Rose and I were tickled pink when we spotted these stunning images on illustrator Leila Fanner’s Facebook page this morning. You might remember Leila as the talented lady who designed Design Monarchy’s beautiful logo (we did an interview with her: here). Well, it seems Leila is opening a little collaborative shop in Riebeek Kasteel and has been experimenting with painting her lovely designs on various ceramic pieces.
Leila, we sure hope the experimentation in a resounding success because we LOVE it – this would make a gorgeous new additions to your product range! Leila Fanner, Ceramic Artist – it’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?!
To find out more about the Creative Collective and Leila’s experimental first steps into the world of ceramic artistry, check out her website: here.
Farah creates fresh individual porcelain pieces that range from paper-thin vases and framed porcelain “canvases” to dainty planters – both wall-mounted and hanging.
Her current range allows her to combine her three loves: illustration, porcelain, and plants. Staying true to the ancient porcelain tradition of “cobalt on white” (first popularized in 14th century China), her latest collection makes use of blue as its only colour. Farah however keeps the overall style contemporary – clean and elegant lines with light-hearted whimsy illustration.
She uses the white porcelain as a blank canvas, emphasising the hand-painted designs – intricate patterns that evolve into simplistic shapes and landscapes. Farah paints the illustrations free hand, without pre-sketching the designs. This “doodling” as she calls it, insures that each item is an unique once-off – she has no desire to become a mass-producer.
To find out more about Farah and her beautiful creations please visit her website: here, or her Facebook page: here.
There were more or less 17 stands devoted to ceramics at this year’s Expo. Immensely popular and usually exceptionally crowded, I had the rare luck of strolling through the ceramic section whilst it was relatively quiet. This allowed me to have a good look.
I was exceedingly impressed with not only the talent but also the diversity of the ceramics on display. It was also nice to see the well-known familiar faces like Sootcookie, Tamarillo Ceramics and Liesel Trautman intermixed with other talented established ceramicists that are (sadly and undeservedly) lesser-known.
As time permits me from giving you a breakdown of all seventeen, here are the two stands who’s designs made the greatest impression on me…
Clay Art by Sonja Moore:
My favourite stand in this category was occupied by Rondebosch ceramicist, Sonja Moore and her beautiful ceramics.
Her beautiful tableware range, which consists of bowls, plates, dishes, mugs and platters, features bird-on-a-wire imagery which is her current signature design. Each piece is 100% handmade which gives it a rather organic character. The range is also dishwasher and oven safe and is available in 5 glaze colours – white, aqua, grey, and now also in ocean melt, and drips & splatters.
What really grab my attention were Sonja’s gorgeous hand-painted vases. Beautifully “illustrated”, she uses a layering process to add colour, texture and visuals to the vases. Her ongoing theme of “freedom, sprout and grow” is quite evident in these delicate whimsical pieces of art. And of course, I think the Spring-coloured combos are simply stunning!
Mervyn Gers Collective:
Another serious head-turner was the combined works of Mervyn Gers along with ceramicists Diana Ferreira, and Karen Kotze of Woven Ceramics. The combination worked together quite beautifully – Mervyn’s beautifully decorated pieces with bold crisp graphics; Diana’s gorgeous earthy, slightly rustic vessels; and Karen’s lovely organic pieces with feminine floral designs.
The show-stealer was Mervyn’s Koi and Blue Willow set which won the prestigious Best Decorated Award at the Ceramics South Africa Cape Regional last year. The detail in this intricate orient-inspired set is quite breathtaking.
Now, I’ve bookmarked these two and most of the other ceramicists and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them. Which means – hopefully many lovely updates and features to follow!
Be sure to keep in touch with Sonja and Mervyn on their Facebook pages here:
Please spare me a moment or two of your afternoon to share the remarkable works of Michael Chandler with you – it will be well worth your time. Do you have your coffee in hand… mmm, and a rusk maybe? Ready? Okay…
Browsing through the Chandler House website, Rose and I had to agree that Michael is one clever young man. Most of his pieces have an unique play of old and new – taking an artefact and reworking it into a contemporary interpretation is simply brilliant. He finds inspiration for new designs in South African history & heritage and then uses modern materials and methods to craft it. I also find it admirable how he utilizes otherwise damages & useless objects (like the shards of an old blue & white Dutch plate) to create something beautiful with it – with a completely different use.
Fridge magnets made from shards of blue & white porcelain plates. Clever, hey!
Rose and I were rather interested to find out how Michael’s seemingly contrasting interests came to be…
It seems Michael spend school holidays on family farms that resulted in an early introduction to nature, antiques, gardening and needlework. After leaving school, he enrolled at UCT where he studied one of his most passionate interests – Art History. While undertaking his post grad Michael started working for Stephan Welz & Sothebys, a prestigious fine and decorative arts auction house. Spending every day examining and cataloguing beautiful things, he learnt an enormous amount about the past 400 years of design and was snapped up as a research assistant to Deon Viljoen – a leading expert on 18th, 19th and 20th Cape Visual and Domestic History. Deon’s passion for early Cape furniture and Dutch trade pieces quickly seeded itself in Michael and this is easily recognisable in the work that Michael does today. In July 2010, Michael started a small design studio – Chandler House – and his work is largely associated with the above-mentioned interests.
Deon Viljoen approached Michael in 2010 to find an upholstering solution for these fabulous set of Cape Stinkwood Dining Chairs, circa 1810. Georgian English in design, but made in the Cape. By some happy accident, Michael found shards of discarded English blue and white porcelain and decided to embroider the different porcelain shards patterns on the chair seats – brilliant blue on off-white cotton.
The Kraak Mirror
Based on the rim pattern of a 17th Century Japanese Blue & White Ceramic Plate, the KraakMirror, above, is a 21st Century Cape take on the Regency Butler’s Mirror.
I absolutely love these beautiful bold red embroidered Coral scatter cushions Michael designed. Quite striking, hey? They’re available at Pezula Interiors. (I believe the talented Lanalou took this lovely photo)
The beautiful black & white Houdiniware is quite… well… hypnotizing and the quirky busts you see at the top are slip-casts of a phrenology head by Lorenzo Niles Fowler. Michael, viewing the heads as blank canvases started experimenting by painting different features on the various heads – the result is uniquely funky.
Based on a Robert Adam Neo-Classical design from the late 18th Century, the Madame-style mirror is made entirelyout of white beads. Whereas the Nyanga Mirror has a more simplistic tribal feel – “nyanga” being the Xhosa word for “moon” and ultimately the inspiration for this beaded piece.
The Cape Spittoon is Michael’s 21st Century interpretation of an old Cape Icon – although traditionally it would have been heavy brass, so unlike this dainty ceramic version.
Here again you find the Fowler’s Phrenology head but now used as a vase – imagine planting some herbs in it – that would be one funky head of hair!
I adore the stack of plaster books! It can be used as a decorative object and Michael designed a lamp base version of it as well.
Fabric man, David Bellamy kindly asked Michael to create an unique piece for an exhibition which aims to raise awareness and funds for the protection and survival of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Michael came up with this VOC-inspired piece, only replacing the traditional Ho-ho birds with a pair of Cape Parrots.
Michael says he has several things in the pipeline. He’s working on a revised smaller Cape Pendant Collection – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a jewellery range based on the key-plates found on old pieces of Cape Furniture (and it’s freaking beautiful). Lanalou also did a beautiful post about it here. Michael is also currently focusing on a range of Kitchen Linens – Aprons, Tea towels, Dishcloths and Napkins inspired by china patterns, 18th century etchings of the Cape and esoterica. So, keep your eyes peeled people and check out his website for more beautiful thingies.
So, what do you guys think? Which item appeals to you most? I have to say I would love to own one of those Cape Pendants, how about you? Give us your opinions please!