From my studio in Riebeek West (South Africa), I make stylish ceramic homeware under the watchful eye of Della, the black Labrador.
The aim of Black Dog Ceramics is to make handmade pieces of beauty and simplicity, as well as functionality.
Della and I hope that we manage to reflect the care and attention to detail that has gone into making each individual piece something special for you.
ME AND THE DOG
That’s me, Julia Buss, the person who feeds the black dog, Della – the ever present Labrador. I named my business and studio after her because she is a constant part of the creative enterprise. She can tell the time and she gives me at least half an hour’s notice of feeding time, and thereafter minute by minute. She helps with cleaning by drinking clay water and licking lunch crumbs off the floor, and she reminds me daily to get good hospital insurance because she places herself directly underfoot. The studio by the way is hardly big enough for me let alone the two of us, but I guess I have someone to talk to – you know, the long-suffering craft maker, alone but (actually loving it). Just don’t tell anyone ...
ME AND MAKING
Although Della is my inspiration, she leaves all the hard work to me. This means that each piece you order is crafted by my hands only, from start to finish.
I do not use moulds or have the luxury of assistants. Therefore the timing of your order is dependent on the stock available and order volumes. But, of course, Della and I will always do our utmost to fulfil your request as quickly as possible. And we will remain in touch with you throughout the process.
YOU , ME AND CERAMICS
Making and indeed owning ceramics places you smack bang in an ongoing process of who we are as humans. Ceramics are treasured by archaeologists as they are a marker of human habitation, with many vessels pre-dating written history. But my imagination is fired by what I learned doing my Masters degree in 2018 on the work of Zulu ceramists from KwaZulu-Natal.
The ceramic vessel is undoubtedly a participant not only in the social life of its maker and user, but surprisingly it also has a dynamic social and spiritual life of its own. It speaks for us and to us. Perhaps this is why I am driven to reveal the clay colours of Ebony, Brick and Sand in the pieces, in order to maintain the connection with the earth from which clay comes and to which it will return.
I am a maker who believes in the simple and functional above the decorative. My pieces are linear, quiet and tactile. They have something to say to you, if you are willing to listen.