Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Summer recess; memorable time spent at ceramist Hylton Nel

Plate Hylton Nel, 31 October 2002, Collection Eugene Hon.

We all need a welcome break. For South Africans it is our summer recess, the end of the finanical year, the intake for new recruits as academics, a time to see your family and to celebrate the festive season - all a bit too much. There is never enough time to spend valuable time with the family and to rest and rejuvenate for the New Year. I spent some valuable time with Hylton Nel, the most accomplished South African Ceramist. He lives in Calitzdorp on the "wesoewer" of the Nel River. Above and below are some of his unique plates for which he has become world renowned. He was my external examiner for my Masters Degree at UCT. His agent is Michael Stevenson based in Cape Town. Some sites to visit and read more about him and his work is Artthrop and David Krut Publishing (only book available on Hylton Nel, Author: Michael Stevenson, English, Monograph, Soft cover, 127 Pages, 28x28cm, ISBN 0 620 31546 6, Price: (ZA) R 295.00. A catalogue of his 2001 Retrospective is available at Clarkes Book shop; see details below.

A variety of plates by ceramist Helton Nel. Images taken from the Catalogue (Copy available at Clarkes Bookshop Cape Town), his retrospective exhibition held at King George Gallery Port Elizabeth in 2001. Compiled by Melanie Hillebrand.

House Nel, on the 'wesoewer' of the Nel River in Calitzdorp, on Route 62 to Cape Town.

Front stoep of House Nel.

View from the Stoep of his studio (on the left) and the Nel river.

View of the Mountain. Taken from the stoep.

Drawing studio in House Nel.

A close-up of one of the more special flowers in the garden.

Indian Miniature Detail.
I just love Indian miniatures, maybe it is because of my passion for drawing. What follows are a few select images, taken out of Hylton Nel's Collection of fine art books. I love visiting him, he always shares his knowledge and is quick to refer one to an article, image and/or story in a book depending on the course of the discussion. His extensive library, provides updated knowledge about a variety of subjects, inspirational material for a ceramist living in a remote part of the country. He has gained extensive knowledge of Chinese Ceramics, having taught the History of Ceramics at the Port Elizabeth Technikon for many years. Due to his knowledge and passion for Chinese Art, he has a discerning eye, which comes in very handy when frequenting local second-hand and antique shops. He therefore has a fine collection of ceramics, jade and furniture.

Another Indian Miniature, an inspirational image.

Indian Miniature, one of many images, taken from one of Hylton Nel's extensive collection of books. The shape and styling of the lips is of particular interest to me and could be an inspiration for a work in the future.

A fine lunch at Rosendal, country retreat of Daniel Van Der Merwe, pit stop on the way back from Cape Town. I always take the scenic routes to stimulate the mind and to avoid traffic fines.

Landscape at Rosendal. Eastern Freestate, South Africa.
The image was taken during a sunset walk after the late lunch photographed above.


Kitty Shepherd said...

Great photographs of Hylton Nels house, I love his work and it is great to see his working environment. Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

Great to see a new post, as always, interesting and stimulating, with some wonderful images. Good to have you back Eugene.

Anonymous said...

hi eugene, i don't see how you willed yourself to leave. it looks like a veritable paradise. beautiful country, beautiful house wow!, surrounded by art and the food looks yummy too.

Unknown said...

How amazing, I have very fond memories of my visit with Hylton when he still lived in Bethulie about 10 years ago. My husband and I purchased four of his plates. I treasure them dearly. They are with us here in Hong Kong but will shortly travel with us to Geneve, Switzerland on our next move in three months time.