Last week I visited the home and studio of Three Potters and a Painter outside Stellenbosch, on my way to Franschhoek. I had first come across their ceramic work at Gåte restaurant, especially loving a black and white plate used in one of their dishes. They create works that bridge the gap between traditional design and contemporary innovation, with the aim of leaving their legacy in clay!
It was a busy morning at the home Studio, with a morning pottery class, whilst I was there. I met with Hestemari Ferreira and the Marketing and Social Media partner Llewellyn Bester. The other two potters are sister Mientjie and mother Annetjie. There is no ‘Painter’, ‘The Lord’ being referred to. Hestemari told me that she and her sister studied Theology at Stellenbosch University. Having grown up in a home in which Annetjie has been avidly pottering, the two daughters grew up with clay, and naturally became involved too. Hestemari used pottery as a therapeutic remedy for patients at a Hospice, where she was doing a Practical during her studies.
The three potters decided to create a ceramic business together, and examples of their work is spread throughout their large home. The coup for their business has been the Gåte contract, now followed by its former Executive Chef Rikku O’Donnchü sourcing next level ceramic items for his restaurant to open in November, and his current SŸN pop-ups. They love that Chef Rikku pushes them and their limits and gets involved in their creations, touching the clay, literally being very hands-on. All that they could reveal about the new dinnerware for Chef Rikku is that it contains many surprise elements.
Their first restaurant client was Overture, and they have created restaurant ware for Rust & Vrede, the La Motte Sanctuary, Blaauwklippen, and the Blue Crane Coffee Co. Florists Myüzu and Opus use their work too. An Italian Chef of a three star Michelin restaurant is setting up in Cape Town, and they had to send him samples of all their work to Italy, an exciting potential project. I loved the black plate with a gold trim on the rim, created for La Creuzette in France.
Not only do mother Annetjie and her daughters work on their creations in the Studio, but they have four artists in residence too. When they are invited to exhibit, they do so as a team.
Hestemari used the word ‘organic’ a few times, and I asked her to explain it in a ceramic context. She said that they do not throw any used clay away, and use no chemicals in their clay or glazes. They do not do slip casting.
I look forward to seeing how Three Potters and a Painter grows alongside the next level team of Chef Rikku. I asked Chef Rikku why he works with the ceramicists. This was his glowing testimonial to them:
’Three potters and a painter…
I actually got put into contact with Minkey and HestemaríFerreira close to the end of 2017 and after one discussion, I knew the sisters and I were going to create some magic things.
They have a real knack for being able to create exactly what I ask for, I dream up the concept and they make the dream a reality.
It’s so surreal when you see your dream come to life, they’re extremely talented young ladies.
I had an idea to make a functional Ashtray that you can eat out of 5 years ago but. Ever got round to having it made, it’s for the ‘Not an Ashtray’ dish that first featured on my menu in 2011, back then it was served in a silver actual ashtray (they weren’t used for Ashtrays before obviously 😉 ) so meeting the sisters gave them and I a chance to make it happen.
You’ll probably see it at other restaurants, so when you do, remember it was three potters and a painter who made them and I probably put a whole or two here and there 😉 .
We’re now working on some amazingly cool stuff, real art pieces, so conceptual and the perfect canvas for a plate of visually stunning food. They’re true creatives and I look forward to having a long relationship with this amazing brand.
Chef Rikku Ó’Donnchü’
’Three Potters and a Painter, Stellenbosch. www.threepottersandapainter Instagram: @threepottersandapainter
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein