From the Lim eye: Paul de Jongh

 In LIM stories

Potter Paul de Jongh works and lives with his wife Nina in McGregor, a small village in the mountains of the Western Cape. Lim has been stocking de Jongh mugs, teacups and vases for the last 18 years (for as long as Lim’s been around!), even trend guru, Lidewij Eidelkoort gets her yearly dosage of de Jongh mugs.

I asked de Jongh what inspires and drives him to keep making ceramics. He replied:

“The work of a potter is determined by the demands of the material, the demands of the creative process and the demands of the consumer. It is how these 3 elements are simultaneously brought together that is all-important and is the source of our inspiration, the driving force behind our work.

Our inspiration comes largely from the creative process itself, as well as being faced with the dual challenge of making functional ware for everyday use with an aesthetic dimension. The pots we make are based on historical precedent in the Anglo-Oriental, wood-firing tradition. They are meant for use, even if they are only occasionally used for such. We fire our work with wood because of an aesthetic choice. It is a huge investment in time and energy but for us this is justified by the end result – the fire flows around the pieces facilitating often flawed things of beauty. It is often the flaw, scar or unintended mark that makes an item fascinating and unique.

For us, the how and the why of pot-making are equally important. The daily rhythms of our lives are intimately connected to our pot-making, meaning that there is no artificial separation between our work and our lives. We are able to have lunch with each other and watch our children grow. We are never at meetings, stuck in the traffic or home late from work.”


De Jongh and Nina are inspired by the following potentialities:

– a lump of malleable clay

– a kiln site stacked with prepared firewood

– buckets of glaze

– an empty kilt

– the potential of a firing

– empty shelves in a showroom

– invitations for an exhibition

– the journey to a market

– a clinched sale

– meeting another clay enthusiast

– the potential use of a ceramic object

– boards of freshly thrown pots

Work motto: Never buy what you can make yourself!


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