The potter, Julián Ortega Durán

Julián Ortega Durán is a third-generation potter, grandson of Rafael Ortega Porras , an illustrious potter from Extremadura of Frexnense origin, awarded.

Since he was a child he was staining his hands with mud having fun in his grandfather's workshop. At first he was more interested in playing and shaping the characters he imagined than in formally learning the techniques, but without realizing it he was internalizing them, between doll and doll. Later, during adolescence, he participated as an assistant in some works with his grandfather and accompanied him as a teacher in a course with children.

Julián working on the lathe at the age of 4. Hoy newspaper, June 6, 1993

Later, at the age of 27, he began his academic training as a ceramist in his region, at the School of Art and Superior Design of Mérida , to acquire more systematized knowledge, in addition to inherited practice. At this time, together with his partner Inés Fernández Moreno , he began to participate in craft markets in his region and in entrepreneurship programs. He enjoyed an Erasmus scholarship for Young Entrepreneurs in Ireland, where he worked together with Adrian Wistreich at his Kinsale Pottery and Arts Centre .

He continued his studies in Madrid, at the Francisco Alcántara School of Art , where he graduated as a Higher Technician of Plastic Arts and Design in Artistic Ceramics, at the same time that he was already teaching classes at the Madrid City Council in different cultural centers. In this environment he was able to be a companion, student and friend of many good and reputable potters, thanks to the immense cultural offer organized in the capital. In one of those activities, on a trip to Manises, he became friends with Alfonso D'Ors , who from then on would not stop giving him very good advice.

Convinced defender of functionality against the exclusively aesthetic, he wanted his training to grow and deepen in this line, for which he began to study Engineering in Industrial Design and Product Development at the University of Extremadura , which focused on the development of ceramic products. He did curricular internships as a designer in the Spanish ceramics industry in Castellón, at Esmaltes SA , while producing pieces in the workshop of the most kind and wise Rafa Galindo . She also did extracurricular internships at the Tybso artisan tableware factory in Bogotá, Colombia, with Camila Gómez and her invaluable team.

He finished his studies at the age of 34 with a work entitled Ecodesign of a Terralfar Ceramic Tableware, where he captured all his values ​​and knowledge. The court that evaluated it awarded it with honors.

At the same time that Julián began to study engineering, in 2018, he started as a freelance potter in his hometown. Since then he has been self-employed, producing parts and providing services. He has been a professor at the Cultural Classrooms of the University of Extremadura on three occasions. But the activity in which he has specialized is in private lathe classes, since he can dedicate all his attention to people who want to learn. He has also produced, almost always to order, a wide typology, wanting to highlight current tableware of his own style, as well as historical ones, mainly Roman and Punic. His emotional connection with his city has also led him to make trophies for local events, as well as not missing the Emerita Lvdica Roman recreation festival since 2017, for which he has built his own lathe inspired by that era and in which he enjoys teaching children dressed as Romans to get their hands dirty on the lathe.

Julián working on the lathe he made for the XII Emerita Lvdica in 2022

In summary, to this day, Julián has developed his career as a potter between Extremadura, Madrid, Castellón, Ireland and Colombia, each time focusing on different techniques and delving into different aspects of his profession.

During the summer of 2023, he decided to make changes to his business, abandoning the profit motive to establish an association. In this way, you can continue to focus on the aspects of ceramics that interest you most while doing other activities.

You can follow him on his ceramist account on instagram: @j_ortegaduran .

In addition, Julián also graduated in Political Science and Administration from the Complutense University of Madrid , but dedicating himself to it for a while as a political scientist and then a politician only showed him that ceramics would make him much happier. Seeing the happiness of children (and adults) getting their hands dirty on the wheel, being able to shape it or receiving the creations that Julián thinks up and makes with love cannot be compared.