Wonki Ware is the leader in handmade pottery dinnerware, with each piece passing through 14 pairs of hands from start to finish. It all started 20 years ago when Di Marshall started her pottery purely to keep her self occupied while her children were at school. She slowly attracted the attention of the local community and the 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 Lulamile Mthonjeni started arriving every morning looking for work. At that time Wonki Ware was not generating enough income to be able to pay him, but he was willing to do anything.
They started teaching him about clay and to their delight he started producing very sensitively worked platters and bowls. Di began developing patterns that were relatively easy and simple to reproduce but at the same time capturing a sensitivity in pattern and design.
Another person that became invaluable to our team was Les Campbell, who walked into the studio one day and painted a plate. Les, Artwell and Di became a formidable pottery team. Their energy and enthusiasm had people from all over the country popping in to buy our pottery. The word had spread from Cape Town to Johannesburg and orders started to come in.
Wonki Ware presently employs around 80 people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are now all skilled employees in their trade, and are valuable, contributing members in their communities. The products are distributed all over the world and has been spotted in cooking shows of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.
Wonki is truly an authentic and unique handmade brand from South Africa.