From clay to bronze

From clay to bronze

“I am at my happiest when I have clay in my hands.” Carol Cauldwell is fast becoming well-known in the South African art community for her dream-like bronze works. Carol grew up in the beautiful surroundings of the Magaliesburg valley and was inspired by her father’s love for art. She attended the Johannesburg school of Art, Ballet, Drama and Music, first studying music and later changing over to art. Carol continued her studies at Wits Technicon, obtaining a diploma in ceramics. She opened From a pottery studio in Magaliesburg. The studio was a huge success and soon became a thriving factory, supplying chain stores across South Africa with hand-painted crockery. The studio produced 4 000 pieces per day. After a bad turn in Carol’s business, she turned to iconography and painted numerous icons in two Orthodox churches, fully clad with her stylised patterns and iconography.  However, Carol yearned to do three-dimensional artwork. On her 40th birthday she did a woodturning course but found wood very sterile and static. “Doing woodturning was so very round and very brown and I longed for the fluidity of clay.” “I went to a Dylan Lewis (well-known wildlife sculptor) exhibition. The same day I bought some clay, found out where the nearest studio was and I started sculpting.” Carol’s work was a mix of stylisation and realism, telling stories about humanity and its oddities.  “I was in a difficult marriage and I started doing some very angry, sulky characters. After my divorce, my anger was gone.” By 2011 Carol started to fulfil her lifelong dream when she started sculpting in wax which was then cast in bronze. “I found enormous joy in this creative process.” After her first solo exhibition, Trent Read, the guru of the South African art industry, asked Carol if he could mentor her. “Trent is an absolute gentleman and extremely knowledgeable on the world-wide art industry.  “The last year was crazy, I managed to get my works into four major collections in the country. My art has become more serious now. I’m currently working on pieces with children and fishermen as themes.” Carol is using the Renzo Vignali Artistic Foundry in Pretoria, a sixgeneration foundry that used to cast the original Anton van Wouw sculptures. The casting is a hard but wonderful process. South Africa is becoming a worldwide hub for bronze artworks – these artists are starting to do really well.

CAROL ON HER ART WORK: “I find inspiration everywhere. I just look around and it doesn’t take long to get an idea.” (Lady with bird on head) “I was having a bit of a tough time and decided to go for a walk. A few metres into the walk a dove settled on my head for about 5 minutes, pecking away, almost affectionately. Initially I thought it was a young bird learning to fly and that I was the first thing in its path to perch on. After a while I put my hand near his feet and he sat on my hand. I had called my daughter who was quite a way down the road and after coming to me she stroked it and had a good look. It eventually flew away very confidently. It was a beautiful and touching moment that I wanted to immortalise. It made me feel part of a bigger picture, and that my experiences were both acknowledged and understood. It helped me to personally calm down and gave me a very strong sense of assurance and peace. Sometimes we just need to close our yes to our immediate realities and concentrate on things inward and more spiritual. This is my reminder. (Source:

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