The Inhabit Workshop is a place for you to find new tips and techniques for small projects around your home. When it comes to decorating and design, many homeowners choose to make their own items and boycott mass-retailers. This is a great way to ensure your home truly has unique pieces that cannot be found anywhere else. Jana Nel is a ceramicist known for creating bespoke pieces for your lifestyle. For her, the unrealistic views of having control over everything is challenged daily in her ceramics journey. A perfectionist at heart, Jana quickly learned that when it comes to arts and crafts, there is no guarantee how things will turn out.

Jana will be active at the InHabit Workshop demonstrating fun ways to create your own ceramics and will have a stand at the Truly Artisan show feature. We asked Jana a few questions.

First things first. Why ceramics?

I was born with a fiery creative passion. Baking, photography, oil painting – I’ve tried it all. The thing I love about working with clay is that this art form demands your attention. You forget about everything and you’re simply allowed to ‘create’, from the feel of the clay in your hands. You can see how you craft an object from a ball of clay which turns into something extraordinary. Ceramics has taught me many life lessons too. It requires extreme patience because there are so many elements you can’t control (the temperature for example). If it’s a warm sunny day your clay might dry too quickly and if it’s a rainy day, your clay might not dry quick enough). These variables need to be considered when producing one-of-a-kind ceramic objects.

What will you be offering visitors at the InHabit Workshop?

We’ll have two different workshops, one focused on clay and all the various processes it undergoes to actually become a ceramic. It’s such an interesting process and one that very few people know how it works. Our second workshop is a demonstration on how to use air-dry clay, to mimic a ceramic piece. This is a great way for people to learn how they can tackle some clay-projects at home that does not need firing.

Where do you find inspiration for your one-of-a-kind clay aesthetics?

It generally comes from my love for making our house a home. Serving delicious food in beautiful serving ware is important to me. So all my objects, bowls en vessels would be something that I’d personally want to use in my home. It is a true reflection of my minimalistic style.

Do you have a favourite piece from any of your collections?

I have a love affair with terracotta clay. My favourite piece is my Sahara Footed Bowl from my signature collection. The bowls are handmade from terracotta clay, glazed on the inside and left ‘raw’ on the outside. It is embellished with small 24-carat flecks of gold on the outside. They have so many uses. From being a pure aesthetic display in your living room to serving a salad, or doing a flower arrangement. 

You regularly post about making your house a home. What does our theme, InHabit mean to you in that context?

A house is just four walls and a roof. To make your house a home you need to fill your space with objects that spark joy in your life. Objects that add beauty to ‘everyday’ life, not just on special occasions. So whip our your gran’s silverware for your weekly dinner. Serve your roast chicken in a beautiful serving platter and enjoy your ‘home-objects’ on an everyday basis.

What home decor trends can we look forward to in 2020?

There’s definitely a strong focus on a monochromatic trend. Your walls, floor coverings, decorative objects all follow a very similar colour palette. Perhaps I’ll try my hand at a terracotta on terracotta decorating effort in our home. One thing to always keep in mind is that something you truly like will never go out of style.

Come visit Jana at the HOMEMAKERS Expo at the end of this month!