Designers We Love: Vanilla Concrete

WORDS Debbie Loots PHOTOS Carin Cronje

Life, memories of the past, dreams, fantasy and curiosity are some of what inspire this ceramicist. 

When Carin Cronje was a child, she rode to school on a horse and played on her hometown’s riverbanks in the afternoons. It’s here, on the water’s sandy edges, that she fell in love with the magic of clay, a passion she has nurtured into the thriving business Vanilla Concrete is today. 

We were so charmed by her collection, Magic Realism, we simply had to know more.

Tell us about Vanilla Concrete.

It is a ceramics factory that I built from scratch. About a year ago I outsourced the production, so am now able to focus on developing new ranges and explore a more artistic side of myself.

So, what are you?

I am careful not to call myself anything. But if you need a label, I am a designer  – or artist with some entrepreneurial skills. 

What makes you special?

I try to create things that come from a place of truth. 

What are your products made of?

I work mainly in clay mixed with found objects. I sculpt my characters and place them in scenes I build from things from the Milnerton Market or antique and second-hand stores. 

Did you always want to have your own business?

I started my first business in school selling snacks and cool drinks at our local swimming pool. So, I suppose yes.

Vanilla Concrete’s one-off works start at R680 each.

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