Helping creatives connect

Octayvia Nance

TEN pottery crafters and five artists from different fields got their hands dirty yesterday at an out-of-the-box collaborative workshop conducted by ArtEC intern Bantu Mtshiselwa.

The Creative Collaborative process workshop at the Athenaeum in Central formed part of the Mandela Bay Development Agency’s (MBDA) “Know Your Artists” campaign.

“Crafters always work in their small rooms and in some community arts centres as groups,” Mtshiselwa said.

“Most of the time there’s a lack of proper product development skills, as most crafters use a God-given talent or skill.

“With this session I aim to inspire the participants to think outside their own craft mediums. “The importance of collaborating is that it brings about fresh ideas,” Mtshiselwa said.

The crafters, from Precious Pot Creations in Motherwell, teamed up with art teacher Irma Walshin, medical student Nothukela Mahambehlala, poet Zomzi Ntshona – daughter of theatre icon Winston – fashion designer Asanda Mali and client liaison and public relations executive Vatiswa Gilvane to make 50cm by 50cm mosaic pieces.

“This is one way to allow the crafters to engage with different professionals and artists, and network for future projects or relations.

“We made pinch pots as an introduction to the day’s activity, and then participants were divided into groups.”

A pre-designed pattern was printed into small squares where the participants were challenged to make an art piece out of the black and white pattern.

They were required to make minor changes on the design to reflect their own ideas: from adding motifs or eliminating certain parts of the design to suit and be reflective of their collaborative collective ideas.

“They had to choose their own colour tiles from the available pallet. The designs are then put together as a mosaic panel,” Mtshiselwa said.

At the end of the workshop, the participants were asked to change the pre-designed pattern, while working to a limited time frame.

The participants were expected to record the creative processes involved and briefly talk about their new designs.

“I am focusing on established artists working with developing artists – especially the self-taught artists,” Mtshiselwa said.

The overall aim is to expose crafters to other skills and link them up with the Athenaeum and the MBDA for future projects.

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