Clay allows me to express my history in theatre, passion for architecture, love of poetry and humour in the way I view the world around me..”
Trayci Tompkins trained in Theatre Crafts and Performing Arts before a well-loved career in media. But it was clay that became her passion, when she set up her first full time pottery studio in South Africa in 1995.
1995 After setting up her first pottery studio, Trayci dedicates her skills on statement hand-coiled smoke fired urns and Raku fired vessels and sculpture, becoming well known through regular sell-out exhibitions and solo showings.
2003 Trayci realises a talent in her then part time employer, Tim Dlamini, and mentors him in the art of clay sculpture, later creating a range of quirky ruler high figurines that are collectively known as ‘The Dlamini’. The studio projects soon grow to employ and train others in the production of creative ceramics for the home.
2006 Together with and her husband Stuart, The Tompkins’ trademark their ZULU LULU brand and open a new production ceramic studio and retail outlet. Their ‘South African inspired’ ceramics include a range of quirky tableware and wheel thrown pots, alongside their ever-popular Dlamini figurines. Ceramics are exported to galleries worldwide as well as showcased in their flagship Zulu Lulu Art House Gallery in the KZN Midlands.
2013 ZULU LULU cease production of the tableware ceramics, allowing Trayci to focus her attention on the vibrant ZULU LULU Art House.. As gallery curator, she is tasked with curating and marketing the work of other South African fine artists, photographers, sculptors and ceramic artists, alongside her own. It is during this time that Trayci and Stuart build ZULU LULU into a recognisable brand.
2018 The Tompkins’ sell the ZULU LULU Trademark to Charles and Vanessa Cadman along with their flagship Gallery in the Midlands,, Allowing Trayci more studio time to create her individual art, as well as further develop The Dlamini Collection.
2019 With her experience in retail marketing, artist promotion and brand building, Trayci writes regular Art related business blogs and articles. Working from her home studio in The Dargle, KZN, Trayci combines her love for hand building in clay with a new found passion for Printing lino cut and Painting on canvas.
Follow her journey on Instagram or connect on email.
READ: Trayci Tompkins Blog articles here
Inspired by art forms in nature and ancient unearthed treasures, Trayci’s sought-after hand coiled vessels and urns add a statement to any room. The random and spontaneous effects from the gas fired Raku glazes and ethereal patterning created with salt, horse hair and sawdust in the smoke fired pit – gives each piece a unique personality.
In contrast to these uncontrolled firing methods, Trayci also employs a more predictable electric firing for her artworks. Here she layers textured patterning and applies colourful slips under formulated glazes. Theatrical characters, over-sized vases and quirky range of ‘It’s a dog’s life’ sculptural pieces are all fired in this way… The ability to push clay into new directions, gives each piece a fresh and highly original energy.
See Trayci’s range of work on THE GALLERY page
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