Although Wonki Ware originates from a small town called George, along South Africa’s Garden Route, we first encountered the brand somewhat closer to home – at an exhibition in Paris.
Meeting Wonki Ware’s charming and enthusiastic founder, Di Marshall, we quickly realised that these fantastic pieces of handcrafted pieces of artisan pottery in their often jewel-like colours would be perfect for Divertimenti. Many happy hours later, we’d laid out pieces over tables – and when we ran out of table space, the floor – and selected a range of patterns, shapes and colours that we loved. Wonki Ware isn’t pottery that you choose from a catalogue of standardised pieces – every item is a unique combination of pattern and hand-painted colour that gives it a unique appeal.
Wonki Ware has a wonderful story. Di began the pottery as a hobby – looking to fill the mornings when she’d driven her children into town for school – before driving home to the family farm in the afternoon. Soon, though, the little pottery became a meeting place for other potters and creative people, many looking for work. Di taught them how to replicate her shapes and found others who could paint. The reputation of the pottery grew – firstly in South Africa and then internationally.
Today the pottery provides employment for around 70 skilled people from disadvantaged backgrounds and provides training for many more.
We were delighted to introduce Wonki Ware to Divertimenti – and even more pleased when we learned how many of our customers already had an affection for the pottery, typically from their travels in Africa.
As cookery books and food photography have taught us, the presentation of food gives us our first impression of how good it’s going to taste. The handmade piece of Wonki Ware tableware lend themselves perfectly to making even the most delicious dish look even more appetising.