January 5th, 2023

New Gallery MAR artist Lucrecia Waggoner throwing porcelain clay in her studio

From the first time Lucrecia Waggoner molded clay in her hands at the tender age of seven, she knew there was a connection. By now in her career, her unique, elegantly understated porcelain installation art is world renowned; however, her journey to finding her style took her through many countries and many different pottery styles and inspirations. 

Growing up in Mexico City, she was inspired by her home’s rich and vibrant arts and cultural scene and began working with clay in arts and crafts projects at an early age, alongside other various media. By the time she was in junior high school, she started working more with clay in workshops and her passion for pottery began to bloom: “I found that I really enjoyed it, and I never really left it,” she recalls.

Lucrecia Waggoner working porcelain clay in her studio

Waggoner then attended the Parsons School of Design in New York to study design and marketing for merchandising in fashion. While there, she was required to take an elective course. Having always admired ceramics, it was an obvious choice for her. After a while at Parsons School of Design, however, she began to question why she was pursuing fashion instead of her first love of ceramics. She felt that the fashion merchandise she was designing and creating was not going to resonate with those back in Mexico. 

At the time, she saw ceramics as little more than a hobby, but consistency soon yielded to mastery and she began to see ceramic arts as a viable career path, “once I opened my eyes to it, I don’t really know exactly how it happened, but I saw myself as a professional.” Her desire to return to ceramics grew stronger, leading her to enroll in Southern Methodist University in Dallas to formally study ceramics. After college, Waggoner continued her education in ceramics, pursuing ceramic workshops all over the world. 

To Waggoner, discovering her love for ceramics, and in turn, porcelain, felt less like a conscious choice and more of a chance venture. She muses how “everything that has related to [her] art career has seemed by chance.” When she was young, she wanted to be the best fashion designer in the world until one day in a gallery in Santa Fe, she happened to see a work of art made out of porcelain that stopped her in her tracks. “I immediately told the artist that I wanted to know how they created this and if they could teach me,” she remembers, “and the artist said ‘yes, why not.’”This was the moment that I knew I wanted to explore porcelain more and that I wanted to do something that was more than just utilitarian with my ceramics,” Waggoner recalls, adding with a laugh, “I was tired of just making sake cups.”

Waggoner’s new mentor in Santa Fe happened to only work in porcelain and taught her how to work with this unique clay material. Now Waggoner’s passion for creating is matched by her respect for the media itself, “porcelain is the finest form of clay,” she explains, “It is the softest clay form when molding with a texture like that of cream cheese.”

Lucrecia Waggoner throwing porcelain clay in her studio

Porcelain’s soft, creamy texture makes it all the more delicate and exquisite to behold, but these same qualities that make porcelain look and feel so refined are also what make it one of the most challenging clays to work with. “It’s always about the technique,” Waggoner says, “Due to its softness, when you throw it on a wheel, it is more likely to fall. Because of this, I developed my own technique for throwing porcelain around 18 years ago, and it’s been an evolution ever since.” When asked how she would describe this signature technique of hers, Waggoner summarizes it in one single word: patience. It’s indescribable,” she elaborates, “It’s practice and perseverance. It comes from spending hours and hours and hours on the wheel.” Each porcelain bowl that Waggoner creates, as elegantly simple as it may appear to be, is really the culmination of hours of perfecting her craft. 

From Mexico City to New York, from Dallas to Santa Fe, travel has always been a major mentor in Waggoner’s life. Her current style finds further influence from her travels around Asia. Her many trips to China and Japan were paramount in developing her passion for and proficiency in porcelain and her admiration of Asian culture helped shape the work she creates today. “I’ve always been very drawn to Asian culture, mostly from my travels,” Waggoner says, “They’re also the number one ceramicists in the world and the world’s best ceramics museums are there. Their devices and their forms and the materials have been incredibly influential on me.” 

Waggoner has always found herself drawn to the emphasis on Zen and tranquility that Asian cultures uphold. “I think that my personality influences my gravitation towards that tranquil style of work,” she says. She jokes that although her friends likely think her personality is far from “tranquil,” it is, nevertheless, the theme she finds herself most drawn to and inspired by.

As a porcelain installation artist, the majority of Waggoner’s work is inspired by particular spaces. Nearly 85% of the work Lucrecia creates are commissioned, therefore, the depth of the planning for each installation is as much a part of her artistic process as throwing porcelain clay on a wheel. First, she finds inspiration in the space and its surroundings through pictures or FaceTime, or in person when possible. Next, she records measurements of the space and the size of the wall. Then in her studio, Lucrecia creates a map of the space, usually on a large piece of paper on the floor of her studio where she maps out and arranges the design and flow of her porcelain installation. She then creates by hand each and every vessel for her installation design.  

Lucrecia Waggoner working clay in her studio

Waggoner loves how interactive installation art can be. It allows her to have personal interactions with at least 70% of her collectors. Whenever she’s able, Waggoner will install the work herself, but when a collector lives too far away, as is sometimes the case with her world renowned work, she then ships her work with her paper map to her collectors where assembly takes place. Every piece is numbered and well planned – a perfect puzzle of porcelain to be installed. “Installation art is like having a huge canvas, but it’s free flowing,” Waggoner says, “I love interacting with clients, and I love seeing my vision come to fruition in each space.”

These days, Waggoner continues to find inspiration through her travels, but now, those trips include her adult children. Together, they explore new cities and museums, finding inspiration everywhere they go. Now, Waggoner feels inspired, not just by big trips to incredible places, but by little moments shared with loved ones: “Every day there is something that inspires me, sitting on my back porch and looking up at the trees or going skiing with my family. I try to take inspiration from everything all around.”

Lucrecia Waggoner, “Porcelain Cups Installation” installed in our Gallery MAR window in Park City

As a skier herself, Waggoner is especially excited to visit Park City, Utah as a new artist of Gallery MAR. “I love the vibe of Gallery MAR,” Waggoner says, “It’s just so refreshing when you’re there with the views, the arts, and the mountains. I love the level of trust from Maren given the level of installation required by my work. I know that Park City is growing rapidly and cannot wait to see my work in new spaces around Park City.” 

In turn, we at Gallery MAR are excited to welcome the delicate, graceful work of Lucrecia Waggoner to our gallery. We love how warmly our collectors have received this new Gallery MAR artist and her work and we look forward to connecting you with more of Lucrecia Waggoner’s bountiful, beautiful, porcelain puzzle masterpieces.

Written by Veronica Vale