Question & Answer August 2014, @Highligh My Day
How do you chose your animals? It is a combination of my favourite animals and ones that technically work best with the products and also that other people like as well
What do you like about working with clay ? I like its earthiness and the transformation it goes through from raw clay to a final-glazed piece
Could you describe in a few words the production process of your products - from the idea to the production? I have the idea, something that excites me and makes me feel happy inside and then I sculpt the original in clay. I work using the slip-casting technique, which involves liquid clay and plaster of paris moulds. I used to make my own moulds but now I send the originals to a mould-maker who does this for me. When I have the mould I do a few test castings to make sure its all working properly and then I send it back to the mould maker to make a master mould – which is actually a mould of the mould. Once I have this master mould, he makes me production moulds to use in the studio. It takes 3-4 weeks for one item to go through the whole manufacturing process – casting, drying, fettling, bisque-firing, glazing and glaze-firing.
Who is helping you producing your Xoologee products ? The manual labour side of my production is done at a cape town-based studio. They employ about 15 people, almost all of whom are involved in the manufacturing of my products. I work closely with them ironing out problems and assisting where needed.
Is your work influenced by the culture and heritage of South Africa and if yes how ? More by the animals.
If you had to describe Cape Town in three words - which words would you chose ? home, raining, beautiful
Your vision about South Africa? Its easy here to get a bit overwhelmed by the bad news – corrupt politicians, violence etc., but every day I meet people of all races and religions who are just so lovely and helpful and warm my heart. I have every faith that as a country we are getting better all the time and I feel tremendously positive about our future.
Your favourite spot in South Africa? A little corner of Table Mountain called Deer Park, where I walk my dog regularly – full of trees and streams.
Your favourite dish? sushi
Any new projects ? Yes! I’m busy making some additions to the human-inspired side of xoologee – vases.
What are you reading currently? A trashy chick-lit novel – I can’t even remember what its called but its entertaining
What music are you listening to currently? The clash