Monday, August 19, 2013


Paul de Jongh


Over the last twenty years – Paul de Jongh has become well-known as a wood-fire potter working from his beautiful workshop/home in McGregor in the Western Cape.  It is not always easy to make one’s way to such a remote place, so we have decided to facilitate some “Raku” meetings in Johannesburg.  There will be a number of formats to these sessions – people are welcome to hire Paul – to fire a kiln-load of their individual pieces – or alternatively – to take part in a communal firing process with other passionate makers....


This firing technique is rooted in a traditional practice in Japan where guests at social gatherings fired their own tea-bowls and then drank tea out of them. The technique involves pulling the red-hot pots from the kiln and placing them in sawdust, thereby crazing the glaze and carbonizing the cracks. It is an inspiration and refreshment to even the most hardened potter, bringing one right down to basics. Such simple beauty will fill you with the same childish pleasure you felt when you held a piece of pottery you made yourself for the first time.

These workshops and firing sessions - will give an opportunity to pottery students and as well as accomplished “makers” to fire their pots using this ancient living tradition. It is hoped that Paul’s passion and expertise – in this sphere, will inspire you to branch out into this often forgotten and neglected ceramic practice.

People who have never seen or experienced this process are also welcome to come and see what the whole process and philosophy is all about and thus hopefully lay a foundation for clay exploration in the future.  There will be many discussions pertaining to the different aspects of the Raku Process, as well as a discussion on the historical aspects of this ancient technique.
Should you be a complete novice – and wish to make some tea-bowls yourself – prior to the firing – that is also possible – there are two making session on the programme.

Raku Workshops
27 – 31 August 2013
Kim Sacks School of Ceramics
Kim Sacks Gallery

 Paul de Jongh

Programme for 27 – 31 August 2013

Tuesday morning 27 August: 9.30 – 12.30pm
A three hour participatory workshop for beginners and advanced students – a discussion – and a making session of pieces to be fired in the kiln on Saturday the 31st of August at the Gallery.
Price for this session plus the firing of the pots made (maximum of 2) in the communal kiln R350

This making session will take place at the Kim Sacks School of Ceramics, Bellevue. (see website: ) You can also read more about Paul from his website:

Wednesday morning 28 August: 9.30 – 12.30pm
It will be possible to hire Paul to fire your pots – if you have more than 2 teabowls and wish him to fire them with you. (These firings can also be shared among fewer people – that is also possible.) This will take place at the Kim Sacks School of Ceramics in Bellevue.

Thursday morning 29 August: 9.30 – 12.30pm
A three hour participatory workshop for beginners and advanced students – a discussion – and a making session of pieces to be fired in the kiln on Saturday the 31st of August at the Gallery .

Thursday afternoon 29 August: 2.00 – 5.00
It will be possible to hire Paul to fire your pots – if you have more than 2 teabowls and wish him to fire them with you. (These firings can also bshared among fewer people – that is also possible.) This will take place in Bellevue.

Friday Morning 30 August 9.30 – 12.30
Saturday morning 31 August: 9.30 – 12.30
Saturday afternoon 31 August: 2.00 – 5.00pm

Communal firing (limited places available – at the Gallery). You will need to bring with you two pots of more-or-less tea bowl size, of even thickness and biscuit fired, for the communal firings. Alternately, Paul will have already-bisqued tea bowls available ready to glaze and fire. There will be unglazed tea-bowls for sale – should you wish to try your hand at the process.  The prices of these bowls – will depend on their sizes.

Price for Communal firings R300  per person – per session. (if you bring your own two tea-bowls......(Maximum of 10 people)  R200 if you buy tea-bowls from Paul.    Price for firing the kiln either alone – or with a friend – R1 500

Should you have any questions – or thoughts – that you would like to share – with regard to these workshops – feel free to contact Kim @ (011) 726-6420 e-mail: Due to the limited number of places available,bookings and payment to be made in advance through Kim Sacks.

Monday, June 24, 2013







Registration now happening
For classes that start in

July-August-September 2013
depending on what you are
 interested in learning....

Beginner and Master
 master classes in:

Sculpture decorating and glazing techniques

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I realize that it has been absolutely ages since I posted anything on my school blog.  Maybe the strongest reason being, is that in the last year and a half - I have been working on my own ceramic work - and that has taken a huge chunk of my time.... of which there always seems to be a shortage...... and then for a short period - I had trouble getting into my blog..... which exasperated  me hugely - and sometimes - created a situation where I just avoided dealing with it...... so time passes......

 What is lovely is that the pinch pot vessels that I have been working on for the last 2 years - are collecting in their eloquent forms - on all the surfaces in my workshop - which says that I have been occupied..... and hence my silence on this front....... but it seems like there is a shift - and hence these reflections.......

I have also decided that it would be lovely to re-open this conversation - and take more images...... images of the intense conversations that happen in my Bellevue/Yeoville space twice a week - Tuesday and Thursday mornings - when a group of like minded people get together and work with clay..... listen to haunting music - and enjoy the conversation or the silence - that this "practice" brings to our space.

Fine - satin-smooth porcelain - or shining seductive "charcoal" clay - which dances and moves - to one's touch - seductive and magical..... awakening almost child-like responses from all of us - big and small alike..... rough terra-cotta clay - which invites another kind of touch - figures of angels emerging - like magic from an amorphous piece of moist clay.....  wondering - how did that just manifest?   so quickly ..... and then one realizes - yet once again....

the clay dances - when our spirits are let out to play - and oh how wonderful.... we sometimes make the mistake of forgetting what lies dormant - until we take ourselves to that sacred place - once or twice a week..... where our "other-lives" can't quite get to us....... and we are allowed to close our eyes - and just feel....... that is what happened this morning..... and it was great.... something one remembers and savers...... encapsulated.... until it happens again......

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A two-week break....

Having just had a two week break from teaching, sitting up in my little "sanctuary" - on my koppie - watching the birds and the light changing..... making pinch-pots, and talking quietly to myself...... It's amazing - after 43 years of working with clay - the profound pleasure that I am getting from sitting quietly - listening to my fire crackling wildly in the grate - and just being.... letting all thoughts flow freely - that is the what happens to me, when I give myself time, Clay has for me, the capacity to help me move into a space of meditation......... what a huge pleasure......

and now - after two weeks away from Yeoville - I find the thought of re-connecting to the people I work with there, so exciting.   Having had time to reflect, and coming forward, with a sense of fresh inspiration, days that are growing longer..... and anticipating what the clay is going to offer us in the next few weeks, before the Spring finally arrives.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A lovely morning - spent with special people.....

Yesterday morning at the workshop was so special.  It seemed to fly by like something on the wings of a huge bird..... must have been because we were enjoying ourselves so much.  A flurry in the air.... people going traveling - preparing to take pieces that they have made across the world to loved ones...... Discussing the pieces that came out of a glaze firing - the "Gifts that the Kiln gives us each week..." - I love that - one just never knows what is going to present itself... and once the kiln is opened - the discussions about techniques and how surfaces were dreamed up and manifested - is always a source of huge discussion....... Each maker exploring the endless possibility for growth and discovery - the clay is the means and our creative imaginations the things that move us to new horizons.........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This week has been lovely..... After a break of 3 months - we started working at the workshop in Yeoville on Tuesday - lots of happy faces - and talking - re-connecting with fellow- students
and people who have become close friends....

I feel so privileged to be part of this community of Creative Spirits.

People finding space - conversations - and working with clay -
in such amazingly diverse ways - exploring their creative dreams
giving shape to their vessels - embellishing - burnishing -
making objects that will outlive us by a thousand years.... whew that's quite a thought.

A number of new students - coming to find their way.

Someone who has done sculpture - but now wants to work on the wheel and make fine vessels....

Another - who worked with Clay as a child - and wanted to take it further....

A lovely woman from Kansas - who taught art to children - and wants to explore it as an adult
and not from the teaching perspective.

Planning a sawdust firing...... thinking of all the different woods we can use....

and this is the beginning of our new year..... Been in Yeoville for 25 years in this
beautiful house - full of old African vessels - Contemporary Sculptures - and so much more.....

Sitting drinking tea with the new students - making pinch-pots - and reflecting on the quality of what exists in this environment - still amazes me - in this big - bustling city - to find
such quietness and peace....


Jabu Nala - who is South Africa's most prominent traditional potter - Daughter of Nesta Nala is interested in coming to teach Traditional Zulu Pot making....

If anyone is interested in this - please contact us - as a small group - or individually.... it is all possible - She has been invited as the Guest Potter at the Santa Fe - International Craft Market - in July... so that is something exciting to look forward to ...... really knows her oeuvre.... to watch her work - is very inspiring indeed...... and the shining black vessels - once they are finished...
Are just Beautiful!

Thursday, January 27, 2011



I have been thinking how I would like to start the new year -
Clay-Wise - and the idea of a Pinch-Pot-Dialogue
came to mind.... the title - evokes a like minded group of people
who get together on a regular basis - to explore the basics
and the not so basics of working with the most wonderful of mediums

I have recently been exploring the Pinch Pot.... working with different
kinds of clay - adding all sorts of "aggregates" to the clay -to get
varied and different results from the clay.

EarthernWare - Porcelain - Charcoal - and StoneWare Clays....

I am having enormous enjoyment from this pursuit...

It has become a Meditation in Clay for me ... and I am sure there are many people
out there - who could possibly feel inclined to join a group -

Making Pinch Pots - for the first few months of this Year.

If you don't think I have lost the Pot - or the Vessel completely
Then please contact me and lets talk about what you feel inclined to explore -
withing these Words....