Botanic Vases

A collection of handmade ceramics by María Ulecia

I have always felt attracted by vegetal world. It interests me as the natural habitat of creatures despite my lack of knowledge or imagination. But I’m also interested on the plastic side of it: the texture of the leaves, the branches or the earth together with its colours, sounds or smelling. I use to spend silent hours in gardens, walking between trees and plants. They are my favourite place in the cities. My dream place to be in the world is the nature, as less interventioned as possible.

In 2018 I started working on the idea of a ceramic herbarium. Having in mind the “Grand Herbier D’ombres” by Portuguese artist Lurdes de Castro, but also Thoreau who I’ve been reading for years with no interruption. I imagined vegetable textures on ceramic surfaces, and so I started producing plates with the herbarium idea but I suddenly realise I needed to use organic forms as a base to work the textures. In October 2018 decided to model a first small vase with a rude stoneware with lots of sand, and I added to it leaves of the trees at Rua Anastácio Rosa in Lisbon where I used to walk every day on my way to the studio. This was the first of many others.

This project focuses on the plasticity of the form above their perfection. I model each vase depending on the leave it’ll embrace so that one leads me to the other or vice-versa. Sometimes it’s the trees and its shape what give me the key to the vase geometry, it can also be something around the plant, the place where I found it or the way I walk to get there. I’m also interested on the stoneware texture so I decided to leave unglazed the surface without leaves. I paint the leaves with pure mineral oxides that are never mixed with other elements and once they are dry I cover them with a more or less thick layer of glaze so I get a more or less bright finish depending on the contrast I want from the stoneware surface.

At the same time it came to my mind the idea of making a vegetal map with the plants surrounding me on the places I visit and mainly where I usually move around. So I started mapping my environment with the first three vases on the streets around this studio in Lisbon and added one vase after a trip to Galicia. In April 2019 I moved to Porto so the map has enlarged to this city and its streets and gardens. Each piece has been named after the place where its leaves came from. Some of them are no longer with me, but they are part of this map.

This is an infinite series of unique pieces, as nature forms are. I’ll keep on adding pieces as I met plants and trees with a meaning to me. 

I’ve glazed them inside so they can contain water and be used as plants vases. Below each image you can find its name/location, sizes (diameter is measured on its wider part) and price. By clicking over the images you’ll find each piece in deep. Please feel free to fill the form below or send me an e-mail to info @ in case you are interested on any of them and I’ll try to answer as soon as possible. Hope you enjoy them!

Quinta do Covelo / Porto
Height: 28cm / ø: 24cm / 350€
Jardim Paulo Vallada / Porto
Height: 30cm / ø: 28cm / 425€
Jardim da Rainha Dona Amélia / Porto
Height: 33cm / ø: 21cm / 375€
Rua do Bonjardim / Porto
Height: 26cm / ø: 24cm / 350€
Jardim da Estrela / Lisboa
Height: 13cm / ø: 11cm / 75€
Rua Santos Pousada / Porto
Height: 28cm / ø: 19cm / 275€
Largo São Carlos / Lisboa
Height: 19cm / ø: 15cm / SOLD OUT
Av. Alvares Cabral / Lisboa
Height: 20cm / ø: 17cm / SOLD OUT
Fundação Serralves / Porto
Height: 29cm / ø: 22cm / 375€ / SOLD OUT
Rua Anastácio Rosa / Lisboa
Height: 15cm / ø: 13cm / 100€
Rua do Almada / Porto
Height: 22cm / ø:31cm / 375€
Rua Vasco Lobeira / Porto
Height: 21cm / ø: 18cm / 200€
Travessa do Campo de Paiva / Porto
Height: 31cm / ø: 23cm / 425€
Jardins da Nova Sintra / Porto
Height: 27cm / ø: 19cm / 275€