Zulu-lulu Ceramics, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?Dlamini-figurines from Zulu-lulu have been given out at award ceremonies for South African Airways, ABSA Bank, Thubelisha Homes, Mortimer Harvey, Nedcare, The Business Trust and Avis.
Together with a team of talented local artists, Trayci Tompkins from Zulu-lulu creates a range of unique functional and decorative clay products. On the Zulu-lulu website, Tompkins says that she feels inspired by South Africa’s colourful and diverse cultures. 'I am passionate about sharing my skills and talents with others who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to work as full time artists,' she explains.
Tim Dlamini is one of the studio’s success stories. He (with help from Tompkins) created the small clay sculptures now known as ‘Dlaminis’. These expressive characters enact a range of motions that mimic the way the women of South Africa carry books, baskets of fruit, water, wood or other things on their heads. The figures have become so popular as corporate gifts and private collectors items that he now makes them together with seven of his colleagues to keep up with the demand.
Tompkins has more than 15 years of experience in the slow art of 'hand-building' clay pots. Together with Dlamini and the rest of her team she uses a technique known as raku-firing. This traditionally Japanese form of pottery uses low baking temperatures and random firing, which gives all products a signature glaze and a distinctive crackle effect that is completely different from pots thrown on a traditional potter’s wheel.
Along with the Dlamini figures that helped turn Zulu-lulu into a thriving business, the Zulu-lulu artists love to create usable kitchenware and other quirky household items that can be made to order. They currently produce a range of over 80 products. These include cheese boards, dip bowls, jugs, jars, tapas bowls and wine coolers; the only limits are the ones imposed by their imaginations.
Tompkins also creates widely sought-after hand-coiled vessels and one-off sculptures under her own name.
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Tel: +27 (0)83 6273491