For the Love of James | David Schlapobersky & Felicity Potter | Episode 82

David Schlapobersky & Felicity Potter | Episode 82

David and Felicity

David Schlapobersky & Felicity PotterDavid Schlapobersky and Felicity Potter, – studio potters in high temperature, reduction fired stoneware and porcelain – a working partnership since 1973.

They live and work in Swellendam, a small rural town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa where they have the heritage house “Bukkenburg”.

Their work is mostly wheel thrown with some slab work and is hand made using their own blends and mixes of clay, glazes, slips and oxides.

David and Felicity porcelain mugs. reduction fired to cone 12

Their output is diverse and prolific, producing a range of work from tableware and decorative pieces to pots of monumental size, garden and indoor containers, decorative urns, washbasins, water features and wine jars etc..


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David and Felicity  stoneware jar, panels and textured surface, wood ash glaze - 680mm tall, reduction fired to cone 12

David and Felicity stoneware wine jar (amphora), grey green glaze top and unglazed body, 1 200mm tall, reduction fired to cone 12FELICITY,  WHAT KIND OF HABITS DO YOU EMPLOY TO KEEP YOUR CREATIVITY FRESH?

I usually start by going to the broom cupboard and getting the broom out and sweeping the kitchen. While I’m sweeping the kitchen a lot of ideas are flowing through my head and when the house is all clean and neat and tidy, I go to the workshop and get on with the job.


It’s not very different. Obsessive, repetitive jobs help to focus your mind.

David and Felicity stoneware vase - 220mm tall, copper red and wood ash pours on smooth fine body. reduction fired to cone 12WHO INSPIRES YOU, FELICITY?

I think the inspiration comes from the environment and my interest in various aspects of decorative design and I think just keeping in touch with new glazes is very inspirational.

I think what inspires us most is opening the kiln and getting so inspired and excited by what comes out.


In a general sense, the inspiration comes from the feeling that I get when I look at these high temperature pots. I just need to make more and more of them.

David and Felicity stoneware plate - 380mm diam, off white glaze, brush decoration using various oxides and slips, reduction fired to cone 12

David and Felicity stoneware ginger jar - 240 mm tall, green glaze with brush decoration using iron, coblat and copper. reduction fired to cone 12WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO HONOR BY GIVING YOUR ONE SPECIAL PIECE TO?

I would want to run it by the guy who got me going, Tim Morris. And present it that it might be part of his collection. I would like his comments and feed back on it. As he is not longer with us, I would give it to one of his children.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR STUDIO? (Felicity and David answered together)

We could go the very personal route and selfishly say, it’s ours. It’s our space. The space is enormous. We have all the space in the world. It is where the magic happens.  It’s got doors on all sides which means in the really searing heat it is the coolest place. It’s just wonderful.

David and Felicity stoneware floor jar - 850mm tall, unglazed top and bottom, mid section grey green glaze with brushwork in iron, cobalt, rutile and copper. reduction fired

David and Felicity porcelain vase, celadon glaze with brushwork in copper red and cobalt. reduction fired to cone 12.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO LISTEN TO?

Yesterday we listened to a band from the 70’s called Little Feat. It depends on the mood. This afternoon we played some Bach. Folk music, Bob Dylan, African music, you name it.


Book Cover

The Ascent of Man by Jacob Brownowski
Book Cover

Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person by M.C. Richards

David and Felicity porcelain lidded boxes, blue glaze with brush decoration using iron, coblat and copper.

David and Felicity porcelain bowl - 220mm diam, white glaze with iron dips, brush decoration using cobalt, iron and copper. reduction fired to cone 12.

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  • That was wonderful Paul, thank you so much, it all sounded so real.
    Great also that you found the lovely song !
    With love and best wishes,
    David and Felicity

  • Mike Ellis

    Congratulations on all the hard work and never giving up!

  • Candy van Olst

    I am in tears listening to this podcast. I have known David since 1962 when we were at the same primary school. Besides my family, he is the person I have known the longest. I see him and Felicity at least once a year when I visit them at Bukkenburg pottery. He and Felicity are the most wonderful people, filled with a quiet joy.I know that a lot of this comes from the presence that is James. Their absolute devotion to him has invested everything they do with light and grace. My life is better because I know them and can call them friends.