Ceramicist Charlotte de Lantsheere takes her cues from the undulating Ibizan countryside to create striking one-of-a-kind, hand-glazed tableware from her San Mateo studio: Charlotte Ceramics. Here, she tells us about her journey from denim designer in Belgium to fully-fledged member of Ibiza’s art contingency, her favourite island spots and how she finds beauty in the imperfect.
It’s a cloudy, overcast day in Ibiza, Charlotte de Lantsheere tells us, an indication of the fast-approaching autumn. As the island winds down for the cooler months, falling leaves and gentle breezes whisper of a more restful Ibiza. “Laid-back” is how she describes it, as the focus shifts from long summer days, alive with holiday spirit, to a more intimate way of life. “We spend more quality time having nice walks, picnics, dinners,” she says. Whether lively and bustling or moving at a slightly slower pace, there’s no place that Charlotte would rather call home. Reflecting upon her first visits to the island, she recalls carefree family holidays and trips with her photographer husband, Eric Ceccarini, which delicately balanced work and pleasure. Today, her connection with Ibiza continues to blossom. “There is a special energy here that we just love. We feel very grounded. For me it means freedom. Freedom to act, freedom to be what you want to be.”
This freedom she enjoys is reflected in her ceramics. Her studio, a self-proclaimed chemistry lab, sits next to her home – an idyllic countryside farmhouse nestled amongst almond trees and overlooking vivid, red meadows in San Mateo. It’s the beauty of these surroundings, undulating and uneven, which inspires Charlotte’s creations. “I think what we find in nature is always perfect,” she says. “The irregular shapes of the landscape, of the mountains. It brings me peace.” Charlotte translates this rolling topography into distinct irregular tableware: hand-glazed dinner plates and chamotte coffee cups in rich pigmented tones of earth, blue and green. Not bound by rules, but instead, favouring a more instinctive creative process, her clay creations are one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces that are always unique. “The edges are never the same,” she says.
But what ignited her love of working with clay in the first place? A Belgian native, Charlotte moved to Oxfordshire as a teenager to study art and design. It was there that she discovered ceramics. “I did many things, but I really loved pottery. I loved it, but I never thought I would do it as a job. For me, it was an ambition and hobby.” Instead, she chalked up ten years in the fashion industry, in denim design, before turning her passion project into a full-time career and combining this with a move to Ibiza.
Since then, Charlotte has immersed herself in the art scene, forging strong connections with other creatives on the island. And collaborations with local restaurants Raíces de Ibiza and Greek-inspired restaurant Jul’s have led to commissions from other islanders including Los Patios founder, David Leppan. “It’s a snowball effect. You deliver something to somebody and the word is spread. Every day I have a new surprise in my inbox.” She’s especially proud of her collaboration with Dutch chef Sergio Herman – “an unstoppable entrepreneur” – for his ode to Ibizan food Sombremesa, which features dishes styled with her distinctive pieces.
In her downtime, Charlotte embraces the community spirit of the White Isle, with favourite haunts including French-inspired hotel and restaurant Les Terrasses, Italian Santa Gertrudis spot Macao Café, Mediterranean restaurant headed by Peruvian chef Sa Cova and the newly established Olivia’s Ibiza Kitchen. “It’s a family affair; Olivia is in the restaurant and her husband is the chef.” More than just places to eat, Charlotte wholeheartedly commits to understanding the people behind businesses. “We see many different people from different backgrounds coming from all over the world. That’s what makes a dinner conversation really rich, we speak different languages and we all have different experiences to share.”
What’s next for Charlotte? “A collaboration with a New-York based interior designer and a partnership with a Belgian concept store designed with busy hosts in mind,” she tells us. “It’s a gift shop with crafted items to dress your dining table – a women-run business also. I like women empowering other businesswomen.” With ventures across the world, Ibiza still remains her base. She plans to feature in a book created by Sonja van der Hagen, owner of Olivia’s Ibiza Kitchen, alongside other creatives and artisans from the island – a roster of talents. And despite her full schedule and impressive successes to date, Charlotte retains an eagerness to learn. “I’m reading a lot of books and taking some masterclasses, mixing up shapes and colours. Never stop experimenting.”