The vases, which were first shown at the Make It New exhibition, combine the sharp, almost clinical precision of Wiid Design with Ceramic Matters’ organic surface treatment.
The designers first met at the Johannesburg Art Fair a few years ago and became good friends in Switzerland when they exhibited at Design Miami/Basel as part of the Southern Guild Gallery in 2013. Ever since, they’ve had a keen interested in each other’s work.
Wiid van Heerden particularly admired Harris and Swart's “special type of honesty and humour”. He believes their pieces represent a part of themselves: "I personally feel one needs to be honest and true to what you do and how you do it. These characteristics attracted me to their work.”
The Ceramic Matters duo also shared a respect for Wiid Design’s aesthetics and design sensibility.
After experimenting with different options they settled on Wiid Design's ceramic Lab vase modelled on a giant laboratory beaker, treating it with a reactive glaze technique.
“The method and approach is grounded on what the Japanese used to call ‘the gift of the fire’,” explain Harris and Swart. “The shapes are essentially based on laboratory forms, therefore texture and colour association with liquid bubbling or boiling was used.”
The collaboration proved to be a learning experience for all involved and, as Wiid puts it, was “more than just technique sharing”.
“Collaborating should be something special, it must be a friendship where one shares specific interests and then discuss and develop a concept or product together,” he concludes.
The vases are part of a larger collaborative project that they are currently working on.