Amor Coetzee is not only the hand behind fragile pieces of ceramic and illustrations and the eye behind a lens, but also the brain behind the brand Dayfeels – an amalgamation of her work where she experiments with textures, abstract shapes and patterns. DECO took a moment to dive into Coetzee’s process.
Growing up in the small town of Gonubie, Eastern Cape and later moving to Cape Town her work has transcended into reflective pieces of her imagination and experiences. Instinctively drawn to calm yet powerful aesthetics this juxtaposition translates into the diversity of her artworks.
Could you tell us more about how you got into ceramics?
I have been drawing since I can remember – when I was a child, it was the only thing that helped me to sleep. I would sit for hours creating stories about people I knew and characters I had invented. Unfortunately, as time went by and the more career orientated I became, the more I lost touch with that side of me. This is what sparked my desire to create Dayfeels.
Moulding herself through her art works, Amor is inspired by the minuscule everyday moments that some might overlook, a conversation with a friend, a walk along the seaside or a book she has read.
Trying to get out of my 9-5 and back into drawing and creating, I took up ceramics and clay sculpting. I completely fell in love with the craft of sculpting, moulding and glazing clay and the satisfaction of seeing it transform into something special once it came out of the kiln. I never dreamed of turning it into career! Working as a creative entrepreneur full time is a dream come true.
What are the challenges you face as a South African artist?
I think the greatest challenge is the problem of being both artist and businessperson – but not because an artist is not capable of doing business. They certainly are. As a creative person you have to work deeply and creatively and undefended to keep your work to a certain level. It is a very difficult and a rather magical process. The problem is that you cannot be in an undefended state when you do business. Business requires a thick skin and a strong heart. It is quite a challenge to go from one to the other but it is very necessary for you to make a living as a full- time artist in South Africa.
What inspires you every morning?
A tricky one, because I draw inspiration from so many things. A small gesture, a conversation with a friend, a seaside walk or a book I’ve read. The truth is on most days, I am just showing up to do my job. Just like any job, it can sometimes be quite a mulish process of dragging your feet to create something. On some magical days (which do not happen very often) I brush up against that beautiful thing, something unexplainable, a thing I’m sure a lot of people who have ever decided to make something have experienced. This wonderful feeling that inspires me to create freely without any fear or stubbornness. Those days keep me going…
Tell us about the process in creating a ceramic piece or collection.
Creating a ceramic piece is a messy and fragile business. Starting off with a sketch/idea of what I would like the final piece to look like, it almost always turns out to be something completely different. This part of the process is still very important because this is where I regurgitate all of my ideas onto paper instead of blindly starting to make the physical object.
I then choose my clay body and start moulding and sculpting each piece by hand. For some, I use moulds and others I make from scratch using hand building techniques. I have an incredible lady, Silvia who helps me under my guidance. I call her my Super Mama. With her help, we sometimes produce up to 20 pieces per day. The pieces then go through a process of drying, sanding and bisque firing in the kiln. My favourite phase is next – glazing each piece one by one by hand. It is calmest phase of the process, where I get to breathe. Then it’s the last phase of glaze firing, which is always nerve-wracking because glazes have a mind of their own and often change the piece completely. Finally, quality check for cracks/chips etc.
For more information make sure you follow Amor Coetzee on Instagram and visit the beautiful Dayfeels website to shop.
She is truly unique in her ways, naturally finding charm in the mundane movements of life, taking elements from the messy, the beautiful and turning it into a touch of whimsy.
Let us know who you are inspired by Tweeting us on @Elle_Deco