Working with John Bauer over the past six months has been nothing short of enlightening. He is by far one of the most dynamic people I have encountered. In my mind, he has grown to be a mixture of Dr Seuss, Charlie from the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter. He is as outlandish and full of imaginative madness and splendour as anything from Seussville. He has both the eccentricity of Willy Wonka and the innocence of Charlie and his ceramics studio the prolificacy of the Chocolate Factory. And he has a silent sense of knowing and magic that is uniquely Potter.
Yet, at they eye of the storm of creativity is a very single-minded and calm focus. That tenacious focus has led to a string of achievements including design awards from Ceramics South Africa, being named an Emerging Creative at Design Indaba 2009 and completing a staggering 6 500 pieces of ceramic art to date.
His latest project is groundbreaking – DinnerArt. Bauer has created a range of crockery born out of 20 years of creativity. DinnerArt is like eating off the artist’s canvas and thus each piece bears his signature. Mundane instruments become pieces of art. For Bauer, ultimate joy exists in a household where every action incorporates an artwork. Bauer wanted to contribute his imagination to the daily ritual of sharing meals with loved ones – to frame food with his art and send his creative energy into the life of his patrons and this is how DinnerArt was born.
In Bauer’s own words: “Exclusivity never impressed me – its malicious and hurtful. A paper packet is far gentler on the hand than a Gucci handbag. So I decided to release a range not for the museums that collect my work, not for the art galleries in London, not for Arabian sheiks but for you. To make you feel like a sheik or a British art connoisseur. I wanted my years in the industry to be available to you around the dinner table. I wanted you to get lost inside the feelings of my heart. I wanted to give you wonder, to hold your hand. I wanted you to know that love was for you and I wanted to make your food so much ‘foodier’ and make it all seem worthwhile again. No one will ever again drown in their soup.”