/ PAST Exhibitions
Potter of the Month: May 2019
Alex ShabalalaAlex Shabalala was the Association of Arts Pretoria & Ceramics SA’s potter of the month in May 2019.
Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Alex Shabalala now works at a studio in Fourways, Johannesburg. His work is “delicate and fun”. Alex says he has always been tactile. As a child he made toys out of waste materials. He also often used to play with clay.
In October 2008, he joined Ardmore Ceramic studio, where he strove to translate print-making techniques into his clay painting and developed a unique graphic style. In 2010, Alex was singled out to work extensively on designing a limited-edition range of dinnerware as part of Ardmore’s new venture, the Ardmore Design Collection. The same year his design of African wildlife and flora was selected for the commemorative Relais & Chateaux Plate.
“In 2013 I came to Johannesburg with the hope of fulfilling my ambition as an artist. Since I arrived here I had the opportunity to work with Bronwen Findlay running several mosaics projects. Currently I own a ceramic art studio in Fourways Riverside View,” the artist says.
He works with earthenware clay and uses underglaze paint - which is waterbased - and then covers this with a transparent glaze before firing it in a kiln at between 1 000 and 1 100 degrees Celsius. Because the glaze is subsequently covering it, such decoration is completely durable, and it also allows the production of pottery with a surface that has a uniform sheen.
The artist creates with three themes: Divine, Flora and Butterfly. The Divine design is inspired by South African wildlife (white background), the Flora design by South African flowers (black background) and the Butterfly in a full design. His creations are not only visually gripping, but can also be put to practical use.