Alex Shabalala

Alex Shabalala

South Africa

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Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Alex now works from a studio in Fourways, Johannesburg. A former artist with the famous Ardmore Ceramics, his work is so delegate and fun.
Alex says he has always been interested in working with his hands. As a child, he use to make toys out of waste materials that he collected and use to play with clay by the river bank in Rosetta. From Grade 7, he taught art at the Sbonokuhle Primary School in Rosetta and then at Mpophomeni they had a studio with friends called Amacikwesizwa Visual Art, near Howick. He also attended art workshops at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Early in his career, Alex worked on linocuts at the Caversham Press where he met and worked with talented artist Gabisile Nkosi and the centre’s founder, Malcolm Christian.

In October 2008, he joined Ardmore Caversham, where he strove to translate print-making techniques into his clay painting and developed a unique graphic style.
In 2010, Alex was singled out to work extensively on designing a limited-edition range of dinnerware as part of Ardmore’s new venture, the Ardmore Design Collection, sponsored by the Sharegrowth Challenge Grant. The same year his design of African wildlife and flora was selected for the commemorative Relais & Chateaux Plate. In 2011 Alex left Ardmore and returned to the Caversham Press, working as an art facilitator and running arts workshops in local and private schools.

“In 2013 I came to Johannesburg with the hope of fulfilling my ambition as an artist.

“I work in earthenware clay and use underglaze paint, which is water based and glazed with a transparent glaze before being fired in a kiln at between 11 000 and 12 000 degrees centigrade.”
Underglaze is a method of decorating pottery in which the decoration is applied to the surface before it is glazed. Because the glaze will subsequently cover it, such decoration is completely durable, and it also allows the production of pottery with a surface that has a uniform sheen, I also ran several art workshops and mosaic project in the country and Botswana

Alex works with three themes: Divine, Flora and Butterfly. The Divine design is inspired by South African wildlife (white background), the Flora design is inspired by South African flowers (black background) and the Butterfly design is inspired by butterfly wings in a full design.

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