Ceramicist Megan Leihgeber throws on the wheel in her Austin studio.Working at the pottery wheel in her Austin studio, ceramicist Megan Leihgeber has thought a lot in recent months about what it means to be “together.” Friends helped build her workshop—washed in farmhouse white and stacked to the ceiling with her creations—so both the space and the memories behind it have added renewed poignancy to creating dinnerware and home accessories for her studio label, Maya Blu. “There’s something about sitting around a table with your people,” she muses. “I want to be a part of that.”
That spirit of camaraderie is what first attracted Leihgeber to pottery. Fresh out of college, she befriended local ceramicists through work at Austin cookware company Kettle and Brine. Learning techniques from them as she honed her craft made clay a collaborative experience from the beginning. “The ceramic community here is incredibly close,” she notes, “always going back and forth to help pour out molds or do workshops.”
Since then, Leihgeber has carved out her own distinctive style: minimalist in silhouette, often left unvarnished or covered in a matte glaze, and done in organic shades of cream, terracotta and sage—all the better to appreciate the nuance handmade ceramics provide. “I like to highlight the medium’s raw nature,” she explains, “and not take away from its natural beauty.”
With this in mind, Leihgeber focuses on tactility. “I’m figuring out what shape feels good to hold,” she says, “getting that relationship right with the form as well as the glaze texture.” She favors stoneware clay with some grog for its earthy tone and weightiness. And she sketches and measures dimensions for each design, before throwing a few prototypes in order to find the right shape.
Perfect symmetry, however, isn’t the goal. For Leihgeber, faint dents and dimples help capture a comfortable ease, which holds true for her newest project: lanterns and pendant lights. For these, she employs slip casting to allow for matching sets, while always hand-building the foundational form that will become the mold. Preserving her hand in the work has become a way to connect with those who take the ceramics home. “I hope you look at my work and know there was a human and a story behind it,” Leihgeber says.