Ceramica Botanica

San Antonio-based designer Susan Rodriguez handmakes ceramic wares with bold colors and patterns

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While simple off-white ceramic dinnerware is our go-to for setting the table—sometimes a pop of color in the dining room is just the ticket. San Antonio native Susan Rodriguez has been working as a ceramicist for over 20 years, after graduating from Texas State University in both design and ceramics. Each piece in her line Ceramica Botanica (which was featured on the Etsy blog) is made in her backyard clay studio—where the hot, sunny weather is perfect for drying the paint quickly—and is painted with bright colors and bold patterns. Rodriguez cuts shapes out of recycled magazines and mail and uses them as stencils for her patterns, which results in different layers in the glaze. “I started doing exaggerated ornate hand-built pieces trying to imitate spectacular botanical architecture. Botanical forms still excite me but now my pieces have evolved to clean, simple, subtle organic forms with detailed, colorful patterned surfaces,” Rodriguez tells CH. “I am attracted to patterns and color; to me, they tell a story of time periods and places that everyone can have personal references to.”

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One of the designs that especially caught our eye were the plates and cups adorned with “rain” and “raindrops.” Rodriguez says, “I have been using the teardrop shape in my pottery for a while. I use it in my ceramic forms—I have made vases, bowls and plates in this shape—as well as a surface design.” She explains that the inspiration for this teardrop design is a combination of two ancient motifs: the tear and the evil eye. These handmade pieces sell from Rodriguez’s Etsy shop starting from $30.

Images courtesy of Susan Rodriguez