Cape Town is the artist capital of South Africa, there’s no doubt in this regard. Through music, pictures, paintings and designs we tell a story as unique as our beautiful city. The great thing about art is the total freedom to let your creativity overflow – there is no need for divine inspiration or world-class skills.
In a time when we are so consumed by the constant noise of social media, you need an outlet to stop and unplug for a Cape Town minute. Clay Café, set among the giant oak trees in Hout Bay, is exactly that place.
While many assume it is a place for little hands to get dirty painting ceramic trinkets, in reality it is a space for the entire family, including granny and grandpa, to unwind and unleash their inner artist. The result of the hours of patient and enjoyable fun culminates into a beautiful piece of work unlike any other.
Clay Café has both inside and outside areas, so the weather doesn’t play a huge factor. The process is pretty simple. You book a session online, when you arrive you decide what you would like to paint from a range of unfired bisque items – then choose your colours and get settled.
If you would like some professional advice, you can opt for a short demonstration by an onsite artist. Armed with several colours of paint and an overactive imagination, I rolled my sleeves up and got stuck in. After 30 minutes I realised something was not right, my kids aged 4 and 10 were painting in total silence – now that right there is golden and something money can’t buy.
Friendly waiters patiently wait around, not interrupting your workflow, to take your orders. After prying the family away from their works of art, we decide on pizza, salad and pasta as main meals. The menu is extensive and all the meals are freshly prepared and delicious. From breakfast to pizza, paninnis to burgers and kiddie portions, they cater for all tastebuds.
You don’t realise how utterly relaxed you are until you look at the clock and realise it’s been hours since you even looked at your phone.
In psychology, art therapy is used to treat various psychological disorders and to enhance mental health. The time I spent pouring over my ceramic unicorn reminded me why distractions like these are so very important to our mental health. Painting is a way to communicate ideas, express yourself and also release emotion.
Three hours and very little conversation later… our works of art were complete and we all stood back in complete awe. It takes three weeks for the process to be completed, the next step is to burn the ceramics in the kiln and glaze it to finish it off. An express option costs a little extra.
Clay Café allows you to play and relax at the same time. The outdoor area is expansive and is a child’s dream play area. Bouncing castles, swings, slides, trampolines and ponds create a play haven for kids who have tired of the art.
There are also outside tables with a bird’s eye view of the kiddies play area to watch your children burn pent-up energy. It is absolutely perfect for team-building events, bridal showers, kiddie or adult parties or for those looking to escape their crazy busy life.
Driving home from my truly unexpected relaxing afternoon, I came to the realisation that all that is needed for creativity is a dollop of passion, a desire to learn and the refusal to be boxed in. I must be an artist now, my unicorn is proof that I am.
Picture: Clay Café