Experimental Ceramics with Carmen
  • Umècuaro, Mexico
  • 28 hours over 7 days

Experimental Ceramics with Carmen

Learn the primitive Mexican way of producing and burning ceramics, using local clay and red earth from well known Mexican abstract painter, sculptor and ceramists, in a studio overlooking the lake and 30 minutes from UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Snacks, Coffee, & Tea, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast


One Guest
USD $1165
Additional guest(s) (max 4)
USD $630


One Guest
USD $525
Additional guest(s)
USD $420

Meet the Artist

Carmen is a well known Mexican abstract painter and ceramist, native to Morelia. Her partner, Kees, is a Dutch stone sculptor, painter and ceramist. Together they’ve built their studio in front of a beautiful lake in Umécuaro, making it the ideal green and creative environment to live and work in. Carmen experiments with primitive Mexican way of producing and burning ceramics, using local clay and red earth to produce ceramic-sculptures as well as table and homeware. They are burnt in a very simple kiln made out of red bricks and fired with charcoal and wood.

Her expertise is in experimenting with new and fun materials and techniques, like fusing ceramic techniques and the spontaneous burning of experimental materials with different local non-traditional materials. These unique results have won her several local and national awards. She loves teaching how to create beautiful pieces with few and simple materials. “Wherever you go you will find clay, water, and you can create fire to burn with the primary elements in your direct surroundings. The whole process taking care of the artistic part of creation.”

VAWAA Includes:

  • Learning how to prepare clay.
  • Learning how to build ceramic pieces of small format (+/-- 20 cm.) using various techniques.
  • Walking through the natural environment to collect local earth that will be used to color the works.
  • Preparation of the collected earth type technique called “Terra Sigilata”.
  • Learning various techniques of finishing and decoration of the ceramic pieces like burnishing, printing and scraffito.
  • Preparations of single firing in a primitive kiln using firewood, charcoal and organic materials and experimental techniques like using salts and reduction process.
  • Tools and materials.
  • Your handmade ceramic artworks.
  • Visit the Paricutin Volcano church ruins, the remains of a Mexican village destroyed by a volcano, while waiting for your ceramic pieces to dry.

Stay at Carmen's

Stay in Carmen and Kees’s roomy and comfortable guest cabin above their studio (accessible by stairs). Cabin features two separate, individual beds (option to include two additional beds to accommodate a total of 4 guests), main living space, dining area, small kitchen with appliances, private bathroom, and a roof terrace with a splendid view. All meals are included (breakfast, lunch, dinner) as well as snacks, coffee, and tea. Plus, they have a cat and dog. If you're looking for a calming space surrounded with nature and by a lake, this is for you!

Explore Umècuaro

Umécuaro is a small, rural village 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level, located among gorgeous mountains, where cows, chickens and other animals walk around freely. It is 30 minutes away from the capital city of Morelia, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved colonial architecture and layout of the historic center. During your stay, be sure to visit the beautiful pueblos nearby like Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, and Santa Clara del Cobre, which are full of color, tradition and local crafts.

Additional Details

A good time to visit Mexico is during the Day of the Dead (October 30th - November 2nd). The hottest month of the year tends to be May, while July is rainy with cool nights. It's best to avoid the Easter holidays as many businesses close.

This VAWAA is available for a longer duration, up to 15 days. Please ask when you submit your booking request.

You’ll be around a friendly dog and cat. If you are allergic to these animals, please bring suitable medication before you arrive.

Carmen speaks Spanish and basic English, while her husband Kees speaks English, Dutch, Japanese, and German.
Carmen's Availability 7 days

Guest Reviews

  • Scottie D., United States

    This experience with Carmen was like nothing I’ve ever done in my life and far exceeded my expectations. Amazing! Incredible! Transformative! From the moment we met, I felt very comfortable with Carmen. Almost like we’d known each other for a while. She and her husband, Kees, welcomed me to their property, as did their pup and cat. Their property is a pocket of peace. A paradise or sorts.

    Read more

  • Nuvid B., United States

    Amazing time with an amazingly spiritual and artistic couple! They have a wonderful way of making you feel at home and fulfilled. Carmen is an incredibly talented teacher who takes note of who you are and what your interests are. Her attentiveness can inspire the projects you work on. I felt quite comfortable at the cabin - it was beautiful and handcrafted. The food was delicious. We also took som Read more

  • Celeste C., United States

    This experience was everything I needed it to be! Carmen and Kees have created the most tranquil and inspiring environment for creation and relaxation. I was in awe of how beautiful the scene surrounding us there was, looking out at the beautiful lake felt like a meditation. The guest house is very cozy and welcoming, and Chaya and Kazan are darling furry companions that are so sweet to have aroun Read more

  • Bonnie S., United States

    Learning from Carmen is amazing and Kees is right there to inspire, take pictures and translate. Carmen has so much to share. My original intention was just pottery, but she also shared weaving and encaustic knowledge.

    The most important thing I got from Carmen were ideas to take my students outside for art. She and Kees live in an amazing inspiring setting and they have their art everywhere.
    Read more

  • Dasom C., United States

    My time with Carmen & Kees was incredible and it truly felt like I was spending time with long time friends. We jumped straight into the essentials of experimental ceramics, learned to work iteratively, and spent many evenings talking about the things we made during the day over wonderful meals and wine. The natural progression of our work over the course of 5 days was enough to keep us all excite Read more

  • Claire R., United States

    I can't fully describe how magical our stay was with Kees and Carmen. It felt like visiting family. They welcomed us into their gorgeous home, perched atop a hill overlooking the lake. Kees designed and built the house himself - it is truly one of a kind. Carmen was the best ceramics teacher! She shared so many tips, techniques, and ideas and was incredibly generous with her space and time. The ex Read more

  • See all 6 reviews