moved into the current location in 2014.

What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space?

A 3D printer. One of the best things about working in Mexico is the level of old-skool hand-modelling and artisanal skills in general that haven't been lost to automated production or larger production lines.

What is your dream project?

To create ceramic architectural details, like gargoyles, chimneys, door frames, tile reliefs . . . anything to bring back interest in figurative architecture and this type of decoration.  
Describe your ideal workspace in three words?

For ceramic production, all we really need is a large, open, airy, well-lit space with solid floors. We got lucky with this one, as there's fewer commercial loft spaces available to creatives in this city than you'd imagine. It's also super important for our crew that our space is a safe one, so we try and keep things clean and take care of their health. Artisanal ceramic production sounds romantic, but in reality working conditions for ceramic artisans in small towns can be extremely toxic. We've seen folks working in 2 feet of ceramic dust, beside vintage ovens and with no safe exit in sight. While we want to preserve traditional skills and techniques, we also prioritise finding ways to work as safely as possible with toxic materials and the very demanding physical labor that hand production at a high level requires from the crew themselves.

Does the space you work in have an interesting story?

The building itself is a former button factory, and we've watched it slowly fill with younger businesses and creative studios over the last four years. Our own space was formerly the studio of architect Emmanuel Picault (who also created probably Mexico city's coolest nightclub, the brutalist M.N. Roy. in Roma.) That's why we have a bunch of triangular divisions in the space, which of course we kept after we moved in. The lightning bolts that decorate the space were leftovers from an exhibition at the Zona MACO art fair, and were hand-painted by a commercial sign painter we love working with.  

What's the best advice you've been given and from whom?

Murray Moss said: "Good taste doesn't exist. It's not what I would want if it did exist." We're living in an age of makers where so many people are designers, and so many people are designing great, everyday stuff. We love how Mr. Moss champions eccentric, fragile, and useless design as an equal to functional design. That's sort of what we do at La Mejor. 

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