Astrid Dahl’s love of working with clay began as a student under the tutelage of Hendrik Stroebel at the Durban Technikon of KwaZulu-Natal in 1995. She moved to Nottingham Road in 1999 where she crossed paths with design guru and creative director Neville Trickett, who introduced her to the botanical photography of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). This triggered the start of her ever-evolving journey with clay. She drew inspiration from the German photographer’s juxtaposition of symmetry and abstraction, simplicity and complexity, interpreting the imagery into monumental monochromatic forms that have an iconic presence.
Blossfeldt’s monotone prints determined that she would work with white clay as she felt that it creates a pure canvas for light and dark to shape the piece, capturing the presence of the flora by which it is inspired. While Dahl starts with a drawing, the piece changes in the making; clay, to a degree has a life of its own. Her large-scale works challenge the boundaries of clay, capturing the twisting organic forms she finds in nature in high-fired earthenware.