I’m not sure if you’ve noticed… but pots, bowls, coffee mugs and platters are super expensive. It’s not uncommon for you to spend as much as R500 on a serving bowl or crockery that is essential for any kitchen. This weekend, I discovered a creative, affordable alternative and a unique social experience.
Through the grace of an avid reader of the Essential Millennial, @lizannepretorius (follow her on Instagram), I stumbled upon a hidden hotspot on the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch – Ceramic Café.
Address: Sweetwell farm, R44, Somerset West, Raithby, 7125
Contact: 021 300 5132/071 471 4984 | [email protected]
Trading hours: Wed-Sun 9am-5pm
Many of us might remember a time when we were kids and we painted a bowl or coffee cup for our parents that really didn’t match anything in the kitchen cupboard. Perhaps your parents still have the monstrosity that you crafted in Grade 2, or it has been lost in the sands of time because the sentimental value waned. Yet, even an individual such as myself, without an artistic bone in their entire body, can create a surprisingly professional-looking artwork thanks to a helping hand from the friendly staff, willing, patient companions, a couple of design books or a quick Pinterest search.
Perhaps, like myself, you lack the creativity to make something worthy of your kitchen and would rather opt for something to put a plant in and hide in the back garden. Or, you have an eye for this kind of thing and can create the perfect piece of crockery to match that set of six breakfast bowls that has become four after a couple of them broke.
Either way, it’s a place for you to affordably stock up your cupboards with something that you can be proud to boast was made by your own hands (well… sort of).
Starting off, you choose a bisque item and wet it in a basin. You can choose from a wide selection of beautifully designed, prefabricated bowls, platters, mugs, jugs and ornaments that cost practically nothing. Some of the smaller items go for as little as R45 and the most expensive items that I saw were going for little over R200.
Once you’ve made the surprisingly difficult decision on what it is you want, you decide on three colours to use, then pick up a brush and some tools that you need to fit the pattern or design you’ve mocked up in your mind’s eye.
Now the fun begins and you can start painting and decorating your item.
You can either think up something in your head, check out one of the ceramic design books provided that also give you a few handy tutorials on what to do, or you can go online to find something that you like and have the competency to pull off. I opted for something simple and just painted a couple of lines and shapes by using some masking tape.
Feeling incredibly inadequate watching my companions draw floral patterns and geometric shapes, we finished up our designs and marked the bottom of our items with a reference number, taking pictures for reference, and handed them in to be glazed and fired. Be sure to look at the colour pallets that show you how the colours will come out when it’s finished. After you hand in your painted items, you pay for them and leave and you’ll be notified when they’re ready for collection. It’s really as simple as that.
I was genuinely quite surprised at how cool our items turned out and thought to myself that these would be welcome in any kitchen. Not only that, but it really feels pleasant to have that personal touch and to leave with a sense of accomplishment, having spent a couple of hours on this masterpiece. When all is said and done, you’ve got a pretty neat product that costs half the price of anything you’ll find in the shops.
Ceramic Café is also a great place for kids and there’s a jumping castle outside, making it an ideal spot for birthday parties. There’s even a small coffee shop at on the far end of the warehouse. You can pick up a free coffee for tagging them in an Instagram post or grab a bite to eat and replenish after the massive effort you put into creating your self-anointed masterpiece.
The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed (even with the sounds of kids playing), it’s a truly unique social experience and the prices are very, very reasonable. Whether you’re Michelangelo or have the artistic talents of a chimpanzee and the attention span of a gold fish, going to Ceramic Café is something that I’d highly recommend for the experience alone. There were quite a few couples there as well, so it may even be a creative idea for a date – if you’re prepared to embarrass yourself or want to wow your prospective partner with your mad painting skills.
Essential Millennial rating: 4 out of 5 avocados