About the Artist, Gerhard De Beer
Gerhard de Beer - Ceramic Artist
Crazy Clay products are the children of the imagination of ceramic artist Gerhard de Beer.
Born on the dry plains of the Western Transvaal in 1956 and raised in the Eastern Lowveld of South Africa's Mpumalanga Province, Gerhard de Beer grew up as a true child of the African veld. His creativity was shaped in those early years by the bounty of nature that surrounded his family's farm in the vicinity of the Kruger National Park.
As a young man, Gerhard moved to Pretoria to study fine art, and attended a three-year Raku Training Course under the tutelage of the renowned potter Lesley-Ann Hoets, with whom he has also exhibited. His paintings have been shown at a number of group exhibits in Nelspruit and Pretoria.
Gerhard de Beer began with twelve Crazy Clay products in 1993. Today the company that came from those humble beginnings now has a growing range of over 200 inspiring characters.
Now settled with his family in Rheenendal (a rural area just outside the magical, mystical town of Knysna ), Gerhard draws his inspiration from the indescribable beauty of the Garden Route on the Southern coast of Africa, from the ever-changing Indian Ocean on his doorstep, and from the warm, friendly people that surround him at our Knysna-based Crazy Clay studio.
The Crazy Clay Studio
Our studio is situated in the Garden Route - one of Africa's most beautiful places - and we are acutely conscious of our privileged position. That's why we have a policy of environmental awareness which extends to every aspect of our manufacturing process.
We have devised our processes to be waste-free. We use re-cycled packaging materials wherever we can. Our clay is bought from suppliers whose mining methods are environmentally sound. And the indigenous wood that we use is bought from reputable suppliers who understand and practice sustainable harvesting. We protect - and are proud - of our African heritage, it's people and it's environment.
Our studio is staffed by women drawn from the various communities of the town. All our workers have been taught their craft during our in-house training programmes. Under Gerhard's watchful eye, they are responsible for making, casting and painting our Crazy Clay characters by hand. More than just a business or a studio, Crazy Clay has become an upliftment and job-creation project where many previously disadvantaged people have learned valuable life-skills.
Our Studio Shop
Please visit us if you find yourself in Knysna. We're at number 10 Auction Mart Avenue (just near the fire station, off Waterfront Drive), We're open to the public from 08h30 to 16h30 Mondays to Fridays.