Laura du Toit was born in Cape Town and has been a resident of neighbouring Stellenbosch since 1980. She is married and has two sons. She completed a BA degree at the University of Stellenbosch and did her initial training in ceramics with Nicole Palmer. This was continued by completing the N5 in Ceramics and Drawing with Ralph Johnson at Paarl Technikon in 1990.
The focus of Laura’s clay art is hand built coiled pots and her work is often influenced by ecological issues. She chooses the symmetry and balance of the sphere to represent the balance and equilibrium of the earth. She is concerned for the environment. Laura applies glazes in a way to represent the scarred, barren, damaged and changed surfaces on the earth. She often inscribes her thoughts on the leather hard pot to register the debate about ecological issues and to note human efforts to restore the environment. Any grooves represent lines of latitude that have moved off centre. If a pot is smooth, this represents the undisturbed surfaces on the earth, such as pristine lakes and areas of wilderness. The balanced shape and surface show the earth as a stable harmonious ecological unit. She dips her hands into glaze before holding the pot to symbolise that we have to protect and care for the earth. By “holding on” we can shield the earth from devastation. The textured hands represent how an over-exploited planet can cause harm to human beings. The hands are stressed, battered and have a worn down appearance.
“I love the slow and patient process of coiling and pinching clay to explore my favourite shape, the sphere, to the full.
Raku is an exciting way of firing and I often make use of this method because I like the unpredictable network of cracks on the surface of the glaze. Apart from shape, textures and colours found in nature interest me. I find inspiration in volcanoes, fossils and geological formations, to name a few. Using materials like Kalahari sand, oxides, slip and multiple stoneware firings enable me to capture texture which replicate the weathered surfaces and patterns of the earth. The patterns found in aerial and satellite images of the earth inspire me. I record close-up details of my work as well as natural objects and enjoy the relationship between all these images.”