Marjorie Wallace - Harare, Zimbabwe

Wallace specializes in production of fine porcelain objects which she scratches, presses and incises with linear designs and decoration.

Represented by the Delta Gallery in Harare, she is considered one of the best ceramic artists on the scene.

She makes the clay and glazes she uses, mostly from local materials.

She holds a degree in painting from Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town, Africa, and has taught at the Harare Polytechnic School.

Text of Marjorie Wallace's Slide Lecture, July 12, 2003

Good afternoon, I am Marjorie Wallace from Harare, Zimbabwe. I would like to first show you some traditional vessels from my region in Africa.

1) The shape of a vessel determines its function.

2) Those with a narrow neck are for storing water or traditional beer. Vessels which are highly decorated or near perfect are the ones which will be put on display and seen by visitors.

3) Vessels with a wider shorter neck and thicker bottom have little decoration and are used for cooking 'sadza' (maize meal).

4) Small vessels with handles are used for drinking.

5) Vessels which have a basket woven around them are for keeping water cool,
and can have multiple openings for special occasions.

Now, a little information about making the vessels.

6) Traditionally only women make pots. Collecting the clay is sacred and surrounded by taboos. It is collected from a river or an anthill. It is ground, sifted and mixed with water. There is no aging of the clay. The pots are generally coil built.

7) Once made, the pot will be burnished with a pebble. Graphite may be used to color the pot.

8) In firing, the pots are placed one on top of the other, mouth down. They are covered with grass and tree bark which is burned.

9) For finishing, while the pot is still hot, it is filled with maize meal to seal it.
10) Plumbags or hematite may be rubbed into the scarifications.
11) Contemporary pots may be decorated with enamel paint.

Now for a look at some contemporary pottery which follows a European tradition.

The first works are by First Generation Potters, who guard carefully the secrets of how they make their work.

1 Frouke Viewing- is known for her work with glazes
2 Carole Wales-Smith identifies with African form
3, 4 Sue McCormick - hand builds and also identifies with African form

The following works are by Second Generation potters, who are more inclined to share information about how they make their work.
5 Ros Byrne
6, 7 Kevin Hough - worked from the Mutapo Studio.
8, 9 Berry Bickle- also works from the Mutapo Studio. She is an internationally acclaimed artist.
10, 11, 12 Eino from Namibia - who works with traditional ceramic methods to make sculpture.
13 Jesserina from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, working with traditional methods.
14 This teapot was created by an unknown artist, and is painted with enamel paint.
15 Rienato Simbinda from Mozambique
16 Howard Minnie- founder of Mutapo with an unfired work
17 the work fired
18 Marjorie Wallace-Porcelain Bowl
The following pieces are also mine:
19 Marjorie Wallace
20 Marjorie Wallace
21 Marjorie Wallace
22 Marjorie Wallace
23 Marjorie Wallace
24 This is Jimi who makes all the clay at Mutapo and glazes artwork
25 Here are Jimi with Jairos in the studio
26 Marjorie in the Studio

Thank you.

Marjorie Wallace Technical Notes

Colored slips were painted on soft leather hard clay squares, one thick coat, or until properly covered. When leather hard, tile backs were grooved for even drying and increased surface for mortar.

When nearly dry (but before powdering stage), designs were scraped or carved with the aid of graphite pencil plotting marks to create grids.

For inlays, the carving happened on leather hard clay, then slip was applied and the excess scraped off when easy to do so.

Colors used:
White 1
Red 3
Black 6
Green 10
Blue 16
Light Blue 20
Blue black 22
Turquoise 29
Bermuda 31
Yellow 46
Orange 50
Light Blue 58

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