Christo Giles was born in Johannesburg in 1970. He matriculated from Durban High School in 1988, where he studied art and ceramics. Having started a Business degree, he realised his passions lay elsewhere. He opened a pottery studio at his parents’ home in Durban and produced a range of reduction fired stoneware and porcelain using a gas kiln.
At the beginning of 1997 Christo Giles moved to the Natal Midlands where he worked with Lindsay Scott at Hillfold Pottery. There he gained valuable experience from one of the country’s leading potters.
In 1999 Christo Giles moved to Cape Town and works from his home-studio in Welcome Glen. He produces a range of functional stoneware and porcelain using the potter’s wheel. The pots are fired in a gas kiln to about 1300 degrees C. He uses glazes that are reduction fired, which is essential to get a range of copper red, blue and green celadon colours. He also fires some pots in a gas fired soda kiln. The unpredictable results and uniqueness of each soda-glazed pot are the reasons for Christo’s fascination with this technique of firing. Soda bicarbonate is introduced into the kiln chamber at high temperature using a pressurized garden sprayer; the soda vaporises and combines with the clay to form a glaze on the pots. He believes that form and function of the pot is primary and that glazes and decoration should enhance rather than overwhelm it.
Christo is one of the most highly respected new generation ceramicists in SA.