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Details

First Name

Marita

Last Name

Nell

Nickname

Marita_ZA

My Ceramics

In the studio I like to do

Handbuilding, Throwing on the Wheel, Sculpting, Slip casting, Everything to do with Ceramics

Clay body

Earthenware, Stoneware, Porcelain

Clay Brand

local to South Africa

Kiln Type

Electric Kiln, Raku Kiln

Kiln Atmosphere

Oxidation Atmosphere

Temperature

1200-1250 degree Celsius

Glaze

My work is mostly unglazed full fired stoneware or porcelain. Working with the earth element has always formed part of my creative life in some form or another. In my Architectural practice clay in the form of fired bricks, unfired bricks in restoring historical buildings, pavers in hard landscaping, rammed earth and adobe techniques in alternative building methods and fertile earth and sand in soft landscaping projects.

 

Working with clay directly in my hands, forming and shaping it, being in charge of the firing methods and mark making, have afforded me a freedom of creativity on a level that I have never expected. My connection to nature is and has always been part of who I am, how I structure my life and the decisions I make around that. Combining the elements of nature, earth, fire, water, and air in an alchemical way then finds an expression in energy or spirit.

 

My work at the moment is about contrasting simplicity of from, with the unpredictability of the organic signature of obvara, smoke firing and raku. The possibilities are endless…

 

You can buy my work from

My webshop address is www.elements-ceramics.co.za. There you will find a bit about me, my process and well as my webshop with my work on it. I also sell an industrial nanotech sealer that was developed to protect Obvara and is applied after the firing process. It is a one of a kind permanent food safe sealer that can be used on all unglazed and glazed non- functional ware, and is the Rolls Royce as far as naotech sealers are concerned. See the FAQ for more info about this exiting product!

 

About Me

Introduction

Hi There, my name is Marita Nell. I am an architect by training and profession and at the moment practice both my architecture and ceramics in the beautiful Western Cape province in South Africa. At the moment I live in Stellenbosch, a picturesque student town in the heart of the cape Winelands about 40 minutes drive from Cape Town.

What I Love about Ceramics

At the moment I mainly work in Obvara on its own for combined with smoke firing techniques. One of the most attractive qualities of this type of no glaze firing for me, is the unpredictability of the outcome, In a society where control is becoming more and more sought after with its suffocating effect on creativity in general, it is so freeing to let nature take her course. Like a deep breath of fresh mountain air.

 

The Lady Obvara has many secrets, she is a chameleon. This technique has truly taught me to let go of expectations and embrace and accept that I am not in control. The dance between the yeast mixture and the hot clay always resulting in a unique and one of a kind signature. My journey with Obvara has been testing at times, but always interesting.

How I started with ceramics

Working with the earth element has always formed part of my creative life in some form or another. In my Architectural practice clay in the form of fired bricks, unfired bricks in restoring historical buildings, pavers in hard landscaping, rammed earth and adobe techniques in alternative building methods and fertile earth and sand in soft landscaping projects.

What inspires me

Visual is my first language. Engaging in using nature in my ceramics and a variety of print making techniques like cyanotypes and eco-printing, I find that working with nature in this way has the same effect on me that traveling has. It opens up my horizons and re-defines my place in this World and the Universe. I have always though that I noticed the natural world, the exquisite colours, textures and details of plants. But this art practice changes my perspective every time I do a print, and I realise how little I noticed before. In this process, I find the connection between my own energy and the energy of nature, and the two somehow interacts in a non –intellectual way to express itself in the print. Art that carries the elemental signature of the maker and the place where is was made.

 

What I'm working on at the moment

Obvara originated in the Baltic countries or Eastern Europe in the 12th century, but it somehow feels very African to me. Maybe because obava sealed pots where utilized to hold food, maybe because the  obvara techniques speaks of ancient cultures. The tactile feel of the raw fully fired earth, the cool unglazed surface of a tumbler in your hands is strangely familiar on an unnamed cellular level.

 

My Artist Statement

Working with clay directly in my hands, forming and shaping it, being in charge of the firing methods and mark making, have afforded me a freedom of creativity on a level that I have never expected. My connection to nature is and has always been part of who I am, how I structure my life and the decisions I make around that. Combining the elements of nature, earth, fire, water, and air in an alchemical way then finds an expression in energy or spirit.

My work at the moment is about contrasting simplicity of from, with the unpredictability of the organic signature of obvara, smoke firing and raku. The possibilities are endless…

 

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