Before long my little studio became a meeting place for other potters and people that enjoyed being creative. At around the same time, a young Xhosa man named Artwell started arriving every morning looking for work. I was not generating much income at that stage to be able to pay him, but he was willing to do anything. I started teaching him about clay. To my delight, he started producing very sensitively worked platters and bowls. I began developing patterns that were relatively easy and simple to reproduce.
Another person that became invaluable to our team walked into the studio one day and painted a plate. Les, Artwell and I became a formidable pottery team. Our energy and enthusiasm had people from all over the country showing up to buy our pottery. The word had spread from Cape Town to Johannesburg and before long we had orders that were keeping us very busy! Then Janice joined our team and became our first agent and representative, and before long we had our pottery showcased in some on the most prestigious stores in South Africa.
We have are presently employing around 80 people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are now all skilled employees in their trade thereby contributing members in their communities. Our skilled potters are now training new-comers in the art of making Wonki Ware. It is with great pleasure and pride that I feel I can hand over this side of the business to my employees. Wonki Ware is a product that was developed purely by chance. It was borne from a collective energy of 3 people whose excitement and enthusiasm were endless. It still amazes me today what we unintentionally created. The vibrant, warm spirit of Africa is clearly visible in our pottery and I thank our potters and South Africans for their enthusiasm and love for what we do.