What is the history of the studio?
Working in very cramped conditions in Diepsloot, the artists continued to create beautiful work right throughout lockdown. The end of 2020 saw a well-received exhibition at the Hyde Park Corner center in Sandton and a move to the spacious new studio in the Riversands Incubation Hub in Midrand.
How are the pieces of art created?
Alex guides the team each week as they plan their creative process. Two types of clay are used depending on the artwork considered. Terracotta and white earthenware clays are wedged, which is a kneading process, to get the clay to the correct viscosity to either throw on a potter’s wheel or sculpt.
Carefully controlled drying then takes place ensuring that the temperature and humidity levels are just right. Once dry, pieces are then placed in a kiln (oven heated to 1060°C) and the first bisque firing takes place.
The piece then moves on to the painters who ensure that the designs, colours and textures are just how they should be before the second firing takes place. After this the artwork is dipped in a glazing mixture and fired at 1260°C for the last time. This gives the work a rich glossy texture.
Each part of the process takes many hours. All the artwork is signed and dated by the artists who each have between 10 and 15 years’ experience in their field. The new pieces produced have the Shabalala head hidden on it by the painter, adding to the joy of looking at the exquisite work and ensuring the provenance of the piece.