Photography: Manesha Smit
Art direction and styling: Sanri Pienaar
Ceramics: Eva Shuman
Mohair rugs: Frances van Hasselt
Working with two of the oldest forms of craft, ceramics and textiles, friends Frances Van Hasselt and Eva Shuman used the Karoo’s vast color and textural palate to inform their playful, mixed media body of work.
Known for its harsh, semi-arid terrain, the Karoo is one of the earth’s most ancient landscapes. Its stark stretched out horizons once the bottom of the ocean floor is built on layers of delicate entrapments of time trying to survive in a space where the harshest elements are at play.
Frances van Hasselt, a textile designer and entrepreneur was raised on a mohair farm in the Karoo. With a deep affinity for this natural fibre, she invited ceramicist Eva Shuman to collaborate on a project to pair their two mediums. The goal was to capture the effervescent and multifaceted character of the Karoo, and how clay and mohair interact and react to this landscape. Shuman, whose work is not shy of bold colors and crystal glazes highlights the cosmic vastness and raw forms which appear and fade according to the light and time of day. In response to these pieces, Van Hasselt then imposed and distorted silhouettes from Shuman’s ten ceramic forms into a handful of one-off woven pieces.
To capture each conversation between ceramics and the textiles, they worked with natural light, tracing the deserts’ many moods as the sun moved overhead throughout the day.
The comfort of first light, soft and rich and abundant with warmth. The harsh midday stroke; exposed, raw, hot, a mirage of heatwaves licking over the powder blue skies. The sudden turn of dust settling dusk, the earth once more opening up to breath. Together with photographer, Manesha Smit and stylist, Sanri Pienaar, they peeled back the layers that intertwine this bed of forgotten, thriving, living, dying, fossilized futuristic space together.
With crystal glazes dripping into the veld and flapping rugs overhead, it’s hard to imagine what really is at play here. Each scene tells a story of how clay & mohair collide and interact with the desert landscape.
A series of characteristics that fold and dribble in and out of form and function until everything is quite distorted, yet strangely sensical.
Eva Shuman; London born and raised, Eva completed her BA (Hons) in Fashion History at Central Saint Martins in 2013 before moving to South Africa.
Afterworking for Condé Nast in South Africa, she made a career leap from writing about the visual arts to making her own.
Eva’s interest in ceramics comes from her love of fashion, reflected in her forms and use of colour. She currently lives and works in Cape Town.
Frances van Hasselt is a designer and entrepreneur focusing on mohair textiles. She collaborates with a team of women artisans in rural communities, weaving a story about the origins of textiles, simultaneously allowing the natural environment to inform every aspect of their design and making process.
Raised on a mohair farm in the Karoo desert, van Hasselt has a deep affinity for this natural fibre. She has spent the last several years – after working in the fashion industries in Hong Kong and South Africa – developing a business designed to elevate mohair to a more prominent status as one of the world’s most ancient, exclusive fibres.
South African born Visual Artist, Manesha Caldi is an experienced Photographer having honed the practice over the past 6 years working both locally and internationally. Trained in Visual Communication Design, Manesha uses her work to explore the themes seen within design practices while influencing creative concepts lending to the photographic process. She is largely inspired by the places visited and the people who have been part of the journey. She specializes in both digital and film photography, covering a wide spectrum of fields and themes, using her work to investigate the human, as well as nature as a subject and it’s considering themes around identity, spatial dynamics, and emotional connection.
Sanri Pienaar is a Cape Town based Art Director and Stylist. Sanri began her career as an intern at Elle Decoration South Africa where she quickly worked her way to heading up the décor team in Johannesburg.
With freedom and guidance, she developed her distinctive style and curating abilities.
Offbeat and filled with juxtaposition, she pulls from different design practices to create spaces and images that are filled with intrigue.