Friday, 31 December 2010


the New Year is here and we welcome it in with joyous fervour, hoping it holds many pleasures in store. But before I do that I want to briefly reflect on the year just completed and what it meant to me. On the up side I started running regular classes, courses and workshops at the pottery studio in Bryanston. These have been most successful and I will be continuing with these in 2011.
I attended a wonderful workshop in England with Sasha Wardell which truly was one of the highlights of the year as well as my visit to the V & A museum's Ceramics wing. I met so many wonderful people during the year through my teaching and travel and also through Ceramics S A, for whom I was the national selector at this year's National Exhibition and also I was honoured as a Fellow of this association this year.
Sadly my teaching at the University of Johannesburg as well as the Ceramic Department at that institution came to an end in 2010.
Looking ahead I see a full and exciting year. There are numerous exhibitions ahead along with the teaching and the continued exploration and hopefully development of my own work, for which I will have more time this year as well as some exciting marketing prospects which you will read about on these pages shortly. I am also very pleased to have been asked to be on a selection committee of an international ceramic competition in 2011 which is indeed an honour!
As we greet the year ahead with a renewed enthusiasm, may it be filled with many rewards for us all. Here's hoping that 2011 is the year that sees your dreams becoming reality, and may you all experience health, peace and prosperity!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Journey is Everything

I often find myself focusing on the 'destination' in so many areas of my life, and particularly in relation to my work. How things are going to be, or should be, or more often than not, how I want them to be. So often I have to remind myself that the 'destination' is an illusion. The journey is everything, and everything is the journey.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Social Network

This blog focuses mainly on ceramics, my own and sometimes that of other ceramists. This post is an exception.

I saw the movie The Social Network this evening and I thought it was brilliant. In fact I think it is probably as close to flawless that a movie gets. Superbly scripted by Aaron Sorkin, of The West Wing fame and excellently acted by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Arnie Hammer and Justin Timberlake in this superb ensemble piece directed by David Fincher, who is probably best known for an earlier masterpiece Fight Club. It is the story of Facebook told in a brilliantly edited, and extremely witty work which never falters. I have nothing but praise for this movie and my reason for posting it here is just to urge you to go and see it. If I have seen a better film in recent years, I cannot remember it.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Back in my Studio

Today was my first day back in the studio after my overseas trip. As is usual for me I started off by carrying out a number of tests. New shapes, new materials and different combinations of the materials I have been working with over the past few years. The tests are firing tonight and I will post any that come up trumps for all to see in the near future. It's good to be back.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Days of Miracle and Wonder

So much time has passed since my last blog entry and so much has happened since then that I really need to think about where to begin!
The selection process in the Western Cape
Firstly I was privileged to be asked to be the traveling selector for the Ceramics Southern Africa's National Exhibition which was held in the magnificent setting of the Grande Provence in Franschoek.
The magnificent surroundings at Grande Provence
Some incredible work was submitted for selections in all regions and the process went well and resulted in what could only be called an exceptional exhibition.

An general view of the CSA National Exhibition

Part of my entry on the National Exhibition
On my return from the selections I was greeted with news of a parcel in the post. I have been working with soluble salts on bone china for some time now and ever since I first heard of it I have been trying to get hold of a copy of the book 'Water Colour on Porcelain' by Arne Ase, which has been out of print for a number of years, but miraculously thanks to Facebook and a friend to whom I will be forever indebted I have finally got a copy of the book. It is overwhelming and inspiring, with enough information to keep me going for quite a while.
The day after returning home from the selections I was off to England to attend a workshop with renowned ceramist Sasha Wardell in Bradford-on-Avon. I have been a longtime admirer of Sasha's work and through her book 'Slipcasting'  she had unknowingly been a major contributor to the development of my Bone China work. 
One of Sasha Wardell's beautiful pieces
When the opportunity arose to participate in this workshop there was no option for me but to attend. The workshop was absolutely incredible. Information and methods were shared freely, I got to work on a potter's lathe and also to work with real English Bone China and as a result I found myself looking at mouldmaking and slipcasting in a whole new light.

Turning a form on the lathe
It was so inspiring to be a part of this workshop which I am sure will impact my future work.

After the workshop it was off to London for two days. One of these was spent at the new ceramic wing at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Part of the display at the V & A Ceramic wing

It seems ludicrous to call it a 'wing' as it comprises the entire sixth floor of the museum. This was truly an experience over which I will never get! Seeing works that I had hitherto only seen on the printed page or computer screen was phenomenal! So much work. Far to much to list, but to see Bodil Manz's magnificently proportioned cylinders, Edmund de Waal's incredible installation of over 400 pieces placed way above the viewer (about three floors) and also to see the work of legendary names like Ruth Duckworth, Colin Pearson and Walter Keeler was almost to much to take in. This was an experience that words can never justify and to say I was moved by the occasion seems trite, and yet I cannot ever remember being this effected by ceramic work.
A bird's eye view of Edmund de Waal's incredible installation
I shall be forever grateful for this experience and I can only hope that that which inspired and overwhelmed me will show in some way in the work I am yet to produce.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A New Addition

This piece has been resisted with wax and then painted with various soluble salt solutions. After firing the salts, gold lustre has been applied in areas the work re-fired. This new work can be seen at the Ceramics Southern Africa Regional Exhibition opening at Museum Africa in Newtown Johannesburg on Sunday 11th September at 11.30 am.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

UJ Ceramics Alumni Exhibition.

Ceramic Design at the University of Johannesburg closes at the end of this year. An exhibition celebrating the work of the alumni and staff of this programme is currently on view at the FADA Gallery at the University's Bunting Road Campus in Auckland Park. The exhibition closes on Wednesday, August25th.
At the opening

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Workshop Information

This is my programme for the remaining workshops I am presenting this year on Friday mornings from 9:30am – 12:30pm at The Pottery Studio, 24 Old Kilcullen Road, Bryanston.
If you wish to attend any of the workshops listed please book now to secure a place by mailing me:
These are demonstrating workshops and a large amount of material is covered. I suggest you bring a notebook.

Cost R300.00 per workshop

Decorating Techniques – green and bisque ware: August 6th. This workshop covers a variety of surface treatments which can be carried out on both green ware and bisque-fired ware. Among the techniques covered are a number of resist methods, etching on raw clay, underglaze and majolica, stamping, a new method of tube lining, sponging and banding. You will also be shown how to make your own underglazes, majolica colours and ceramic crayons.

Creating a Professional Image: September 3. Are you doing enough to get your name and your work in the public eye? In this session we will look at various ways of how to go about promoting yourself and your work without outlaying large amounts of money. Also discussed will be the importance of creating your ‘brand’ and where to position yourself in the market.

Paperplaster; the mould making revolution: October 29th. The revolutionary paperplaster method has changed my approach to mould making forever. Introduced to me by Sandra Black as taught by Trudy Golley this is an excellent introduction to basic mould making as well as a great new method for those more experienced in this area. This method uses much less plaster than is usually used for mould making resulting in lighter easier to manage moulds. I will also be demonstrating and doing my best to take the mystery out of slip casting.
Glazes, everything you wanted to know: November 5. This workshop will focus on all practical aspects of glazing. Glaze application methods will be discussed and demonstrated as well as ways of keeping glazes consistent. Glaze on glaze decoration as well as ways of creating specialised surfaces using a number of techniques will be covered as well as the introduction of line blending, a method that offers you the opportunity to create your own glazes with no technical knowledge.

Image Transfer on Clay: November 12. This workshop will cover ways of transferring images on to your work using a variety of methods. I will cover the making of your own decals using a normal laser printer as well as other methods of surface enhancement using photocopiers and printers, and other transfer methods, including a lithographic process that you can carry out on your own with few materials.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

David Walters and Friends

The exhibition, David Walters and Friends opens tonight at the William Humphreys Art Gallery in Kimberley. I am pleased to be one of the exhibitors this year. Here are images of 3 of my pieces on the exhibition.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

African Landscapes in Clay

At the opening of the exhibition. Thanks to Colleen Lehmkuhl for the image
In a way it felt like the first exhibition in a long time. In fact it was only because it was the first work I was showing produced in my own studio. There was a surprisingly good turn out considering it was the same night as the world cup final. Here I can be seen chatting to Jerice Doeg at the opening. Hank Doeg, Marentia and Jan Kooiman in the background. The exhibition is at the Association of Arts and will continue until 27th July.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

New Work - At Long Last!

Narrow Flute

Subtle Colors

Undulating Form
Finally I have some new images to post. These 3 pieces, the first from my new kiln, will be part of my submission for the exhibition 'African Landscapes in Clay' to be held at the Association of Arts Gallery in Pretoria from 11th - 28th July. How wonderful to be producing work again!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Paperplaster Workshop Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Marina Muhlberg 
I will be presenting my workshop Paperplaster; the mold making revolution tomorrow at The Pottery Studio in Bryanston. I had always dreaded making molds until I came across this unbelievable way of working with plaster that not only cuts down mold making time but also uses about 75% less plaster than usual. The revolutionary paperplaster method has completely changed my approach to mold making. Introduced to me by Sandra Black as taught by Trudy Golley, this is an excellent introduction to basic mold making as well as a great new method for those more experienced in this area. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

Ceramics Takes a Back Seat

For the last couple of days there has only been one thing in the hearts and minds of Johannesburg, or in fact the entire country, and that is the FIFA World Cup. I am not, nor have I ever been,  a football fan or even follower, but I have to admit that I have been seduced by the gees (energy) that this ginormous event has created. It all started on Wednesday when a local radio station got behind getting people to the streets in support of our local team, Bafana Bafana. A few thousand where expected, one hundred and eighty thousand turned out. Then on Thursday the incredible Kick off concert that surpassed my wildest expectations, and now today, the opening ceremony and the first match, our team against Mexico. And Bafana Bafana scored the first goal of the match, which even though it ended in a 1 - 1 draw was a wonderful achievement. What an exciting time to be in South Africa.
Oh wow, an entry about soccer on my blog. Who'd ever have  thought it!

Monday, 17 May 2010

My Gift to You

I have been overwhelmed with the response to the workshops I am currently offering at The Pottery Studio and as a ‘thank you’ for your support I am offering a presentation on Friday May 28 as my gift to you. This is absolutely free of charge but, unfortunately, is limited to 20 participants, so contact me now and you will be placed on the list. The theme of this presentation will be ‘Answers to Potters’ Questions’

Visit my website for further information on the workshops I am presenting

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

It's All Happening, More or Less!

The workshops have begun and the first of my courses 'Exploring Glazes' starts this Friday. I have had an incredible response to all of these although I do have a few places left. If you want any further information on any of the workshops and courses visit my website. On the other hand, I am still trying to organise my workplace and as a result no new work coming out. This is really starting to get to me so watch this space. New work here soon, I assure you!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Blog of the Month - Clementina Ceramics

Congratulations to Clementina for keeping up with her one post per day goal. They are always interesting and often inspiring. Clementina Ceramics is her blog and truly well worth spending some time visiting.
During my recent stay in Cape town I spent some time with Clementina in her beautiful new studio space and it is easy to see how working in this incredible environment gets her creativity flowing. I am so impressed with her output and the diversity in her current work. I am really pleased to call her a friend and am inspired by her work ethic. And regarding the blog, keep on sharing your thoughts with us in your inimitable way.
A selection of small cups of Clementina's

Saturday, 24 April 2010

It's All Good

Back from a week in Cape town where I presented a workshop at Ceramics Southern Africa's Autumn Workshop at the Clay Museum in Durbanville. Although it did not go as planned (you had to be there) it was all good. It was also great to meet up again with many of the Cape potters and to see some of the wonderful work they are making. It was the first time I saw the completed Stadium in Greenpoint. All ready for the world cup, and quite beautiful, in my opinion.
The stadium in the mist, Cape Town
Since getting back home I have been busy organising my work space. I took delivery of my new kiln yesterday, and have also taken over the Ceramics Southern Africa website, which has taken up quite a chunk of time. I must say though, it's all good.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Bound for Shanghai

I have been asked to participate in an exhibition of South African craft at the World Expo in Shanghai. This image shows 4 of the pieces that I am sending. The exhibition will run from 1st May to 31st October.

Friday, 9 April 2010

New Courses Workshops and Events

From the beginning of May I will be offering a range of ceramic courses, workshops and events at The Pottery Studio in Bryanston, Johannesburg. Visit my website for details. If you would like further information on any of these please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sofia's Dad's Blog of the Month

Jim Gottuso's blog, Sofia's Dad's Pots is my choice for April's blog of the month. Certainly one of the more active of the ceramic bloggers, Jim keeps us entertained with stories and events of his life as both a father and a potter. he shares his thoughts as well as some of his really interesting inventions, such as glazing posts for bowls and mugs, freely and generously, in his frequent posts. Interspersed with these, are images of Jim's beautifully meticulous work, an example of which is shown here. Jim, all I can say is thank you for sharing your wonderful work, and your enjoyable anecdotes with us as Sofia's Dad. Long may you continue.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Andrew Walford, Book Launch and Exhibition

It is so wonderful to see the work of a true master in his field. Andrew Walford currently has work on show at the Apple i Store in Sandton and it is truly a joy to the viewer. The exhibition features bowls and vases as well as a number of magnificent enormous 'tiles'. This high fired reduction-fired stoneware is enhanced by Andrew's magnificent glazes and his masterful brushwork. Coupled with this show of work is the launch of the book 'A Potter's Tale in Africa' on the life and work of Andrew Walford. I urge you to see the exhibition in this stunning venue off Sandton drive on Alice lane in the Apple i Store. The show will continue until mid April and is not to missed if you have any interest in ceramics at all.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

'Clay as Canvas' at Olievenhuis

On Friday evening 'Clay as Canvas' opened at Olievenhuis in Bloemfontein. Above is a view of the magnificent building from accross the lawns. I was asked to open the exhibition as well as to act as the awards judge. The images below show a wide shot of part of the exhibition and also a selection of my work
as guest artist.

The event continued over the weekend with a number of workshops, demonstrations and firings. It was so wonderful to experience the dedication and entusiasm of  the organisers as well as the local ceramic community. The entire event was a resounding success and I was honoured to be a part of it. The exhibition will continue until 18th April so please if you are in the vicinity of Bloemfontein do yourself a favour and visit this exciting exhibition in this magnificent setting.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Wonderful Musing.........

This month I have chosen Carole Epp's 'musing about mud' as the blog of the month. This blog offers invaluable information to all ceramists on a continual basis. Want to know what is happening at any time in the world of ceramics, or what competitions or exhibitions are coming up, musing about mud is the place to find all this and  much more. Thank you so much Carole for this truly incredible service. It is one of the blogs I have to visit every time I am online.
Also check out Carole's own beautiful work on her personal website

Monday, 22 February 2010

Guest Artist at Free State Ceramic Exhibition

I have been invited to be the guest artist at the Free State Ceramic Exhibition this year to be opened on 18th March at Olivenhuis Art Museum. There will be a number of my pieces on exhibit including the one shown above. This annual event comprises a weekend full of ceramic events. 
I will be presenting a workshop at Oliewenhuis on the morning of the 19th March.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The New Body (Part 2)

Continuing on the earlier post of the new body I am working on, here is an image of soluble salts decorated on the surface of a piece. What is particularly exciting for me is that the body is as translucent as the bone china body I have worked with, but this one is fired at 1060 deg. C instead of 1250 which my bone china body requires. I will continue to use the high fired bone china for my one off pieces, but am looking at what applications this new 'eco' china could have!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Blog of the Month

A new item I am introducing this year is a 'Blog of the Month' feature. At the beginning of each month I plan to showcase a blog that I consider to be of special interest to the ceramic community. 
The first of these I am featuring is that of my friend and colleague Eugene Hon. This blog not only illuminates  details of his process but also its archival and exploratory value for the research of his many projects. Those things that inspire or interest him are shared in a wonderfully informative way. His blog is crammed with items of value and examples of his exceptional drawings which direct his ceramic projects, as well as images of finished works and what it is that informs them. I feel that he has truly created a blog both brave and inspirational in concept, and well worth a visit to anyone wanting to get an insight into what Eugene's creative process encompasses.    

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Peek at My New Body

I am often in a quandary when I am working on something new. Do I show it before it is fully developed or do I wait until everything is finalized? Well, I am showing this before the final tests have even taken place. I am so excited with the results. Here is a peek at the new body I am working on. More info to follow soon.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year - New Work

I have been busy with new body tests, I am exploring alternatives with the bone china I developed for my work. I find testing and research one of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of my work. Also have got hold of additional soluble salts I am experimenting with. No results as yet but will post images of some new work as soon as I have. For now, here is an image of work made towards the end of last year.

I have recently started a Facebook group called 'Ceramic Solutions' which is a forum for the discussion of faults and remedies and all things technical related to ceramics. If you haven't already done so let me invite you to join

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

And so it Begins

With the festivities behind us it is time to face 2010. So begins a new period in my life; I will be lecturing only on a part-time basis at the university. I am busy re-designing my website to include the courses that I am putting together to present this year, as well as more information on my work and where it can be seen. I am also currently developing a new clay body , but more on that when it is done.
The year ahead is rich with promise and I look forward to its unfolding.
May it be filled with the realisation of many dreams and exciting new realities for all.
I try to include an image in all my posts, but as I have not produced any new work yet this year as I am still looking for studio space, I therefor include an image from my last firing of 2009.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Another Year, Come and Gone

I want to take a little time to review the year just passed before I start with new plans for 2010. For me 2009 was an incredible year. Starting with the World Ceramics Biennial in Korea, where I had work accepted and shown. This was the first time I had entered an international competition, and what an honor it was to be a part of this magnificent collection of ceramics. I sold my fist piece of work outside South Africa through the Cecilia Coleman Gallery in London. I was one of the 'Ikons of South African Craft' at Decorex in Johannesburg and I participated in a number of group shows in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. I had and article published in 'Ceramics Technical' on developing translucent bodies. I was asked to be a selector for the Ceramics Southern Africa Regional Exhibition in Pretoria. I was also accepted as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. 2009 saw the end of my time as a full-time lecturer in Ceramic Design at the University of Johannesburg, one of the most rewarding periods I can recall, I will be continuing this year on a part-time basis. And last, but certainly not least, I made many incredible contacts through my blog and Facebook. For all of the above I am very thankful and filled with gratitude. As I said at the beginning of this post, it certainly was an incredible year for me and I can only say may it continue in 2010.