Our Contributing Artists
Part of ERP Mercantile’s mission in curating a world class selection, is to give artists a chance to promote and sell their works. The artist featured here also have a strong sense of conservation and community responsibility, and have in their own way found a means to contribute to the cause. ERP Mercantile is proud to offer them a platform and means by which to realize their vision.
“I’m influenced by my South African Heritage and it reflects in imagery in my art. … My work is very much inspired by my immediate surroundings and the passion I have for my African heritage. … My ceramics is all handpainted, by myself, therefore adding to each piece’s unique and collectable value.”
Lee lives on a small farm with her husband (who owns small stud of Nguni Cattle, aptly registered under "Lobola Nguni Stud") and 2 young sons, Dylan (10) and Joel (8) on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.
Lee grew up in the remote Village of Rhodes, in the Drakensberg, where her parents owned the Rhodes Hotel for 25 years. Her first introduction to clay was through their neighbour, potter John Steele (now Head of art department at Walter Sisulu University). After matriculating from a small school in Barkley East, Lee was accepted into Pretoria University but felt she would benefit more from a hands-on approach. Thus, Lee enrolled in Port Elizabeth Technikon in the Early 1990’s to further her studies in art.
Only in later years did Lee change her focus from Fine Arts to Clay and Ceramics feeling that in order to be successful she needed to move away from her comfort zone. Lee describes the medium and the creative process as challenging and humbling saying, “You are never guaranteed of success, that the piece you spent days, maybe weeks on, wont crack or craze or warp or bubble. Every time you open the kiln, you do it humbly, never boastfully…”. Lee claims that even now she holds her breath every time she opens the kiln.
Lee is actively involved in the promotion of Ceramic art in the Eastern Cape and is one of the founding members of Ceramics South Africa. She has received numerous awards from CSA-EC Regionals, including; 2010 Highly Commended Award; 2013 Best underglaze Award and 2016 Best Underglaze Award. Her work can regularly be seen in our National Ceramics Magazine and has also been published in various magazines such as Oprah, SA Homeowner, Ideas and Tuis to mention a few.
Freakalee Ceramics sell in selected shops in South Africa and are also export to numerous destinations worldwide. Every beautifully crafted piece currently created by Lee is unique and hand-made and painted, keeping in-line with her view that each piece is a work of art and steers clear from becoming a mass-produced item. Lee is constantly reinventing herself and creating new ranges. ERP Mercantile currently has exclusivity to sell Freakalee ceramics online.
Clive Walker is a South African environmentalist, wildlife artist and writer on natural history. His long career has seen him as a game ranger, a writer on conservation issues and a leading force in environmental education.
In 1971 Clive attended his first Wilderness Leadership School trail in Zululand. He was later to become a field officer of the Wilderness Leadership School which led to his commitment to the cause of environmental education and ultimately the establishment in 1981 of an Environmental Education Program under the auspices of Educational Wildlife Expeditions, a Section 21 Company at Lapalala Wilderness in the Waterberg, Limpopo Province. EWE was established on wilderness trails over more than 17 years into the Okavango Delta, the Tuli block on the Ivory Trail, Klaserie G R, Kosi Bay and Savute.
The success of the adult program led the Walkers to believe that young children from all walks of life should also have opportunity of an outdoor experience. Private schools from the then Witwatersrand were the first to respond and EWE sponsored the schools from disadvantaged backgrounds from Soweto and various townships.
From humble beginnings, the ‘school’, together with a Board of Governors comprising like-minded individuals commenced a programme that was a decade later to emerge as a leading force in environmental education with an international reputation.
Clive Walker founded the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 1973 and was first Chairman, then Director, for a period of thirteen years. He is well known for having revealed the plight of the desert dwelling rhino and elephant of northwest Namibia. He was also co-founder, together with Dr Anthony Hall-Martin and Peter Hitchins, of the Rhino & Elephant Foundation – established in 1987. This organisation came about as a direct result of the Rhino wars and provided millions of rands in aid.
He has many publications to his credit and his work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines. Among the books published are ‘Walk through the Wilderness’; ‘Twilight of the Giants’; ‘Signs of the Wild’ (now in its tenth edition); ‘Okavango from the Air’; ‘Kaokoveld – the last Wilderness’; a major publication on the famed Savuti Channel entitled ‘Savuti, the Vanishing River’ and ‘Dear Elephant, Sir’ published in 1992. He is currently working on his life’s journey in words, art and photographs spanning the past 60 years of his work and travel.