Bentley van Wyk: Mastering the art of pottery

Ceramic designer Bentley van Wyk masters traditional techniques in his contemporary ceramic designs.

Part of the 2015 Emerging Creative programme, Bentley van Wyk is a talented potter who refers to himself as a ceramic designer. His relationship with the potter’s wheel began at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where he learnt the wheel throwing techniques, which now form the basis of his ceramic designs.

What sets the young ceramist’s pottery apart is its intricate detailing. The patterning on his bowls has become the trademark feature of his designs and requires careful craftsmanship and a steady hand. To create the patterns, van Wyk hand-stamps the bowls’ surfaces with stamping tools, which he makes from wood, plaster or found objects.

Everything is done by hand, from the throwing and the shaping process to the decorative stamping, making each one of his designs entirely unique. Van Wyk prefers to stick to old techniques for the simple love of working with his hands but also as an attempt to restore people’s appreciation for handmade craft.

Working mostly with earthenware or porcelain, van Wyk hopes to revive the art of pottery, saying that the element of “modernism in the pots” make them relevant today, both in a design sense and in a functional sense.