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Mastering Ceramic Art: An Exclusive Residency with John Bauer

Renowned for his innovative approach to ceramics and material engineering, John Bauer is now offering an exclusive residency at his home studio and the Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town. With nearly three decades of experience, John provides an enriching environment for artists to experiment, innovate, and hone their craft.

Residency Overview

John’s Artistic Philosophy: John Bauer’s work is rooted in the belief that the creative process thrives on challenges and unexpected outcomes. His motto, “embracing the noble catastrophe,” encourages residents to view obstacles as opportunities for artistic breakthroughs. This philosophy forms the foundation of the residency, promoting a fearless approach to ceramic art.

Residency Benefits:

  • Private Accommodation: Residents will stay in a private room with an ensuite bathroom, located in Harfield Village, Cape Town. A communal kitchen is also available, fostering a sense of community among residents.
  • Dual Studio Access: Participants will have access to two state-of-the-art studios – John’s home studio and his workspace at the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands. This allows for a flexible and comprehensive creative experience.
  • Extensive Kiln Facilities: The studios are equipped with five large electric kilns, a top-loading kiln, and two smaller test kilns, providing ample opportunities for experimentation and large-scale production.
  • Professional Networking: The residency includes access to a network of leading ceramicists and artists in Cape Town, offering invaluable opportunities for collaboration and professional growth.
  • Final Exhibition: Residents will have the chance to exhibit their work at the Montebello Design Centre at the end of the residency, gaining exposure and feedback from the local art community.
  • Inspirational Activities: Regular beach walks and free diving sessions with John, exploring the natural beauty and materials of Cape Town, serve as a unique source of inspiration for the residents’ projects.

Resident Responsibilities:

  • Studio Participation: Active involvement in the daily operations and maintenance of both studios.
  • Workshop Leadership: Residents are required to lead a workshop on a topic of their choice at the Montebello Design Centre, sharing their expertise and engaging with the community.
  • Customer Interaction: Assisting with and engaging visitors and customers at the Montebello Design Centre, enhancing public interaction with the residency program.

Residency Costs

The residency fee covers accommodation, studio access, an exhibition, inspirational activities, and networking opportunities. Materials and firing costs are not included and will be charged at standard industry rates.

  • Six-Week Residency: R33,600 (approximately US$2,000)
  • Three-Month Residency: R72,000 (approximately US$4,600)

Application Process

For more information, email John at [email protected] with “Art Residency Enquiry” in the subject line.

To apply for the residency, email [email protected] with “Art Residency Application” in the subject line and include:

  • Preferred dates and length of stay.
  • A brief description of your goals for the residency.
  • A workshop topic you would like to lead.
  • Links to your social media profiles.
  • Any other relevant details or questions.

About John Bauer

Early Life and Discovery of Pottery: Born on January 6, 1978, John Bauer’s journey into ceramics began at the tender age of 13. His family relocated to Newlands, Cape Town, in 1985, where he faced academic challenges due to undiagnosed dyslexia. Despite these obstacles, John discovered a profound passion for pottery, which would shape his future career.

Innovations in Ceramic Art: John Bauer is celebrated for his pioneering techniques and contributions to ceramic art:

  • Reverse Engineering Ancient Techniques: John has successfully reverse-engineered a Tsung Dynasty technique, enabling graphics to rise above the clay surface, adding a new dimension to porcelain artistry.
  • Thermal Shock Resistant Porcelain: He has developed porcelain that can withstand rapid temperature changes, expanding the functional and artistic possibilities of the material.
  • Textile-Infused Ceramics: By infusing knitting and thread with porcelain, John creates unique and textured ceramic bowls that blend traditional craft with modern techniques.
  • Dioroid Printing: His latest innovation involves a responsive emulsion infused in the clay, allowing the capture of images of ambient objects, a technique he has named “dioroid” printing.

Artistic Achievements:

  • Prolific Production: Between 2000 and 2004, John produced over 4,000 small porcelain bowls, each featuring intricate low-relief, incised decorations. These bowls explore themes of love, loneliness, and happiness, often touching on deeper subjects like bereavement and providence.
  • Diverse Art Forms: In addition to bowls, John creates plaques, tiles, and other forms that simulate basketry, knitwear, and textiles, drawing inspiration from lace, crochet, and oriental lacquer.
  • Recognition and Exhibitions: John has been recognized as an Emerging Creative at Design Indaba 2009 and has had his work exhibited at prestigious venues, including a retrospective at the South African Museum in 2012. His art is also part of collections at the Slave Lodge in Cape Town and the William Humphreys Art Gallery in Kimberley.

Commitment to Traditional Craft: John’s work celebrates traditional hand skills and folk art, honoring the craftsmanship of the pre-industrial era. He particularly acknowledges the contributions of women who crafted objects to enhance domestic life, exploring themes related to the ‘eternal feminine’ and the redemptive power of love in his art.

Experience the Residency

Join John Bauer in Cape Town for a transformative residency that blends technical innovation, artistic exploration, and personal growth. This unique opportunity is designed for ceramic artists seeking to push the boundaries of their craft and immerse themselves in a supportive and inspiring environment.

For inquiries or to apply, contact John Bauer at [email protected].

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