Learning new pottery techniques

Nathan Liewicki
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Antoinette Badenhorst poses with some of her porcelain creations at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday. The Saltillo, Miss., resident held a workshop and a presentation for eager eager artists to learn about advanced porcelain techniques.

Badenhorst teaches local artists about porcelain

Dorothy Yakiwchuk welcomed the insightful techniques of respected potter Antoinette Badenhorst.

“I’d always just use my hands, but I learned to apply a tool inside a bowl,” said Yakiwchuk. “I’ve seen how you can manipulate its shape and allow it to stretch in a way that I haven’t stretched clay.”

Yakiwchuk was one of about dozen local artists who attended an all-day workshop with Badenhorst at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery (MJMAG) Saturday.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but raised in Namibia, Badenhorst now calls Saltillo, Miss., home. On Saturday, however, she was sharing 33 years of pottery experience with eager, learned minds in the Friendly City.

“She brought an honest approach and was very willing to share all her skills with us,” Yakiwchuk said.

The workshop specifically focused on the nature and history of Badenhorst’s work with porcelain.

She told the Times-Herald her work is all about movement and the energy associated with creating those movements.

This is one of the reasons why no two pieces of her porcelain is alike.

“I’m from a country with the most tranquil air,” she said. “It’s a harsh country, but full of beauty and winding riverbeds – dry, but winding.”

Those natural features, combined with the play of light and shadows, have played a role in Badenhorst’s inspirational artistic creations.

With her porcelain pots, she created them with translucency in mind, as well as the element of quaintness.

Essentially, Badenhorst hoped to pass on to those attending the workshop that porcelain itself has character that can be transformed any way an artist wants.

“I wanted to teach them to understand that they can explore the clay in whatever manner they choose,” she noted. “I wanted to give them inspiration.”

Held to advance the techniques and skills of people with a basic understanding of clay, MJMAG Education Co-ordinator Christy Schweiger said having Badenhorst come to Moose Jaw was a great idea.

“It's important to bring in people from outside the area with different ways of creating and making their work,” she said. “It’s also good for networking and inspiration.”

If people, such as Yakiwchuk, could leave with just one thing they don’t normally do with their own clay creations to experiment with, that’s a win in Schweiger’s books.

Meeting Badenhorst herself was also a plus, added Schweiger.

“When you look at it on the Internet or here you don't know the size, the feel and the weight behind it,” Schweiger said. “Before I'd seen Antoinette's work in person I thought it was monumental and huge, but when she brought them here they were so dainty and so light. 

“Being able to have that personal, hands-on experience is so different from the Internet and looking at pictures.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Moose Jaw Museum, Times-Herald, MJMAG Education Co Antoinette's

Geographic location: Johannesburg, South Africa, Namibia Saltillo Friendly Moose Jaw

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