There is a clean, almost serendipitous sense to the ceramics produced by Cape Town photographer, illustrator and sculptor Amor Coetzee. Take the line of tableware under her Dayfeels label: it’s not hard to imagine finding the set washed up on a beach after a storm, amid the wrack and wrangle of shells and silver driftwood. It is as if the ocean in its perpetual lunge for the shore had discovered a collection of great white stones and chose to scour them into crockery.
This feeling is not without merit: ‘My inspiration stems from a deep appreciation for the landscape,’ Amor explains.
‘The ocean and the properties of water have had the most significant influence on my current works. The hues, ripples and reflections, the immense power and the calm – the ocean is my muse. Other than that I draw inspiration from subtleties, silent gestures and body language, daily human interactions, music, poetry, books, films, conversations with friends, light and dreams.’ The set of cups she made on commission for famed Cape Town chocolatier Honest Chocolate seem, in their own way, as much plucked from the tectonic whims of nature. Filled, one of these cups radiates a warmth and weight evocative of a tiny benevolent volcano, afroth with hot chocolate.
Delicious #honestchocolate #honestchocolatecups #clay #dayfeels #handmade #ceramics A photo posted by @dayfeels on
Amor, who in 2008 completed her bachelor of technology in photography, entered this tactile world through a doorway traced by her first love: drawing. ‘I have been drawing since I can remember,’ says Amor, who grew up in the small town of Gonubie just outside of East London, and who now calls Cape Town home. ‘When I was a child, it was the only thing that helped me to sleep. I would sit for hours creating stories about people I knew and characters I had invented.’ As is all too often the case, bit by bit the vagaries of life pulled her from her passion: ‘I lost touch with that side of me. This is what sparked my desire to create Dayfeels. It was something that I started about a year ago outside of my nine-to-five to get me back into drawing more seriously again.’ She dug her fingers into ceramics and sculpting almost incidentally, ‘as something fun to do after work’. It didn’t take long for the spell of this particular calling to enchant her, though. ‘I completely fell in love with the craft of sculpting, moulding and glazing clay and the satisfaction of seeing it transform into something special once it came out of the kiln.’ And whence does her particular brand of beauty spring? ‘I am very drawn to a clean and muted aesthetic and work through a process of elimination, starting out with a lot of detail and removing bit by bit until only the very essence remains.
‘I try to communicate a sense of calm in my work. Like a whisper. As an extension of my illustrations, the ceramic side of Dayfeels lets me experiment more with texture, contrast, abstract shapes and patterns to create hand-made, one of a kind pieces.’
Asked what we can expect to see from her next, the woman with poems for fingers seems marginally reticent: ‘Currently, I’m working on designs for a range of stoneware using interesting and textured clays that will launch at the end of the year.’
We’ll just have to wait and see, then.