Art in Clay celebrates Women at La Motte Museum

Until 16 November 2012, La Motte will take part in the second Franschhoek Art in Clay Festival – a celebration of how the most basic of materials – clay and water – can be transformed by skill and fire to create varied and interesting objects, from art-works to quality domestic pieces.

The La Motte Museum will host an exhibition of significant ceramics by South African Women potters. On show at this exhibition are ceramics from The Ceramic Studio, Linnware and various other women potters from the collections of the Iziko Museum in Cape Town and the Clay Museum in Durbanville.

Women are historically closely associated with pottery in Southern Africa and one of South Africa’s first production potteries, The Ceramic Studio, was the work of a remarkable group of women. They produced painted tiles, monumental ceramic sculptures, decorative vases and tableware at their Olifantsfontein studio situated between Pretoria and Johannesburg on premises that belonged to Sir Thomas Cullinan. The Ceramic Studio was founded in 1925 by former students of the Durban School of Art, Gladys Short and Marjorie Johnstone, who were later joined by Joan Methley, Audrey Frank and others. In 1942, Cullinan bought the pottery and the name was changed to Linnware. Linnware ceramics was made until about 1962.

Today, the work of these early women potters is continued by a large number of women who have chosen clay as their creative medium. As part of the Art in Clay Festival, the La Motte Museum will host an interesting talk by one such modern practising woman potter, Ella-Lou O’Meara. Ella-Lou has worked closely with La Motte in the design of Pierneef à La Motte’s much-talked-about chandeliers made from painted ceramics and is responsible for the beautiful bowls and plates sold in the La Motte Farm Shop on the estate.

In her talk, she will focus on the connection between painting, print-making and ceramics and how these art forms have developed through history, with reference to China, Italy, the rest of Europe and with special attention to the ceramics that came to the Cape and is today still shown in the Castle of Good Hope. She will also touch on the technical aspects and illustrate the magic of the process.

Franschhoek Art in Clay Festival
Date: 27 October – 16 November

Other participating galleries:

Artefact, Daniel Hugo Street;
The Ceramics Gallery, Dirkie Uys Street;
EBONY, Franschhoek Square;
The Gallery at Grande Provence;
IS Art, Le Quartier Français, Huguenot Street;

For more information, please contact David Walters, Tel: +27 (0)21 876 4304, E-mail:

Talk on the inspirations of Ella-Lou O’Meara with reference to the painting and engraving of ceramics:
Date: Thursday, 8 November
Time: 19:00 (Join us for a glass of wine from 18:30)
Venue: La Motte Museum
Admission: R50

Dinner: Join us for a special Cape Winelands Menu (1 course and a glass of wine) in Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant afterwards. (Cost R170, including talk). Please mention interest in dinner when making reservation.

For reservation and more information: Ingrid Maritz, Tel: +27 (0)21 876 8850 or E-mail:

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