|Digby Hoets studio.|
I was asked by the editor of Ceramics Art and perception to review the recent exhibition of two of South Africa’s Master Potters, Digby Hoets & Andrew Walford. Two old Masters; a 3 Day exhibition was a treat to those that dared to venture out during the cloudy and wet weekend on the Highveld.
Idyllically displayed pots of Walford and Hoets.
Mighty storms hit Johannesburg – a downpour that lasted 3-4 hours. Even my own flat, on the first floor, was under water. The entire kitchen, lounge, studio and bedroom were three centimeters and in certain places, four centimeters under water (parquet flooring). A blockage in the drain in the catchment area caused the flooding. Luckily the air is dry, very dry, and by the end of the weekend everything was back to normal – no serious damage was done, I could have been electrocuted. Numerous books, magazines, some of my curtains and the flooring in places were damaged. It was a major operation to undo the blockage, sweep out the water, open all the doors and windows to dry out everything, all in the wet and in the dark. All my art books and magazines were piled in layers on the studio floor – only the books at the bottom of the layers were damaged. Five diligent flat helpers ensured an unimaginable swift and painless cleanup operation.
On Sunday I made my way to the Digby studio in Midrand, venue for the exhibition. Hoets moved here five years ago and what a treat. The surroundings, the style of the place, and the warmth of the studio, provided a perfect setting for the work of two of South Africa’s master potters. Their studios, Andrew’s idyllic spot featured previously on this blog (my workshop in 2009), must rate as the most fabulous potter havens in the country.
Digby’s studio must be an absolute treat for his students. If I had to be an aspiring potter, I most definitely would choose this master potter, with his studio and dedication, to introduce me to the world of clay. Being able to learn the craft of pottery in this environment is an absolute luxury. Don’t get me wrong; his place is the perfect space to escape to, whenever one needs to indulge in the craft of pottery. Just to behold it, in all its splendour, is a treat – to indulge in the 'handmade' in this idyllic spot must be heaven from a wannabe potter’s perspective.
Not since my trip to Gladstone Potteries, Wedgwood and Spode in 1984, did I experience anything quite like this. Authenticity is what it is all about, and his place and pottery space has it and says it all – as close to nature and the heart of the city as you can possibly get. And what is more important, is that it is manifested in his work, gigantic pots, of architectonic proportions, lots of it, clinging to the landscape and the studio as livestock to a kraal and homestead. Here are a few images, the best of which will hopefully compliment the text in my review of their latest work to feature in the magazine, Ceramics Art and Perception. This is the most professional publication available, an academic stance on ceramics, in all forms, shapes and surface development options, including techniques and methods worldwide.