Andile's ceramics a spiritual journey

Andile Dyalvane works wonders with clay.
Andile Dyalvane works wonders with clay.
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Andile Dyalvane, the exceptional ceramic artist, wowed audiences in Johannesburg this week with his dexterity and workmanship at his first Clay Adventures Master Class Series at Victoria Yards in Bez Valley, Joburg.

He staged a dramatic ritual and burned herb impepho to call on the spirits of the ancestors as he commenced with the lecture. Dyalvane makes it clear that it's not just about making pots, vases and bowls, but it's a spiritual process with a deeper meaning.

He uses clay as a medium to tell stories and the orange, blue and yellow he licks the earthy toned bowls with gives them the distinctive signature that has seen him exhibiting in SA and exporting his creations to the US, Denmark, France and Taiwan. His work is a permanent feature at the Iziko National Museum in Cape Town, at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum of Art in Port Elizabeth and at Yingge Ceramic Museum in Taipei.

He has the prestigious Southern Guild Design Foundation Designer of the Year, Visi Designer of the Year 09, and Decorex 08 Gold awards to his credit.

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"It's an honour that people recognise the passion, the uniqueness of this work and the story told, and they want to share [it]... For me, that is an honour, to just be myself and then someone wants to share and experience what you do through your craft," he says.

What he makes is an aesthetically pleasing cross between a striking painting and a decorative artefact that is an interior designer's dream. Dyalvane, who has secured his place as the foremost ceramicist in the country, says he references the familiarity of the landscape of his Qoboqobo, Keiskammma home near East London in Eastern Cape.

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"I come from that era where we used to sit around the fire and be told stories. What I do with these vessels is to tell the stories from my childhood and what I'm experiencing currently. They reflect where I am and what I see. As this is a spiritual connection, I usually like to be allowed to have a free spirit.

"The landscape in the Eastern Cape is full of beautiful flowers, the greens, the terracotta soil, the red soil, the black soil. We have the beads and they are all referenced. And then in the city you see different textures and the fashion."

Dyalvane is creative director at his Imiso ceramic studio in The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town and has been in the game for almost 20 years using clay as a medium.

On Wednesday, he shared his journey and inspired clay enthusiasts to unleash their inner creativity as he took them step by step, from sketching of an idea to a polished and shining the finished product.

"This is my life. If you do what you love, your energy is in the right position and you can do more."

Dyalvane takes the classes to Port Elizabeth on November 15, Cape Town on February 27 next year, with the final series in Durban on April 3.

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