Nothing quite epitomises our love for the cool, the colourful and the carefully hand crafted quite like the Potter’s Workshop. Hidden away in the quiet suburb of Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa, an accomplished creative hub of around 30 artisans create our colourful tableware using designs deeply rooted in African tradition. The studio was set up in 1986 by Chris Silverston. Chris never ceases to be amazed by the constant beauty of the ceramics being created at the Potter’s Workshop and the joy of constant creation.
The artists’ colour palettes are bursting with strong reds and yellows, deep earthy oranges and all manner of uplifting blues and greens. And their stunning combinations of colour, reflective of the flora of their local environment, adorn their collections of cups, jugs, bowls, vases, plates and platters. It takes the highly shilled craftsmen years to develop their own take on the Potter’s Workshop’s distinctive intricate aztec and floral designs. And the results- well they’re as fresh and zingy as tableware can be- created to uplift your mood and make you smile.
Sibongile Siboma is one of the ceramic artists working in the safe, secure environment at the Potter’s Workshop studio. ‘Im simply inspired by the nature and everything that is beautiful around me’ he says ‘ and I look at each piece I create and say to myself ‘that’s so hip!’.
The process of creating these vibrant collections is lengthy. It begins when clay is dropped in to a mould which rotates on a jigger machine – the clay is pressed in to shape as it spins. After removal from the mould, seams are visible on the ceramic pieces. These are carefully scraped and then sponged away to create absolute smoothness. These unfired ceramics are carefully painted with their underglazes and 3D colours, giving them their distinctive raised African beads and designs before being fired in a kiln at 900 degrees.
Each piece is painted with intelligence and sensitivity. Designs & colour combinations vary widely depending on the character of the artists- but this is what makes each and every piece crafted at the Potter’s workshop so special. The ceramics are finally removed from the kiln, carefully brushed to remove excess dust and dipped in to transparent glaze. They are then packed in to the kilns and re fired to 1170 degrees for a further 3 days. The pieces are finally checked, packed up by a team of highly skilled packers (rarely do we receive pieces broken!) and sent to us here in the UK. It’s wonderful to carefully unpack the boxes and discover what has been created for us each season.
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