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Casa Cecu Ceramics

The Campamento was born in the northern region of Spain, in A Coruña. This city is full of projects and creative individuals striving to carve out their space, inspiring us everyday with their stories.

That’s why we recently visited Dilara and her baby, Kora, at Casa Cecu, a place where handcrafts allow us to perceive time and effort in a different way.

Casa Cecu made its way to A Coruña a few years ago, guided by Dilara, who came from Turkey to the Galician city where she established her ceramics business. This workshop is synonymous with passion, freedom, and home; values that run deep in this family and are transmitted to their daughter, Kora.

Why did you choose A Coruña as your place to live? What do you like the most in this city?

Our journey unexpectedly brought us to A Coruña, this hidden gem of a city. We were looking for an escape from the chaos of Istanbul’s hectic life and found ourselves here, without even knowing where it was on the map initially. A Coruña may be known for its unpredictable rains and winds, but when the sun shines, it transforms into the most enchanting place. It’s a city full of surprises and contrasts. It’s compact enough to explore on foot, yet large enough to offer the best of everything. I guess I’ve got a bit poetic describing it, but that’s truly how I feel about this place <3

Why ‘Casa Cecu’ as the name of your workspace?

We chose the name ‘Casa Cecu’ for our workspace because of its personal significance to us. ‘Casa’ simply means ‘house’ in Spanish, representing the space itself. On the other hand, ‘Cecu’ carries a deeper meaning inspired by a children’s book called “Cecü’nün Yer Cüceleri” in Turkish, “Los Gnomos de Gnu” in Spanish, and “The Gnomes of Gnu” in English. In this story, ‘Cecü’ is the name of a planet where gnomes live happily, free from the complications and mess of globalization that we often experience on Earth. It serves as a reminder of a simpler, more harmonious way of life that we aspire to create within our workspace.

“We rarely stop to think about or appreciate the time and effort that goes into making something by hand”.

What means ‘Casa Cecu’ and ceramics to you?

‘Casa Cecu’ is more than just a name to me; it’s my home and sanctuary. It symbolizes pure happiness, evoking images of gnomes leisurely walking on the hills of their planet. As a child, I always found joy in creating things with my hands, often engaging in simple arts and crafts activities with my family. ‘Casa Cecu’ allows me to reconnect with that childlike wonder and creativity. It’s my planet of freedom, a place where I can escape from the complexities of life and immerse myself in the simple pleasure of crafting.

What inspires you in your ceramic creations? What would you say is your favourite piece and why?

Daily life! Despite escaping from Istanbul’s chaos, my upbringing as a city girl from Istanbul means I’ve always carried a bit of chaos with me wherever I go. Everything around me sparks ideas, leading to a variety of unique and sometimes unrelated pieces coming to life first in my sketchbook and then in my studio. This explains why I don’t have continuous collections but rather a series of one-of-a-kind pieces. Each piece is unique, making it difficult for me to part with them.

The first item I ever made in ceramics was actually an octopus-shaped ashtray, despite not knowing the connection between octopus and Galicia at the time. Looking back, it’s intriguing to ponder why I chose to make an octopus ashtray, but it holds a special place in my heart as the starting point of my ceramic journey.

“As adults, we often set limits for ourselves, but children don’t have those boundaries. They approach life with curiosity, openness, and a sense of wonder that we can all learn from”.

In the immediate society where we lived, do you believe that handcrafts are valued as they deserve?

No, I don’t believe handcrafts are valued as they deserve. But there’s a silver lining – there has been a growing appreciation for handcrafted goods in recent years, especially in the field of ceramics. With the influence of social media and fast fashion, we’ve become accustomed to consuming everything quickly, often without much thought or gratitude. We rarely stop to think about or appreciate the time and effort that goes into making something by hand. Time is so important, it’s the most crucial thing in our lives, and we often forget that.

What would you say to someone who is starting a business based on their passion?

It is a challenging journey. You may feel alone at times, but the satisfaction of creating something from your heart is unmatched by any other job. Embrace the role of being the 100% creator and enjoy every step of the journey, both the highs and the lows. Trust your instincts, stay true to your vision, and remember, your passion is your greatest asset and guide.

Does Kora spend time with you in ‘Casa Cecu’? How is her relationship with ceramics?

Kora does spend time with me at ‘Casa Cecu,’ although her involvement is mostly in small projects for now since she recently completed her first year. Being my daughter, she’s been leaving her footprints in clay since the day she was born, which I’ve transformed into unique ceramic pieces. She now helps me paint these pieces in an abstract way. To let you in on a secret, I’m not fond of painting, so I can’t wait for Kora to grow up and freely express her creativity. I look forward to having mother-daughter painting sessions in the studio or bringing her imaginative clay creations to life. Hopefully, she’ll share my love for arts and crafts as she grows older!

How is raising a little child surrounded by creativity and art? What do you think she can learn?

Raising a little child surrounded by creativity and art is a truly enriching experience. We make it a ritual to visit museums with Kora wherever we go, and witnessing her fascination with art brings me immense joy. I’m always curious about what she sees in the artworks. She is just one year old and incredibly fast learner. They absorb information in the purest and most genuine way, creating their own unique understanding of the world around them.

As adults, we often set limits for ourselves, but children don’t have those boundaries. They approach life with curiosity, openness, and a sense of wonder that we can all learn from. So, instead of focusing on what she can learn, I often find myself wondering, “what can we learn from Kora?” Her fresh perspective and uninhibited approach to learning and exploring the world serve as a constant reminder of the need to embrace curiosity, creativity, and the joy of discovery in our own lives.

Has the experience of being a mother enriched your job? How?

Being a mother has enriched both my personal life and my job in unexpected ways. It’s been a crash course in patience, resilience, and understanding human emotions, all of which directly influence my artistic approach and creative process, broadening my perspective on life.

The values and skills I’ve gained from motherhood add depth and authenticity to my ceramic creations, enriching both my personal and professional journey. While motherhood and ceramics might seem worlds apart, they’re deeply connected in my life. They’ve shaped me, adding depth to my work and enriching my personal journey.

Balancing mom life with work can feel like navigating a circus act, and let’s not even talk about my time management skills – they’re a constant work in progress! But each challenge, each lesson learned, adds more flavor and richness to my art and my life. It’s a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How is your long-term vision of ‘Casa Cecu’ and how do you expect Kora to be part of it?

My vision for ‘Casa Cecu’ is one of enduring creativity and growth. While I can’t predict the future of the studio in the heart of A Coruña, I’m confident that Casa Cecu will continue to evolve and thrive. Working with ceramics, touching the clay, and transforming my ideas to reality has become a fulfilling and essential part of who I am. It’s a passion that fuels me every day, and I’m committed to nurturing it for years to come.

As for Kora, I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of her joining me in this creative journey. I look forward to exploring clay and colors together, sharing our love for art and creativity. With her strong character and independent spirit, I have no doubt that she’ll find her own unique way to contribute to Casa Cecu.

Photography, Art Direction & Styling by The Campamento