Decor & Design

Clay Creations

The Yeoville studio of renowned gallerist, ceramicist and collector Kim Sacks blends the best of the African continent’s design traditions with functional, once-off editions.
Sarah de Pina; Styling: Alan Hayward

Kim Sacks Gallery on Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg’s Parkwood has been loved by the city for almost two decades now, as much for its trove of handmade African objects as for the gallery’s iconic, sculptural architecture. And Kim’s own home, just a short distance away on Parktown Ridge, translates the gallery’s best elements into a domestic environment where the objects are used daily, and lived with simply. 

As a ceramicist herself, and long-time ceramics and craft educator, Kim has always referred to the gallery as a ‘vessel’ filled with things she loves, and laughs about the fact that the space, which she designed, was once voted ‘one of the ugliest buildings in Johannesburg’.  ‘When I look back over my shoulder, I’m often amazed that I had the audacity to build that crazy edifice on Jan Smuts Avenue 20 years ago,’ Kim says, ‘because it is kind of outrageous. But I love it, so I don’t know what that says about me?’ she asks, smiling.

Add to that, Kim runs clay-making classes from her studio in Yeoville, a space where creativity lives in various forms. 'Having worked with clay for more than 45 years, I feel strongly that there are many components that contribute to a  highly personal, and passionate, working relationship with clay. It is obviously learning the "Craft of Clay" – the techniques which enable us to reach our goals in terms of what we want to create,' shares Kim. 

'The craft of learning to decorate clay is very exciting and has many aspects that we explore, glazes, slips and the notion of "naked-clay" just some of them.' – Kim Sacks

The studio also holds a comprehensive library; a museum-collection of African ceramic literature. Similarly eccentric and home to each of her prized creations, Kim allows House and Leisure into this creative space; a treasure trove as much as a functional studio.