From the Potter’s Shop, to the Potter’s Studio, to the Potter’s Workshop.
Chris Silverston was born in South Africa and educated in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Having family ties in the UK, she came over to study art at a college in the Midlands, but missing her African roots returned to Cape Town in her early twenties.
While her two sons were growing up Chris started pottery classes as a hobby and fell completely in love with the medium because of its balance of functionality and beauty. Also being drawn to a world of colour and pattern, she was an initiator in the new medium of underglazes that were breaking ground at that time.
In 1986 Chris founded the Potter’s Shop in Kalk Bay, selling glazes, contemporary ceramics and holding bi-annual exhibitions. In 1991 the Potter’s Studio was opened above the shop, where people could come and paint their own plates. This evolved into a design studio with women artists doing the painting, the most well known at the time being Tiffany Wallace. Theo Ntunwana, followed by Majolandile Dylvane who joined the Potter’s Studio and this seemed to strike a chord in the market place.
Against tradition, Chris trained up Xhosa men with no creative background, providing a safe secure environment, where they could develop their painting skills. She helped these artisans create their distinctive style of tactile, bead-like painting on ceramics, for which The Potter’s Workshop has become renowned.
Trends to help her team evolve their sophisticated style but with family links, Chris travels widely and uses her knowledge of global design contemporary African range of functional ceramics.
Presently we have a staff complement of 23, of which twelve are artists and have become a cohesive collaborative multi cultural team.