The Shabalala Designs studio resonates with an abundance of creativity. There is tremendous pride in each and every piece as the artists showcase all that the natural world has to offer. The pieces, all unique and of highest quality, will grow in value as the collections develop and are distributed around the world.
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. Because a glaze will subsequently cover the painting, the painters' work is completely durable, and it also allows the production of pottery with a surface that has a beautiful uniform sheen. After painting the artwork is dipped in a glazing mixture and fired at 1260°C for the last time.
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.