Tag Archives: swellendam

Summer 2021 at Bukkenburg Pottery, Swellendam

New Year Greetings from Swellendam, and a warm welcome back to Bukkenburg Pottery Studio, Gallery & Guest Cottage at the beginning of what seems to be another very turbulent and worrying year ahead.

Once again we extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all who have supported our efforts over the last while; your continued support has helped us to sustain ourselves during these very trying times.

We are grateful for the commissioned work, large and small, which has so helped us work through these turbulent times, and also to those who visited the studio over the holiday season and bought something from us to take home with them.

This lovely pair of wheel-thrown stoneware planters are at their new home in Johannesburg.

Much of the past while has been spent working on a commission for very big indoor and outdoor planters.  The wet work, including some extras, is more or less done and as soon as we have the final finish and colour requirements from the client, the pots will be fired. 
We’ll also be firing the smaller commissions and orders that have come in, and also some new work for the gallery.

Overall, we are busy and productive with some ongoing work right here at home – a lot to be thankful for in these uncertain times ..!

It is alarming to hear that the rates of Covid-19 infection, hospitalization and death in our country are growing; and even in a small rural town like this, we are aware of and know people who are really suffering with the virus and some who have succumbed.

A second wave of the Coronavirus is causing such unbearable pain, suffering and hardship around the world, including our own country, and after a brief respite in ‘lockdown’ level 1 towards the end of last year, here, we are back to ‘lockdown’ level 3.

There are several local welfare and charity initiatives set up to help those who have fallen on harder times during the pandemic, providing food and comfort to those hardest hit, and the local population is always willing to spring into action when called on to help.

Local medical services are operating under increasing strain as the virus continues to spread in and around Swellendam.

This version of Level 3 ‘lockdown’ includes several severe measures which have had a devastating impact on the economy, agriculture, and an already struggling domestic travel industry over the summer.

Some of these measures and restrictions which were introduced at the beginning of the holiday season include the total closure of all beaches in our part of the world, a complete ban on all alcohol sales, night time curfew from 9.00 pm to 6.00 am, closure of land borders with neighbouring countries amongst others.

These measures and restrictions have had a specially devastating impact on the wine industry of the Western Cape, an industry that employs over 300 000 people and is central to the economy of the region.

The wine growing region in our part of the world is largely to the west of us and to the south, very close to Swellendam.

This article by winemaker Bruce Jack paints a very touching and disturbing picture of what is being faced:

Bruce Jack on the devastating human and industry cost of Covid-19

Vineyards and the Breede River in summer near Bonnievale, Western Cape

By contrast, we hear that the grain famers of the Swellendam district have had a very good harvest, and things are looking promising for them, which will have a beneficial impact on the town.  We wrote about this in our September newsletter, before the harvest came in, and if you scroll down, you will find it there.

Wheat fields near Riviersonderend after the harvest.

In our immediate area we are seeing growing unemployment, poverty and misery all around us, and daily there are people ringing our door bell asking for something to do, a ‘piece job’, just to get something to eat.
Others desperately asking for a sandwich.

According to Statistics SA, more than 17 million South Africans, one in five, rely on social welfare grants from the state; and even in this small rural town there are unbelievably long queues of desperate people standing in line for their welfare grant payments on their designated days.

Our own strategy for now involves going out as seldom as possible with masks and hand sanitizer, and only for those things we really need; there are bottles of sanitizer around the house, gallery, studio, and cottage; washing hands etc etc, and most specially staying away from busy or crowded places if we can.

As expected, visitor numbers are significantly down on previous years, and the usual flow of foreign travelers to this part of the world seems to have almost dried up completely for now. 

It is doubtful that we’ll experience any real return of travellers to our region until there are enough vaccinated people who feel confident to travel again, and that seems to be a long way off.

The summer months have brought a slow, steady flow of visitors to the studio, and we have been fortunate to have also had several bookings in the cottage over the holiday season.

Accommodation at the Studio

Our guest cottage is available for an overnight stay or longer.

For further information please have a look at our accommodation page where there are pictures and a full description of what is available.


Spring / Summer 2020/21

And as the year begins to get underway, we are again experiencing ongoing nation-wide power cuts – called ‘load shedding’ here.
Sometimes two or even three 2 1/2 hour events a day.
Not easy dodging these cuts in electricity supply and still remaining productive and upbeat !

It’s harder now to imagine where the leadership will come from to help change direction here towards something more positive.
This article written by Marianne Merten in the Daily Maverick this week provides a sobering look at what the coming year might hold for this country:

Sadly, due to the curfew this year, we were unable to take our stroll through town late on New Year’s Eve and make our by now traditional ‘Abbey Road Crossing’ over the main street.

Here’s a picture from last year’s walk:

Huge excitement during the summer when a pair of Spotted Eagle Owls hatched two eggs in a hollow in an oak tree right here in our neighbour’s garden.
Needless to say they provided the best photo opportunity imaginable. Here are some of the pictures of one of the adults and the two owlets:

Spotted Eagle Owl – one of the parents

We have found the available digital communications and media reassuring during the lock-down period, and like so many, we have been able to stay in touch with family, friends and customers around the country and the world.
Within the next month or so we will be hooked up to the internet with the newly installed fibre network in town and we’re looking forward to high-speed, trouble-free communications.
The paperwork is all done, and now we wait for the area to go ‘live’.

Our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram have become essential tools in our working and social lives.

Please visit and ‘like’ our Social Media links:
Facebook Studio Page
Facebook – Bukkenburg Pottery
Facebook Accommodation Page
Facebook – David

We have a new e-mail address: david@pottery.co.za
Please add it to your address books, the old one will be phased out over time.

The studio, gallery and garden are open and working daily, and visitors are welcome.
Please call ahead if travelling from afar, just to be sure that we’re here and available on the day.

Wishing you all the best in good health and safety as we begin the new year.

Please take care of yourselves and each other ..!

David and Felicity
Bukkenburg – Swellendam
January – 2021

WhatsApp: +27 (0) 82 342 5453
E-mail: david@pottery.co.za

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Winter in Swellendam

Winter in the Southern Cape – flowering canola fields and the Langeberg Mountains near Swellendam.

Winter in Swellendam –

Some new work and the Swellendam Winter School.

It’s an ongoing busy winter in Swellendam, some of the big orders have been fired and shipped, and we also have some new work in the gallery.

Smaller orders and the rest of the bigger pots still to be fired before we can get on with work for the spring and coming summer.

Here are some of new pots:

More pictures of the new pots in a future post and ongoing on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


Swellendam Winter School

The Swellendam Winter School began last month by running several 3-day and 5-day courses in various disciplines and activities for the three winter months, June to August.

We have held two well-attended 3-day weekend courses since the inception of the Winter School which we’ve called ‘Clay Explorations’ – one in June, the other in July, with a third planned for the weekend of 23 to 25 August.

For details and further info on our August ‘Clay Explorations’ Course including bookings and accommodation options please CLICK HERE

For further information about the Swellendam Winter School, the courses, bookings, accommodation options etc, please CLICK HERE

Here are a few pictures from the first two courses this winter:

We hope to broaden our offerings for next year’s Winter School with more advanced courses for experienced potters looking to enhance their skills.

We’re thinking of an advanced throwing course, and one focused on glazing and firing high temperature reduction-fired stoneware and porcelain.

Details will follow.

Our thanks and appreciation to all those involved in getting this initiative off the ground this winter – organizers, course facilitators and the participants who have come from far and wide.


Accommodation at the studio

Our recently renovated and refurbished guest cottage is available on a self-catering basis for those wanting to stay over in Swellendam on their travels.

The cottage offers luxury accommodation comprising two en-suite, air-conditioned bedrooms, kitchen, lounge with wood burning fire, full DSTV package and outdoor veranda.

Please contact us for further details, availability and rates.
For pictures of the cottage please click HERE


Please let us know if you would like to be included on our mailing list.
Our e-mail address: bukkenburg@sdm.dorea.co.za


Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam – A wonderful opportunity for local residents and visitors.

The Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam will held at Bukkenburg Pottery  Friday 10 June 2016

strauss & co at bukkenburg

Strauss & Co, Valuation Day In Swellendam

June 2016

Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Specialists from Strauss & Co will be in Swellendam for obligation-free valuations for one day only – Friday 10 June.

Do you know what your art and antiques are worth ?

Specialists from Strauss & Co will be visiting East London, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Swellendam and Hermanus  in June to conduct obligation-free valuations of paintings, sculpture, silver, and Chinese porcelain.

Strauss & Co, South Africa’s premier auction house, is currently sourcing consignments of art and antiques ahead of their October auction in Cape Town.

Strauss & Co is the global market leader for South African art. They have sold nine of the ten most expensive paintings ever sold at auction in South Africa and hold records for numerous South African artists. Last year Strauss & Co set 21 new artist records and boasts a sell-through rate, by lot and value combined, of over 80% the highest in the market. Strauss & Co also holds records for Cape and English silver and Cape and Continental furniture.

Strauss & Co experts travel the country regularly sourcing top quality art and antiques for inclusion in their prestigious auctions held in Cape Town and Johannesburg. There is great excitement when they discover rare and interesting pieces destined to achieve unexpectedly high prices at auction.

Some fabulous finds by experts on the move include:

  • Vladimir Tretichoff’s Sunflowers found in Petermaritzburg in February of this year sold for R1 705 200 at the recent Strauss & Co Johannesburg Auction on 23 May 2016.

Vladimir Tretchikoff - 360 x 360. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Vladimir Tretchikoff – 360 x 360. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

  • Penny SiopisCake Tapers was discovered in Natal and sold in June 2014 for R280 000.

Penny Siopis - Cake Tapers. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Penny Siopis – Cake Tapers. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

  • Anton van Wouw’s Bad News sold in 2010 for R2.2 million, setting a world record for the artist which was only broken in 2015 by Strauss & Co when Miner With Hand Drill sold for R4.8 million.

Bad News - Anton van Wouw. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Bad News – Anton van Wouw. Strauss & Co Valuation Day in Swellendam

Strauss & Co specialists are highly respected for their expertise, professionalism and in-depth knowledge of the market, which allows them to give accurate, market-related estimates. Senior Furniture and Decorative Arts Specialist, Vanessa Phillips, and Art Specialists, Kirsty Colledge and Alex Richards, will be providing valuations of paintings, sculpture, silver, and Chinese porcelain.

The cost is R20 per item, limited to a maximum of 5 items per person.

The proceeds raised during the valuation day in Swellendam will be donated to Swellendam SPCA.


Vanessa Phillips is the joint Managing Director of Strauss & Co specialising in decorative arts, furniture, silver and porcelain. She has worked in this field for three decades alongside her former colleague and friend the late Stephan Welz.

Kirsty Colledge is a specialist in South African paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts, majoring in painting, from Michaelis School of Fine Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management from the University of Cape Town in 2009. She has worked in the Paintings Department at Strauss & Co, Cape Town, since 2011.

Alexander Richards is also a specialist in South African paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts degree at Wits University and was the winner of the prestigious Martienssen Prize for artistic excellence, as well as the Anya Millman scholarship for overseas travel.  He joined Strauss & Co in 2014 and has readily embraced the auction world.

Take advantage of Strauss & Co‘s experts being in town, you never know what surprises may be in store.  And at R20 per item, this is a wonderful opportunity to have some of your precious possessions appraised by recognised experts.  Proceeds of the day will be going to Swellendam SPCA.  Tea and coffee will be available.

Bina Genovese
083 680 9944



Date and Time Place Contact for appointment Beneficiary

6 June 2016




East London


Ann Bryant Art Gallery


9 St Mark Rd, East London

Leon du Preez


043 722 4044


Friends of the Ann Bryant Art Gallery

7 June 2016







The Observatory Museum


Bathurst Street, Grahamstown


Amy van Wezel


046 622 2312



Friends of the Albany Museum

8 June 2016




Port Elizabeth


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum


1 Park Dr, Port Elizabeth

Roxanne Bowers


041 506 2000



Friends of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum



9 June 2016






The Knysna Library


Main Street, Memorial Square, Knysna

Strauss & Co


021 683 6560



Friends of the Knysna Library



10 June 2016






Bukkenburg Pottery


8 Hermanus Steyn Street , Swellendam


Strauss & Co


021 683 6560



Swellendam SPCA

14 June 2016


10am – 4pm




The Marine Hotel


Marine Drive, Hermanus

Michelle van Zyl


082 5653 627


Camphill School Hermanus


About Strauss & Co:

Strauss & Co is South Africa’s leading auction house by value. It was founded in 2009 by a consortium of business leaders and industry experts, including Stephan Welz, Elisabeth Bradley, Conrad Strauss, Vanessa Phillips, Ann Palmer and Bina Genovese.

The company has the highest market share amongst the three leading auction houses specialising in South African art globally. In 2015 the company’s turnover surpassed R200 million – a sum unrivaled by any auction house dealing in South African art in a single year.