Wood-firing potters Paul de Jongh and Nina Shand live and work in McGregor, a quaint village in the Western Cape, South Africa. At our pottery studio and showroom, we produce high temperature, wood-fired and salt-glazed stoneware and porcelain. We also make wood-fired terracotta, electric-fired porcelain domestic ware as well as sculptural and decorative raku pieces.
We make bespoke dinnerware for private clients and restaurants and undertake commissions.
We are happy to demonstrate our craft and our working pottery is open to view 7 days a week. Pots may be purchased directly from our showroom. Visitors are welcome to browse and enjoy the environment. Wood-firing workshops are given by arrangement, using any of our 5 wood-fired kilns, to people wanting to experience this ancient and time-honoured process.
We have been making pots together since 1996 and relocated from Johannesburg to McGregor that year. We have lived here ever since, on the “road to nowhere”. Paul has a formal ceramics background, including a diploma from the Wits Tech in Ceramic Design and a 3-year apprenticeship with internationally acclaimed gallerist and ceramic teacher Kim Sacks. Nina has a more academic background with an MA degree in Industrial Sociology from Wits University. She also conducts research from time to time.
Our inspiration comes largely from the creative process itself, as well as being faced with the dual challenge of making functional ware for everyday use with an aesthetic dimension. The pots we make are based on historical precedent in the Anglo-Oriental, wood-firing tradition with a contemporary dimension. They are meant for use, even if they are only occasionally used for such. We fire our work with wood because of an aesthetic choice. It is a huge investment in time and energy but for us this is justified by the end result – the fire flows around the pieces facilitating often flawed things of beauty. It is sometimes this flaw, scar or unintended mark that makes an item fascinating and unique. For us, the how and the why of pot-making are equally important. The daily rhythms of our lives are intimately connected to our pot-making, meaning that there is no artificial separation between our work and our lives. We are able to have lunch with each other and watch our children grow. We are never at meetings, stuck in the traffic or home late from work.
We find living in the country and selling our work direct from our studio brings many challenges and is not always the idealic, stress-free lifestyle our visitors romaticise it to be.