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WIEBKE VON BISMARCK
Wiebke started pottery in 1977 with Helene Elliot and Lesley-Ann Hoets.
Attended part-time classes for two years at the Technical College in Paarl under Ralph Johnson.
Participated in Regional and National exhibitions since 1980, as well as being accepted for the SA Ceramic Award Exhibition in Durbanville.
Participates regularly in group exhibitions throughout South Africa.
Specializes in burnished sawdust-fired and majolica-decorated large bowls, platters and more recently, making white and white/beige decorated big pots and white and beige thinly crafted bowls and pots.
Award winner for hand-build ware at the Regional Exhibition 1996
Merit Award at Ceramics Biennale 1998 in Johannesburg.
In 2006 and 2008 Iziko Museum bought in total three pots of Wiebke’s which now form part of their permanent collection.
“I am drawn to the earthiness of African ceramics”, says von Bismarck, standing beside a kiln filled with smoldering sawdust and newspapers. She is fire-glazing several vases, which will leave them with a random pattern of black blaze marks. “This is a traditional African method of firing; it’s interesting because you cannot control the outcome,” she cheerfully observes. She has lived in South Africa for 42 years and has been an award-winning potter for the last three decades. The shape of her pieces shows a keen appreciation of traditional majolica and stoneware, including a magnificent birdbath ringed with tiny ceramic birds.
The following is an extract from Wilma Cruise’s review of The 2008 Corobrik National Ceramics Exhibition at The University of Johannesburg Art Gallery:
Wiebke von Bismarck’s circular stoneware form also suggests growth. Her pot is evocative of an undersea landscape – perhaps an enlarged sea anemone or some pale form growing in a vegetable patch. In true modernist tradition, this minimal vessel is simply entitled “Round Pot”. Von Bismarck is a ceramicist who has been consistent in her oeuvre. One day I would like to see a retrospective of her work at which stage I believe we would uncover a matchless artist who has quietly been working below the radar of critical attention.