Elle Deco SA
Photograph by Kristina Stojilkovic

Our previous #WinterIssue rekindles memories of the exquisite artwork of award-winning ceramic designer, Chuma Maweni. This kind-hearted artist  spent the early days of his career educating women in rural Transkei on ceramic techniques. We visited his studio in Constantia, where he shared stories from his childhood, and the happenings of his work space. 

From the muddy river banks of the Transkei, playing with clay making bulls and cows, to being a fully-qualified Ceramic Designer, Chuma’s career has come a long way. “Growing up, art was not something that was taken seriously. It was always viewed as a hobby not a career. So having the self-confidence and belief in your talent becomes a challenge.”

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From his “eclectic, ordered, chaos” – the huge shared studio space, gallery and outreach centre at Art in the Forest, where he is also Studio Manager – Chuma produces is own distinctive brand of ceramics. “My pieces serve as decorative and functional art, so a few bowls can be found in the kitchen beneath a collection of wall hangings on display.”

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There is no doubt that Chuma is inspired by his natural surroundings. “I am lucky enough to work in a studio overlooking the Cape vineyards. The tranquil forest is a source of great inspiration and reminds me of the Transkei where I grew up. We also host outreach classes here for disadvantaged children around Cape Town as part of our Light from Africa Foundation programs and that’s pleasing to see and be part of. There’s nothing I would change.

Compiled by Lucie Bartlett

Photographs by Kristina Stojilkovic

Fancy taking a pottery class?

This year, Art in the Forest offers pottery classes conducted by expert potter Anthony Shapiro. On Saturdays, classes are held by ceramic artist Amelia Jacobs. Take a look at the schedule:

Tuesday: 9:30am to 12:30pm

Wednesday: 9:30am-12:30pm (to be confirmed)

Thursday: 9:30am to 12:30pm

Saturday : 12 noon-3pm

Classes are R1000 per month including clay (not porcelain), basic glazes, firing and tuition.

Find Art in the Forest on Rhodes Drive, Constantia Nek, Constantia, Cape Town, 7806

For more information visit artintheforest.com

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Elle Deco SAZeenat, a digital intern at ELLE Decoration, is a creative at heart with a passion for weddings, fashion and makeup. She adores blissful moments of solitude spent indulging in a warm cup of Rooibos tea, and red velvet cupcakes.