Cape HOMEMAKERS Expo exhibitor, Mervyn Gers, is internationally renowned for his one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces and handmade dinnerware. His inimitable style is rich in texture, colour and patterns and his pieces have found their way into South Africa’s best kitchens, game lodges, local and international retail outlets and guest houses. We talked to him about his craft, latest projects and inspiration.
You’ve been a sponsor and partner of the Cape HOMEMAKERS Expo for many years. What is it about the Expo that keeps bringing you back?
The Cape HOMEMAKERS Expo has the same media target market as our company, so the partnership provides great and relevant exposure for our ranges.
Are you working on any special new designs or projects at the moment?
Yes, we are busy doing bespoke ranges for new clients, including some exciting collaborations with well known artists.
What’s your favourite piece from your archive?
My favourite range is *Matte White Earth with Bronze Trim. I like the contrast between the rough clay and elegant, metallic rims. *See featured image above.
Where do you seek design inspiration for your ceramic pieces and dinnerware?
For a specific project, I will take into account the chef’s vision as well as my own background. I love travelling and architecture, all of which subconsciously influences one’s approach to design.
You’ve been a ceramicist for many years. What rituals do you have to start work or maintain working?
No specific rituals, per se. I walk through the entire studio each morning on the way to my office, I have a chat to the individual staff members before I settle in.
Tell us a little more about the limited Walter Battiss collection. How did this very special collaboration come about?
The Battiss Foundation contacted us and proposed the collaboration. Also, his work with its strong shapes and colours lends itself very well to the medium.
Is their personal significance for you in recreating Battiss’ works as ceramic pieces?
His work has never before been transferred to ceramics, so it was a very exciting project to be involved in.
What do you love about what you do?
I enjoy one-off interior commissions, finding new ways for the medium to be used. We make our own clay and glazes and as a result we are constantly busy with product development so the environment is always a stimulating one.
What does great design mean to you?
Simplicity and surprise.
What is the most beautiful item you own?
An armoire I inherited from my father. My grandfather brought it with him when he relocated from Germany in the early 1900’s.
What are the most significant developments in décor and design in your opinion?
There is a strong trend towards artisanal products. People want products with a story, made by humans and not machines. I believe it creates a feeling of connectedness which is often missing in the world as we know it today.
What is on the horizon for the next year?
We plan on expanding our product offering beyond ceramics… there are some exciting developments in the pipeline!
Do you have a quote to live by?
No specific quotes or mottos. I like seeing how life unfolds each day.