Lorrae Mehmel designer and owner of Tamarillo ceramics chats to Handsome Things about overcoming challenges, building a brand and capturing South Africa in silhouettes.
What’s your background and how did you get into ceramics?
As a child I struggled through school, continually battling to keep up and having to work harder than my school friends. I then underwent various academic testing not only in junior school but it was a month prior to my IEB Matric Examinations that the School body discovered that I was dyslexic in a number of areas. Never before had I felt so betrayed by academic institutions. I however passed my IEB Exams and excelled in Art.
Having vowed never to be drawn in by another institution I started working as a gallery assistant, surrounding myself, with the best South African artists had to offer. I absorbed so much energy and talent for those two years and will be eternally grateful for the opportunity.
I was then asked to move into retail, expanding an already existing décor outlet into a gallery environment, I was in my element, and it was here that I realized that I could start trying out different mediums, painting on plates and creating pieces that I loved. The pieces were such a success that I decided to go it alone.
Terrifying as it was, I doubted my ability to handle this on my own, I felt my only way to make a success of the situation was to create pieces that I liked, which I did and I have not looked back.
Where do you get the inspiration for your ceramics?
Using black and white, turning simple every day silhouettes like my ‘bird on a wire’, the ‘fynbos’ and ‘Karoo scenes’ into my personal interpretations which I depict in my art and shows my love for the outdoors. The creations are chic and functional, something unique and different.
Tamarillo is now three years old, had it not been my uphill battle at school and the determination to succeed, I would not have been able to take on the industry and compete with some of South Africa’s best. Having completed matric in 2006 I cannot believe my success in the short space of time and I am proud to have excelled on my own, in my own way and doing my own thing.
You can catch Tarmarillo at the Design Indaba expo or visit her blog for more handsome creations: http://www.tamarilloceramics.blogspot.com/
Images via http://www.tamarilloceramics.blogspot.com/