About Mariana Serfontein


While visiting me in my studio recently, someone commented: "This is my dream", and I answered: "It is my dream come true."

Experiences, good or bad, make you what you are, and fate can make you take strange detours.

I cannot honestly say that I always had the specific dream of living on a farm in the Karoo and making clay pots. As a teenager, when I was stressed, I would retreat to an imaginary quiet place, often rural, always with flowing water, with the sound of farm animals in the background.

I was born in Cape Town in 1952. My mother was Rh negative (blood group) and my father Rh positive, and I was a "blue baby". Up until then blood was thought to be blood and scientists only realized in 1951 that certain blood groups were incompatible. I was the first baby in Cape Town to receive a total blood transfusion which saved my life. My parents, and especially my father, told me the story of my survival often, always with intense emotion.

I married young, had two children in quick succession and was widowed at 32.

I remarried, added 3 stepchildren to the entourage, and I must admit some days wondered whether I HAD BEEN, or soon WOULD BECOME, mad. Space to Breathe in the Karoo

Looking back, all the above has made me really, really appreciate life and I try not to postpone doing things that are important to me. The fact that my husband has always supported and encouraged me and thinks that anything I do is marvelous, even though it is sometimes pretty hideous, also played its part in bringing me to this small farm halfway between Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves.

We were no longer in the first flush of youth, and had sworn high and low we would never build a new house or establish a garden from flat, raw earth ever again.

We bought a lucerne land.

The first thing we built was a long shed, which was divided into three equal sections. One for the pottery, one for the production of pickled olives and olive oil, produced from an olive grove that we intended to establish, and the third for my husband's hobby, woodwork.

I won't bore you with the details of the building or planting. Suffice to say we employed three plumbers and three years later still have some (nasty) surprises, waiting for exactly the right inopportune moment.

I know the above is not really relevant to my life as potter, but maybe I am only a potter by default.



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