Deryn king the female glaze
Deryn King, founder of the The Female Glaze, Tab Studios, Bo Kaap. Image: Lauren Brits

ELLE DECO chats to Deryn King of The Female Glaze, a feminist ceramicist that creates the female form out of clay. King explains that, “It’s partly about education: women should know more about their own bodies, but it’s also just about making beautiful things.”

Tell us a little about you and your background. How did you get into ceramics?

I’ve always been creative, but in the fields of fashion and writing. I studied Print Media Production at the University of Cape Town and when everything moved online, so did I! I love digital, because of it’s pace and ever changing nature, but what I love about ceramics is that it’s about creating something tangible, using your hands and it takes time. I started a ceramics class with a friend last year and that was it for me. I’ve been a feminist since I first heard the word and looked it up. I’ve no idea why there are people who are afraid to identify as “a person who believes in equal rights for all genders”. It is a belief I hope I live up to every day.

Ceramics seems like an unusual way to promote feminism, but it seems to work for Female Glaze. Why is this so important to you?

A lot of women of my generation seem to think that feminism’s job is done, because women have access to the workplace, and we can vote and so on. But these rights were incredibly recently won, and the fight for equality isn’t over until women are safe in the streets, safe from sexual harassment and earning equal pay for equal work – to name just a few. When an idea is really important, people put it on banners and T-shirts, but art has always been a way of progressing ideas in society – so why not express it via a bowl?

Deryn King, founder of the The Female Glaze, Tab Studios, Bo Kaap. Image: Lauren Brits
Take us through your creation process…

I start by building the shape out of clay. It’s particularly important to give the breasts their natural shape (we’re not making Barbie dolls, here); then we fire it, sand it down, glaze it and it’s done. It takes about 4 weeks to finish a custom piece.

How do you keep things fresh and exciting for yourself? Where do you find inspiration?

My day job is in fashion, so the answer, however cliché, is Instagram. There are so many artists out there and they are doing such interesting things in all different forms: embroidery, crochet, clay. – you name it. I’m also constantly getting new inspiration through feedback from friends and followers. And obviously I find inspiration in women, in all their different and powerful forms.

What can we expect next from the brand? Will you be sticking to ceramics or experimenting with other materials and media?

It’s all about ceramics for now, I am obsessed with making things out of clay. But my partner’s mom has been crocheting vulva (yes really!), “boobie scarves” and a uterus you can warm up in the microwave for that time of the month – these are all available to purchase through us. I’d love to do a range of T-shirts too and I’m keen on collaborations with like-minded brands. Currently there’s a serving-ware range in the works for Raptor Room, and we are working on ceramic takeaway mugs to make it easier to ditch the plastic. We’re passionate about saving the environment as well as progressing animal rights. A percentage of profits goes to a new cause every month: an animal shelter, women’s shelter or any reputable organisation with a cause we believe in.

To place an order, contact The Female Glaze via their Instagram page.

For more local female ceramicists doing exciting things, read about Abongile Ntsane from Udaka Tribe here.