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Meet the Maker

Catching Up with Lustre Estudio

By Lindsey

Catching Up with Lustre Estudio
Photos by: Carlos Arballo and Diego Castrejon


Lustre Estudio is “the sparkle that symbolizes a passion for creating,” according to Co-Creator, Creative Director, and Ceramicist Annie Alarcon. Focused on building a community around ceramics, the Tijuana-based studio celebrates a richly diverse, and incredibly special, array of ceramic art in their space (read more about Lustre’s story in our 2021 interview with Annie).

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we sat down with Annie to catch up on everything Lustre has been up to the past year and learn more about how she incorporates her heritage and culture into her work. Keep reading for the full interview!

Meet Annie, Co-Creator and Creative Director of Lustre Estudio

Annie of Lustre Studio

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

Hi Annie! What has Lustre Estudio been up to the last year? Any news to share?
The past year, we've been primarily focusing on building a community around ceramics. We are very thrilled to share that we started "Lustre Talks," an open event for our students and community where we invite guest speakers we admire to talk to us about their journey in ceramics and what they're currently working on. It's been really inspiring and has also allowed us to meet new people, artists, and makers.

Lustre Studio Presentation

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

We also have our first-ever resident artist at our studio! Her name is Alejandra Yuriar, a very talented maker and illustrator (@alejandrayuriar). We are excited about this new project because it's an opportunity to guide and teach local artists so they can create amazing work along with us.

Alejandra Yuriar Ceramic Plate with Dog

Photo by: Alejandra Yuriar

We recently had the second edition of our "New Wave" -- ceramic market featuring the works of our Lustre Talent (this is what we call our students). This has encouraged our students to create more thoughtfully; work on their creative process, and share their appreciation of ceramics with their friends, family, and our community.

New Wave Ceramic Market, Mexico
New Wave Ceramic Market in TJ, Mexico

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

We're also keeping busy by creating custom stoneware for restaurants and stores in Mexico and the US! We're super excited since we're expanding our studio later this year. This will improve our space and will allow us to take on more custom orders.

Lustre Ceramics
Lustre Ceramic Plates and Cups

Photos by: Diego Castrejon

And last but not least, we keep working hard on our regular ceramic classes (hand-building and wheel) and intensive workshops with guest teachers to keep expanding our knowledge. This year we were super excited to practice pit and raku firings for the first time ever!

Pit fired Ceramics

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

Take us back to the beginning. How did you first get into ceramics? How long have you been a Maker?
I always knew I was meant to be in a creative field but it took me a while to find the right place. At 30 I had a career crisis and began to pause and explore new things. After starting ceramic classes in February 2019, I knew I had found something special. During my first year of class, I met my partners Begoña Cuesta and Verenice Murillo and we started our own studio-- Lustre! We were lucky to be joined by our teacher Juan Villavicencio, a local ceramic artist who came on board with this project and started teaching with us.

Lustre Studio, Mexico

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

Since I fell in love with this craft, I have been regularly attending the National School of Ceramics, located in Jalisco, Mexico. This has also been a great source of knowledge and inspiration for me. I've met so many great colleagues and inspiring teachers from artists to Mexican artisans. This is where my sense of community started to grow and I learned the importance of surrounding myself with inspiring makers.

Annie of Lustre Studio

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

I believe I’ve always been a maker with a very unique vision, but only recently have I begun to develop that capacity with more intention and sharing it with more passion.

Annie of Lustre Studio

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

What makes Lustre such a special place to create?
We truly believe Lustre is the sparkle that symbolizes our passion for creating.

Lustre Logo


Our space is intended to promote a collective alliance that encourages individual expression. All of our activities are focused on our commitment to strengthening creatives and building a diverse and inclusive community. Being located in Tijuana is great! We get students and teachers from San Diego, Los Angeles, and different parts of Mexico and South America. We create in a melting pot driven by our common love for ceramics. The students, the makers, the founders, the teachers -- we all learn from each other!

Ceramic Workshop

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

One of the most satisfying projects we are currently supporting is ceramic classes provided at LGBTQIA+ migrant shelters in the city. A program created by Ambos Project, where migrant people seeking asylum in the US, can create and express themselves through ceramics while waiting for this life-changing process. The things they create are amazing!

Ceramics Class

Photos by: Carlos Arballo

What's been inspiring you lately?
I am forever inspired by nature-- Our Baja landscapes are special. The contrast between having the seaside next to the mountains and the dryness of our deserts is beautiful to me! I am also very passionate about flowers and the delicate poetry they create through ikebana (Japanese art of flower arrangement).

Annie of Lustre Studio

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

My heritage is also a big source of inspiration. Mexican pottery and the infinite variety we have throughout the country are incredible! I love meeting the makers and the humble disposition they have for teaching is something I admire. Rescuing ancestral ceramic knowledge and making meaningful connections makes my heart sing.

Annie Alarcon Ceramic Vessel

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

When you think about all the pieces you've created over the years, is there one that is particularly special to you?
I consider everything I do to be an exploration and a step forward on my learning journey. I believe my ceramic life is still very young, but I truly enjoy exploring raw clay bodies, and I feel drawn to unique glazes that look like they came from nature. I do have a favorite piece right now-- it is called árido respiro (arid breath).

Annie Alarcon Ceramic Artwork

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

It was handbuilt with the techniques and textures I’ve learned with my teachers from Oaxaca and finished with a glaze that reminds me of our Baja desert land. The piece resembles a chest taking a deep breath, filling its lungs widely and delicately, contrasting with its rough crust, giving the illusion that it could eventually float into space.

Glazed Pottery by Annie Alarcon

Photo by: Carlos Arballo

We'd love to learn more about how you incorporate your heritage and culture into your work...
The influence of Mexican culture, in general, is very intertwined with the way I envision life, art, and ceramics. Specifically, it's a mix of all my experiences in different locations. Diversity has been a key factor, plus the opportunities to explore ancient techniques related to dear artisans have allowed me the chance to integrate all of it into my creative practice and define our Studio's direction.

LUSTRE ESTUDIO

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

The most important teachings I've received have been through Mexican artisans. And most importantly, I've learned so much more than ceramics by cultivating these relationships. It has been an honor to learn by their side through myths and stories that allow me to experience their world and our shared culture in a deeper way.

Mexican Made Ceramics

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

This year we were lucky enough to have Daria Mariscal as one of our guest teachers in an intensive workshop about Pai Pai ceramics. Daria is one of the last few Pai Pai makers working in ceramics in Baja. It has been an honor and a pleasure being able to learn her traditional techniques and continue to create by her side.

Pai Pai Ceramic Workshop
Pai Pai Ceramic Workshop

Photos by: Carlos Arballo

Speaking of ceramic Makers, you recently collaborated with Sócrates Medina of Perro y Arena for our Artisan Collective Giveaway! How did your relationship with each other begin?
As with most modern relationships, it started with me being a Perro y Arena fan on Instagram! I love his work and the way he creates tiny scenes for his "Guardianes."

Perro y Arena
Perro y Arena

Photo by: Sócrates Medina

Sócrates is very open and friendly, so we met soon after we realized we were in the same town. We both quit our jobs to be around ceramics 24/7, so we love sharing all kinds of tips about ceramic life. He is of course part of Lustre too, we are now classmates and once a week we meet at the studio for an evening class, creating new and challenging pieces together. I am so happy to see him grow and be more successful every day!

Perro y Arena Ceramic Artist Socrates Medina


What was the inspiration for the unique pieces you and Sócrates created for our Giveaway? How do you combine visions when working with another ceramic artist?

It was a pleasure to create with Sócrates! We took our characteristic shapes and fun use of color and combined them with his beautiful drawings. As Baja makers, we felt that the coyote was a key element that speaks to our region. We ended up with our favorite duo, the Lustre coffee mug and espresso cup which has illustrations that tell the beautiful Perro y Arena story.

Lustre x Perro y Arena Ceramic Pieces
Artisan Collective, Fireclay, Lustre, and Perro y Arena

Photo by: Sócrates Medina

Photo by: Sócrates Medina

What do you love most about being a ceramic Maker?
Working with clay is challenging and demanding, but it's also very satisfying. I love so many things about being a ceramic maker: Experimenting every step of the way and if you commit to it, making ceramics in a very sustainable way (like Fireclay!). What I love most is being able to turn my feelings and ideas into finished pieces that hopefully will make you connect with my artistic interpretation of beauty.

Annie Alarcon Ceramic Artist, Mexico

Photo by: Diego Castrejon

Last question -- If you could be any Fireclay color, which would you be and why?
I am drawn to everything green, so I pick Sea Green! A soft and fun shade that makes me think about nature and all of its qualities I enjoy :)

Sea Green 2x4 by Fireclay Tile

Thanks again to Annie and Lustre Estudio for giving us an inside look at your creative process, insights, and beautiful art! To keep up with Lustre, follow them on Instagram at @lustre.estudio.

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