Africa is synonymous with drought but how may associate the Cape with this affliction? Being of Mediterranean climate this region relies on winter rainfall to fill its dams. This year it looks as if it has fallen short – again. But the locals are pragmatic. When I last visited top Cape artist and ceramicist Helen Vaughan at her home and studio in the suburbs of Cape Town she showed me her ingenious irrigation system comprising of a thick chain (above a large bin to catch excess) which channels any falling rain down an angled gutter pipe which drains into the fish pond where the water is stored for use in the garden and in the pottery. Likewise in the house, bathers shower with each foot in a bucket to catch the water from their ablutions before sluicing it on the flowerbeds. Waste not, want not – a lesson for us all.
Helen’s strong and tactile ceramics are present on our forthcoming exhibition; large statement vases and candleholders, smaller ‘happy’ bowls as she calls them, and assorted hanging plates, all in rich blood red, clean white, charcoal black – to remind her of the frequent fires on the mountain, and sage green – to symbolise new growth after such events. “Jubilation” runs from 19th November to 3rd December 2016, daily 10am to 4pm.