Top SA Ceramicists Create a Collection For House and Leisure
HL worked with some of SA's most exciting ceramicists to create the Baked Goods capsule collection, inspired by memory and the joy of the colour yellow.
For our annual Kitchen Issue in May/June 2019, we asked some of the country’s most exciting ceramicists to create a capsule collection inspired by their memories, as well as by (and featuring!) the simple joy of the colour yellow.
All the items created for this collection can be ordered from the ceramicists – either in a full set or as individual pieces – via the links available on the House and Leisure SHOP page.
Find out more about each Baked Goods collection, and the talented ceramicists who created them:
Duma Innocent Mtimkulu
Duma Innocent Mtimkulu, who aptly calls himself an ‘earth bender’ on Instagram, embraces the ‘form follows function’ mandate of Bauhaus artists and ceramicists such as Marianne Brandt and Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain with his work.
‘I believe that by designing something specifically for its function, something else inevitably emerges from that – an aesthetic that gives the piece another function,’ he says. ‘So when a piece doesn’t serve a utilitarian purpose, it can be appreciated as an ornament, a work of art. That is always my goal.’
With regard to this project, he adds, 'Working with yellow was a bit daunting at first, as I had never used it to cover the whole surface before, but eventually I relaxed, and it became a truly engaging experience where I had to think about how I was going to layer the paint and not make it look flat and too bright.'
SHOP NOW | Duality full range, R700
Fire is at the heart of Belinda Blignaut's practice – and at the centre of one of her earliest memories of sharing a meal. ‘The first memory that comes to mind for me isn’t around a table, but around a fire on the farm where I grew up. We ate pap. I remember this so vividly because I felt pure joy. The simplicity of this is something I’m returning to, with equal amounts of joy,’ she says.
For this project, Blignaut and her collaborators in studio explored the history of craft in ceramics, outside the usual suspects. ‘Our forms are inspired by untrained artists from a mix of South African and African cultures, translating their identities and memories in a range of clay items,’ she says.
‘We adapted the markings used in traditional African pottery into something with a contemporary feel, and we loved the change from our usual production of black wares by using the colour yellow – especially the warm, bright winter yellows. We were imagining the hues of various vegetables and the fun presentation possibilities of using the objects.’
SHOP NOW | Belinda Blignaut full range, R1700
Working with colour is a regular part of Zizipho Poswa’s daily creative process at Imiso Ceramics, the globally celebrated studio she founded in 2005 with fellow ceramicist Andile Dyalvane. So it’s no wonder that when we asked her to create something yellow, she embraced the chance to use the sunny hue and experiment with new forms and ideas.
‘My work is very colourful and I use a lot of yellow in it, so this project was a fun opportunity to play around,’ she says. ‘It’s a cheerful and energetic colour, and I love that about it. I was forced out of my comfort zone by excluding oxides, which I use a lot on my decorative pieces, because the oxides aren’t food safe for functional ware. I also wanted the yellow to be a clean, bright colour to complement any dish that will be presented in the ceramics.’
SHOP NOW | Ilanga full range, R680
Siyabonga and Madoda Fani
‘We draw inspiration from our surroundings, and architecture plays an important role in our designs,’ say the Fani brothers of their creative process as ceramicists.
‘For this collection, the inspiration came from the architectural world of Woodstock in Cape Town, where our studio is located.’ As their contribution to Baked Goods, Siyabonga Fani and Madoda Fani created forms that encourage a sense of comfort and familiarity. ‘To us, a cup is a symbol of comfort,’ they say. ‘We wanted to convey this feeling by not including a handle so that a person can hold the cup in their hands and feel its comforting warmth. This also brings about a sense of humbleness. We then added more modern markings in the form of studs.’
The pair have fond memories of family gatherings growing up. ‘We come from a big family, and at times it can be difficult for everyone to come together. It’s why special days like Christmas are important to us, so that we all gather in celebration and thanksgiving. The memory of all of our Christmas gatherings is something that we carry with us whenever we break bread – sharing a feast while we have fellowship and connect with one another.’
SHOP NOW | Madoda Fani full range, R3 500
ALSO READ: Body of Work: Madoda Fani
Clementina van der Walt
Functional ceramics are Clementina van der Walt’s lifeblood, so she used this opportunity to look back at special memories of dining together around a table.
‘I love the idea of a shared meal at a table becoming a social ritual,’ she says. ‘This includes tableware that is both beautiful and useful, reflecting the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” As a child, we ate off Linn Ware, which today is in the realm of collectors! I still feel a connection to the green and yellow shades of that range.’
For her pieces in the Baked Goods collection, Van der Walt celebrated the wabi sabi philosophy by pouring a mustard glaze over the imperfect forms she created, allowing the glaze to fall spontaneously and naturally.
SHOP NOW | Mustard Wabis Sabi full set, R1 700