Founded by award-winning designer Andile Dyalvane, Imiso Ceramics produces pieces largely inspired by African tradition, culture and landscape. From his gallery, office and studio at Woodstock’s buzzing Old Biscuit Mill, he designs and manufactures internationally sought-after ceramics.
Ceramics have taken new shape and form and we’re seeing more ceramics on the design scene than ever before. What separates your designs from other ceramicists’?
My point of reference – tradition, culture and the re-interpretations of these. Also, exploring clay in different environments creates new design expressions for me.
Can you tell us a bit about your company, Imiso?
Imiso Ceramics started with five founders, each of whom had backgrounds in various disciplines. We started operating at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock in 2007. ‘Imiso’ is derived from isiXhosa, meaning ‘For our tomorrows’ – we believe the positive change we make today creates a better platform for generations to follow.
You’re right in the centre of trendy Woodstock. Describe your workspace…
It’s a little nook of a ceramic studio, but it’s all we need. Two assistants and myself drive the production for the gallery, exhibition and commission collections – all very compact and functional.
What about living and working in Cape Town inspires you most?
When we started in 2006 we had slight trepidation about the near derelict, industrial area of Woodstock. It was a risk, but definitely one worth taking. Because we use found objects in most of our designs, Woodstock is our biggest resource. We’re witnessing first hand the bustle and evolution of the area. Even the discussions around its gentrification are engaging.
What do you think the future of design in South Africa holds?
We’re setting design standards and creating innovative projects that give rise to potentially larger scale collaborative ventures. The Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is under way at the Victoria & Alfred’s Waterfront Silos, also the location of the new creative hub called the Watershed. What is of particular interest to me, is how design is relevant in an African context – how simple solutions have relevance within communities and environments, and how we interpret our environments as being sustainably progressive.
In your opinion, how big a role has World Design Capital played in putting South African design on the map?
Collaborative work among designers and interest from corporates and international design watchers have become significantly more interactive. Platforms to learn from one another have been created through various organisations such as the Guild International earlier this year, Southern Guild, 100% Design, The Business of Design, Open Design Cape Town and the Friends of Design Academy. Events have created networking sessions that will carry over into 2015, and even 2016 as World Design Capital reaches Taiwan. Overall, design consciousness as a professional occupation for youth in South Africa is a fairly new notion. It’s always been an out-the-box career path for the general public.
What’re you currently working on, and what can we expect next?
I’ll be presenting non-vessel works, challenging the medium and transforming the perception that clay, structurally and predominantly, forms hollowed vessels for function. I’m essentially challenging my own staid ways and putting the results into the world – and letting them go. October sees Franschhoek’s Art in Clay Festival and some of my latest works showcased as part of ‘The Structure of Clay’ exhibition hosted by Ebony Design’s art gallery. A showcase of Imiso’s latest crockery collection will be presented at New York’s NY NOW Accents on Design show and in December, for the first time, at the prestigious Design Miami, Miami 2014 show.
Where Unit A102, The Biscuit Mill, 373–375 Albert Road, Woodstock
Trading Hours Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm, Saturdays 9 am – 3 pm
Contact +27 21 447 2627, [email protected]