In the new May issue of House and Leisure we shine a spotlight on a few South African ceramicists creating collectable treasures that are coveted around the world. Here, we take a closer look at five local ceramicists worth keeping an eye on.
Given her surname, it’s almost as though Lisa Firer was born to be a ceramicist. Working out of a Woodstock studio in Cape Town with a small team, her unique porcelain pieces – which have been widely shown at expos like Design Indaba and 100% Design South Africa – are handmade from beginning to end. From tealights to vases, each creation is intricate and thoughtful, infused with the energy and love of its maker.
Working only in white clay, Astrid Dahl creates pieces that are as much formed by light and shadow as they are by clay itself. Astrid finds inspiration in the work of German botanical photographer Karl Blossfeldt, and organic curves are seen throughout her work. ‘Blossfeldt’s monotone prints determined that I would work with white clay, as it creates a pure canvas for light and dark to shape the piece. This approach also captures the presence of the flora that inspired it,’ Astrid says. Using the traditional South African methods of coiling and handworking clay, her works are grand in their simplicity.
Founder of Imiso Ceramics Zizipho Poswa is inspired by her natural surroundings – in particular, South African flora and fauna – and has an inherent love for beautiful things. Working with both textiles and ceramics, she translates her colourful textile designs into clay creations. Her speciality is hand-pinching, which lends her pieces a raw and playful aesthetic.
Martine Jackson was first introduced to the idea of using clay as a medium for creative expression by her late mother Barbara Jackson, who played a leading role in starting the beading company Monkeybiz. Famous for her Fold pendant lights that were exhibited at Southern Guild’s A New Wave exhibition, Martine is quickly making a name in the industry and helping put ceramics firmly on the design map.
Rooted in an urban, contemporary African clay tradition, each of Louise Gelderblom’s works is hand-built and unique. The scale of the vessels and the meditative surface detail make her work highly sought after by interior designers, architects and art collectors, and she was the first recipient of the Elle Deco International Design Award (EDIDA) for Best Craft Designer in South Africa. Visit her studio in Newlands, Cape Town, to explore her raw, naturally textured art.
See a curated selection of our favourite ceramics on page 30 of our May issue.