So this is our first blog post and I wanted to centre it on the running of the factory and also on all our incredibly talented staff. Sailthru ceramics operates out of the beautiful Loskop Valley in Limpopo South Africa. The factory is located on our family farm which was purchased nearly 40 years ago by my Gramps and Granny, Brian and Iris Chambers. My Gran, mom Lynne and aunt Gill started up the factory together, and its been supplying ceramics to the public and interior shops throughout the country ever since.
My mom, Lynne currently runs the factory and is the creative inspiration behind all of Sailthru’s beautiful ceramics. Mom together with her two talented painters, Lydia and Catherine do all the hand-painted items. Mom is very creative and has a beautiful eye for design. She spends her days in the factory organising all the orders that come in, thinking up new designs and new items which are moulded in situ, re-organising Sailthru’s showroom and much more.
Sailthru is very lucky to have talented staff members, without which we would not be able to accomplish anything. We take pride in the fact that our staff has been with us since we first started the factory in 1990. Most of our staff are Shangaans from Mozambique, we have two lady’s who are local Pedi.
To start off with I’m going to introduce you to Bila. Bila is a gentle giant, a very tall man with a big heart and a big smile. When the factory was started the first person to apply for a job was Bila. He arrived in his leather jacket and dark glasses, my Gramps and Mom interviewed him, and found that he had in fact worked for a ceramics factory in Mozambique and hence knew a lot about earthenware and the casting thereof. He is in charge of mixing the clay and the upkeep and casting of all our moulds. He is an archive of our hundreds of moulds, he knows exactly where to find each one, and let me tell you, it’s not an easy task as there are so many moulds, stored in so many different places!
Lydia is my mom’s right-hand lady, she assists her with hand-painting ceramics, displaying ceramics in the show room and fettling. She usually has a shy smile on her face and is always willing to help with everything. She is the only member of our staff who knows how to handle our millions of dogs on the farm, they know she is a “pack leader” as she does not take any nonsense, but still loves them lots.
Amerigo helps Bila with the casting of moulds and fettlng the raw bisque. He is in charge of packing all our products which is an important process as our aim is to have our ceramics arrive at their destinations intact. Other than his talent for working in the factory, he is an exceptional chef! He often helps out in the kitchens on the farm when we have alot of catering to do, his salads are a picture to behold.
Flavio is perhaps the most crucial member of our team as he is our glazer. He is excellent at his job, resulting in beautifully glazed ceramics. Glazing is a fine art and not everyone has the special touch that it requires. He not only dips the items into the glaze but he sprays each dipped item with a spray gun to ensure even coverage. This is not easy to do, as one must not be heavy handed or the glaze clogs and leaves marks when fired in our kilns.
Baptiste is a true gentleman, everything he does, he does with such finesse. He is in charge of making lamp shades (as we have 85 different shapes of lamp bases). He also makes our carry bags for the showroom out of recycled paper and twine. He is busy making bunting for clients at the moment and is truly a jack of all trades.
Pedro is our mould maker, he was thrown in at the deep end, when our previous mould maker sadly passed away. He is a stalwart and has done an amazing job. Mould making is extremely complicated but he takes this in his stride and always has a solution to every problem.
Catherine, has been on the farm since 1976 thereabouts. She is a gracious lady who paints so meticulously and her finishing off of any hand-painted item is superb. She helps my mom churn out hand-painted items.
Here are a few images of the inside of the ceramics factory where everything happens:
And so we come to the end of our first blog post, this is the first of many! Have a super week!