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FatyLy Ceramics Bringing to Life The Stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage

Fatimata ‘Faty’ Ly is a Senegalese artist who uses ceramics as her canvas, the blank surfaces enabling her to bring to life the stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. A graduate of London’s prestigious Central St Martin’s Faty is based in Dakar, Senegal where she designs her eponymous collections for production in Limoges, France, an area famed for its production of hard-paste porcelain.

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Ranti Bam’s Organic And Sculptural Collage Ceramics

Freeform, organic, and sculptural are just some of the words that come to mind when viewing the work of ceramicist Ranti Bamgbala aka Ranti Bam, who is inspired by a love of words and metaphor, Eastern philosophy, etymology, and clay. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in London Ranti set up her studio practice in 2015 after graduating from the renowned City Lit Ceramics degree course.

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South African Ceramicist Andile Dyalvane Celebrates First New York Exhibition

Andile Dyalvane sees the unveiling of his first solo exhibition at Friedman Benda Gallery in New York this week. Opening on Thursday, 23rd June, the exhibition runs for two months and will showcase over 20 unique pieces by the South African ceramicist. Andile is a leading figure whose work is helping to shape contemporary South African design. [Main image credit: Bird Vessel, 2015; Andile Dyalvane – Friedman Benda]

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Myriam Mourabit Contemporary Moroccan Ceramics

Award-winning ceramicist Myriam Mourabit creates exquisite Moroccan ceramics inspired by her country’s rich ceramic heritage. The designer who is based in Rabat, Morocco trained in Paris at the Duperré School of Applied Arts and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. She founded her company in 1998 and from her studio skillfully produces Moroccan ceramics collections that include: bowls, vases, tableware, furniture and interior fittings. [Image credit: Tagine Ceramics – Myriam Mourabit]

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Vision for Africa And Ugandan Ceramics Pottery School

[Image credits: Ugandan Ceramics Pottery School] Closely aligned with Vision for Africa International, and Austrian based Christian organisation; Ugandan Ceramics is a pottery school based near Kampala, Uganda. Offering training in the various methods of ceramics production, the students who attend the school are given the opportunity to study with artists from Uganda and Europe, amongst them are former students who have gone on to become instructors themselves.

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Ardmore Modern Day Collectible South African Ceramics

Ardmore is an award-winning ceramics studio creating collectible South African ceramics products that are distinctive, colourful, whimsical and full of character. Ardmore’s ceramics call to mind the tradition of detailed porcelain and pottery artworks seen throughout the ages, particularly in Chinese and Japanese culture, and in recognition of the studio’s high level of creativity and craftsmanship have been labelled ‘modern day collectibles’ by Christie’s, one of the world’s most prestigious fine art auction houses. Located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Ardmore was founded over twenty-five years ago by fine artist, Fée Halsted; who began mentoring Bonnie Ntshalintshali and five years after they […]

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Kpando Pottery Contemporary African Ceramics Made in Ghana

Organic shapes exhibiting protruding knobbly bumps and spiky thorn-like shapes remind me of gourds, the hard bulbous shells of fruit and the tall slender forms of cacti. Skilfully moulded by hand, without the aid of a potter’s wheel these forms are part of a range of decorative, and functional contemporary African ceramics from Kpando Pottery, a business based in Ghana that takes its name from the Volta Region of Ghana, an area known for its skilled craftsmanship and distinctive pottery production. Kpando Pottery was founded by Joseph Nii Noi Dowuona, who has been working with local women for over ten years creating […]

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Bruno Sserunkuuma Contemporary African Ceramics

Rather like the illustrations from a storybook, the distinctive imagery adorning Ugandan ceramicist, Bruno Sserunkuuma’s work depict a social and cultural commentary of Ugandan life in the form of stylised figures and shapes, enhanced with elaborate patterns. [Image credit: Bruno Sserunkuuma, Ceramic Vessel – Afro Art]

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Oprah Store Hand Picked South African Ceramics And Design

You can never have enough bowls, and they can look so good as a design feature displayed on cabinet shelves or along counters. My sister recently showed me a gorgeous image of some stacked brightly coloured, patterned bowls; and whenever I walk into a place like Anthropologie I can’t help but be drawn to the sections with stacks of bowls piled high upon the shelves radiating pattern, colour and texture. I think small bowls are my latest interiors crush… One of my searches led me to Storm in a Teacup who have such pretty ones; some readers may recognise the bowls from […]

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Traditional South African Pottery The Nala Potting Dynasty

In the 1980’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka was singing about brewing African beer in the timeless infectious hit Umqombothi, a song that was and still is a regular feature at weddings and parties across Southern Africa and beyond. I remember the accompanying video, one of celebration and saw women carrying their brews in a traditional clay pot. Whether expertly balanced atop the head having been filled with water from the river, or as a vessel fermenting the ‘African Beer’, the bulbous clay pot is an enduring symbol of cultural tradition across the African continent, one that sees potters and ceramicists continue to produce […]

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Beldi Moroccan Interior Accessories Traditional Ceramics

I love pretty ceramics; so ideal for adding quick, interchangeable bursts of pattern and colour throughout the home and whilst browsing beautifully stylish blog, AphroChic I came across a posting featuring new online store Beldi, which is introducing customers to the authentic, Moroccan interior accessories and way of living. Visiting the website I spotted these gorgeously patterned plates and bowls, hand painted and hand glazed by artisans in Safi, a place renowned for its skillful pottery creations. The spirals on the ‘Spiral Safi bowls’ are based on the ancient Berber symbol for eternity, said to be a common symbol throughout Morocco. The intricate patterns, often […]

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Lawson Oyekan British Nigerian Contemporary Ceramic Sculptor

Until Friday 11 November 2001, the lobby of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf London plays host to the ceramic creations of British / Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor Lawson Oyekan. Regular visitors to Canary Wharf may already be familiar with Lawson’s work, the artist has had four ceramic sculptures on permanent display as part of Canary Wharf’s permanent art collection for a while now, and this current exhibition sees some of his more recent works going on display alongside them in a showcase of the artist’s talent and evolving ideas. Lawson’s pieces are organic ranging from towering monolithic forms to beautifully etched […]

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South African Ceramics Brand Love Milo Message Mugs

What a cute and novel idea! Your favourite hot drink delivered with a heartwarming message… well at least that’s what I think modern South African ceramics brand, Love Milo had in mind when they created this wonderfully quirky ceramic message mug. Featuring a notebook design, the smooth surface allows you to write messages directly on to it using the pen provided. Love Milo was created by Nicki Ellis, a South African photographer and film colourist whose original photographs inspired by nature are captured in a distinctive silhouette style and then depicted across a contemporary range of textiles, homeware and ceramics designed to […]

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Stoned Cherrie Fashionable South African Ceramic Homeware

I love a good cup of tea, and for me any time is teatime! So was rather taken with some quirky teapots and teacups courtesy of Stoned Cherrie. The renowned South African brand is branching into the homeware sector, launching a range of hand painted South African ceramic homeware that embody the Stoned Cherrie Afro-chic spirit. After a decade of producing some of African fashion’s most iconic collections Stoned Cherrie’s founder, Nkhensani Nkosi is ready to expand the company beyond fashion borders reaching further into the consumer lifestyle sector and having already taken first steps with its furnishing fabric ranges. The […]

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Contemporary Ceramic Art Gloria Ssali Pursuing Her Artistic Dream

A long held passion for clay saw Ugandan-born ceramicist, Gloria Ssali give up a career as a pharmacist to pursue her dream fulltime time. Having moved to the UK with her family aged eleven; it was during a class she took during her senior school years that Gloria was first introduced to clay modelling and was instantly drawn into the craft. To achieve her goal of becoming a full-time artist, four years ago Gloria returned to college to train as a ceramicist experimenting with techniques and learning about the different types of clay. Describing her career change as a new chapter in […]

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MERBI Contemporary Ceramics Inspired By Nigerian Culture

Pretty little contemporary ceramics containers and storage jars that’ll have you looking for things to display in them; are just so endearing and handy to have around the house with a multitude of uses when  conveniently stored in areas like kitchen work tops to dressing tables. Designed by table and giftware designer, Ruth Babajide; MERBI is a collection of slip cast contemporary ceramics storage units inspired by Nigerian culture in the form of the flamboyant styles found in clothing and the customary practice of storing large quantities of dry food.  

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Imiso Innovative Contemporary South African Ceramics

Four dynamic individuals; Andile Dyalvane, Abongile Madabane, Zizipho Poswa and Mlamli Charles Mayosi came together in June 2006 to form Imiso Ceramics, a contemporary South African ceramics brand. Today just Andile Dyalvane and Zizipho Poswa remain at the helm. [Image credit: Imiso Ceramics]

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Tunisian Ceramics Stylish Handcrafted African Homeware

[Image credit: Greater Good] Having tried my hand at pottery many years ago as part of my fine arts module and being absolutely rubbish at it – they always exploded in the kiln!!! – I have a deep admiration for artisans who can produce the most exquisite and beautifully decorated pieces. Not too long ago I came across some stylish African decor in the form of these really pretty Tunisian coffee cups on the Greater Good Network, and loved the intricate patterns and vibrant colours.

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive