Christo Giles's Instagram pottery videos are mesmerising to watch

We chat to creator of beautiful hand-crafted stoneware pottery and porcelain pieces Christo Giles about the appeal of working with clay

22 June 2017 - 23:47 By Roberta Thatcher
Christo Giles uses cheese slicers with different wires attached to facet and make zig-zag patterns on his pots.
Christo Giles uses cheese slicers with different wires attached to facet and make zig-zag patterns on his pots.
Image: Supplied

How did you get into ceramics?

I was introduced to pottery as a child visiting pottery studios on the Midlands Meander in the 1980s and started throwing on the potter's wheel at Durban High School.

How would you describe your work?

Functional wheel-thrown pots that are reduction fired in a gas kiln.

The best thing about working with clay?

Making pots on the wheel and opening the kiln to see what happened in the firing.

The patterns on your work show such precision - what's your trick?

Patience is a big part of pottery, it takes time and practice to master the craft.

Your favourite tool to use?

Cheese slicers with different wires attached. I regularly post videos to Instagram showing how I use the cheese slicers to facet and make zig-zag patterns on my pots.

Has Instagram helped your business?

Yes, it's been very effective as a way to market my pots and to show people the processes involved in producing them.

What does a day in the life of Christo Giles look like?

Most days are a mix of daily household chores, a quick trip to the shops, making pots, taking photographs for Instagram and an evening walk.

Do you know how each piece is going to look when you start out?

Most of the time, but sometimes they turn out better than planned.

Ceramicists that inspire you?

Mostly I'm inspired by pots from the past and great masters like Warren MacKenzie and Shoji Hamada.

Your views on South African craft?

I think it's very exciting at the moment. There are many very talented makers in the country and people are supporting them by buying their work.

When you're not in your studio, where would we find you?

Walking in the mountains around my home or at a charity shop or car-boot sale looking for bargains.

What are you working on?

I'm always just working on the next batch of pots.