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A unique soil in the world

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Marcela Giselle Mattone lives on the island of La Désirade, 45 minutes from the beaches of Saint-François. But before making this crossing, a longer journey led her to Guadeloupe, where she decided to live from her passion.

Sculpteuse en train de tourner sa pièce dans les braises

It was by chance that Marcela heard about Guadeloupe. Having left Argentina with her backpack to escape the economic crisis at the age of 25, she travels to neighboring countries living from her small pieces of clay. She met her future partner while spending a year in Mexico. And it turns out that he lived in Saint-François! It was he who took her to visit our island and his parents in La Désirade many times. Still in love, they decided together to settle in La Désirade for good.

Textures of clay in La Désirade

But it wasn't just her lover that seduced Marcela Mattone to Guadeloupe. And even after their separation, she was determined to continue living in La Désirade! Marcela is an artist who works with clay, and she finds that the clay here has an exceptional quality and hold.

“This clay is pretty incredible for my work. At 100 meters apart, there is a red volcanic clay that reacts like stoneware or porcelain at only 1040°, and another one that is more pinkish when fired, much more porous, excellent for making fire clay.”

Morceaux d'argile rouge

Colors and vibrations from another world

Far from the Buenos Aires area where she grew up, Marcela Mattone can't get enough of the colors she sees in the Caribbean.

“Compared to the pampas of my childhood, I find that everything here has an extra degree of color. Just look at the purple contrasted with the green in a banana leaf. Everything here vibrates in an exceptional light.”

Since Marcela has been living in Guadeloupe, she realizes that her work has evolved greatly, as if the light and colors here have permeated her Argentine identity. Starting from a pre-Colombian inspiration, she feels influenced by the energy that emanates from our islands. And it is this energy that inhabits her and that she transmits to the spectator through her work.

Sculpture surréaliste créée par Marcela Mattone, intitulée Procrastination. La tête placée sur les jambes.

Marcela works in a dynamic close to the surrealist literature. With her works, she wants to push the spectator to dream, we slip between the real and the imaginary, wondering what exactly exists, a bit like Alice in Wonderland, unable to disentangle the true from the false, the dream from the reality. And finally very happy with the journey...

“As if the story were true, but it's not possible. My plays are very autobiographical. It's not me that I represent directly, but everything I experience is transposed into a piece. Each piece has its own story.”

Raku, a technique from Asia applied to the local clay

“With the raku technique, the results are unpredictable and so surprising!”

Yes, this is surely the element of surprise that drives Marcela to combine with Desirade clay, and her imagination, a Japanese firing technique. Born in the 16th century, it consists in heating a piece very quickly, then provoking a thermal shock by taking it out of the kiln.

It is important to note that traditional ceramic firing works by slowly raising and lowering the temperature in the kiln, which guarantees a certain stability to the pieces and the glaze placed on them.

So Marcela, whose inspiration lies between the real and the imaginary, is necessarily inspired by the raku technique. Because its thermal shock is at the origin of amazing variations on the enamel: it turns pink, cracks, retracts, bringing a part of unforeseen in the creative process.

If you would like to welcome a little poetry into your home, a mixture of Marcela's Argentine roots, her life as a Desiradian, and her Japanese influences, you have only to say the word. She told me that she would be delighted to have a piece of her travel to you.


Marcela Mattone's Creations

Surreal & authentic pieces


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