Bermuda Plates - America's Cup


Beautiful pottery by South African Artist, Theo Kleyhans. Owner, Heather Macdonald first saw his work at a hotel in Johannesburg and fell in love with his visuals. He had layers of plates all over the walls. She contacted him to custom make plates with Bermuda imagery as well as other animals and zodiacs for Atelerie. A beautiful keepsake on its own or layer on a wall for a stunning visual effect.

  • Made individually by hand of Lustre Fired Earthenware & 14K gold
  • Diameter approx 7"
  • Made in South Africa

Theo Kleyhans Artist Statement:


The plates are Lustre Fired Earthenware and the gold on it is 14K. I start off by throwing a black clay plate (Black clay body is very high in magnesium to give me the colour) Then while that is leatherhard (not too dry but holding its shape) I paint a layer of white clay onto the plate. Then I work it off and do the drawing by scratching through the white layer to reveal the dark clay underneath. Then the plate gets fired to bisc at 1000 ℃( short for biscuit because although hard, still sucks up moisture like dunking a biscuit!) On a microscopic level the clay platelets are now fused but there are still little wormholes throughout the claybody. Then I paint a layer of clear glaze onto the plates only in the areas that there will be gold lustre. Then it is back into the kiln to fire to 1100℃ to vitrify the clay body and to melt the glaze to form a smooth glasslike surface. Onto this surface the gold is painted on. The gold is in a pine oil suspension and the whole studio smells like a pine forest when i do the lustre. In summer I also have to close windows because bees are very attracted to the scent. Then back into kiln to fire to 792℃. At this stage the glazebody just becomes marshmallow-like and the gold floats on top in a microscopic layer. I love all these alchemical processes in my work. It is like working with something ancient and magical.


The meaning in my work has always been concerned with memory and loss. The mere fact that we cannot remember everything that happened to us yesteday is already a portent of loss. Memory is such a sketchy thing but we are finally defined by our memories, by that which has imprinted on us deeply enough to remain and by that very process become the building block of identity. I feel that my work is completed when the viewer comes to the visual stimuli I present on these plates and use their own reference framework (read memories) to create a narrative. Thereby linking disparate imagery to form a story that could only exist with the assisance of the viewer. So the works needs a viewer to complete it. And that work will “belong” only to that viewer because it contains that specific viewer’s specific memories.

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