Vintage Ceramics South Africa

Vintage Ceramics For Sale in South Africa



I was first introduced to vintage ceramics by my mother by absolute chance in 2018. She asked me to sell some vintage crockery she collected over many years as she was moving into a smaller living space. They were snapped up and I got hooked on collecting vintage ceramics myself. Now I have my own “collection” which led to me starting this blog😊. Being male with very little understanding of vases, never mind flower arranging and its apparent connection to vases, I failed to appreciate the art of creating an eye-catching display of cut flowers. I am a forester by trade, but by no stretch of the imagination some sort of Keith Kirsten, but my understanding is that cut-flowers typically last 7 days if properly cared for and for indoor displays.


Being ignorant on these matters I asked myself WHY that is the case. 😆 The answer is that if you were to germinate or transplant flowers into a planter without drainage, any plant leaves and flowers you leave in the vase water will rot quickly, which will spread bacteria that will kill your flowers before their time. Drainage holes allows water to drain through the soil as in nature. Plants (annuals or perennials) planted in a flower bed need a growing medium of adequate drainage to hold sufficient water for a short time and to access nutrients via its rooting system which also anchors the plant. Not enough water and the plant dies, too much water and the water/roots will rot.

I think it is a shame to only display flowers or a bouquet for a short time in a beautiful vintage vase (quite the trend these days) to perhaps lend character to a room and or create a specific mood – only for the process to be repeated within 7 days or less. I get that people with large flower gardens want to bring some of that beauty and freshness into the house and for them it makes perfect sense. After a period of time a new vase is brought out and the old vase washed and put back on display. I believe vintage ceramics are perfect vessels for displaying cut flowers and my mission is to promote the use of them.


What if we could permanently display plants in those same vintage vases? Outdoor pots / container gardens are great for beginning gardeners, people who have limited space, or anyone who wants to dress up their porch or patio. They can be planted with a single plant or a combination of plants depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Popular plants for containers include flowers, herbs, veggies, grasses and succulents. Many gardeners switch out the plants they grow seasonally to ensure nonstop color throughout the year. Glazed pottery has a permanent look to it compared to terracotta pots and will be a perfect fit for patios and other areas that receive morning or afternoon sun.


Drill drainage holes in your vintage ceramics – shock – horror – yes I know, but hear me out! Many vintage ceramic collectors or thrifters have collected planters, vases of all shapes and sizes, and from various makers local and international. Many aren’t displayed or sold on due to crazing, hairline cracks, chips or other imperfections. Turn form into function by converting them into planters with drainage holes in the bottom.

I used an 8mm diamond-tipped hole saw drill bit (Massmart $6). I did some research and found these drill bits can each do around 40 holes before needing replacement. Drill through a paper towel inner roll to prevent the drill hitting the vase. It works! This video shows how to drill the holes:

Use Turnbuckle Wire Strainer Tensioners for each planter/pot. We used a 6mm turnbuckle with a hook for the top planter and a smaller 4mm diameter threaded rod turnbuckle for the lower one – for easy removal or replacement. The smaller 4mm will suffice and takes up less space than the 6mm size. Simply tie wire to both ends to connect the planters. Crucially, use large washers with an 8mm and up aperture, above and below the planter, with a smaller washer on top of the larger washer. This is especially important if the aperture in the larger washer does not tightly fit around the threaded rod, to prevent turnbuckle digging into the washer at an angle, causing the planter to hang at an angle. The washers also prevents stress on the planter/pot by spreading the load through the washers, but the washers also levels the planter and prevent it from hanging at an angle, especially since the holes are not drilled in the center of the mass (Centre of Gravity), as it is always good to have an additional drainage hole sufficiently spaced from the other.

It is important that there is actually a path for water to flow out the base of the planter. The water will then run down the connecting wire into the planter below via gravity.

Usually a planter with a drainage hole has a saucer below it to catch the water – but the water typically has to be tipped out to prevent bacteria forming from standing water. With this system water simply flows to the next planter eliminating the need for a saucer. Who needs a tunneling system??!😆

Artistic rendering – Angle #1
Artistic rendering – Angle #2

Please see the Resources section below. It is quite informative and will give you some ideas. I will upload my first creations (I am still getting used to this) to:

…soon. Good luck!


Planter ideas:

Potting mixes / Planting and watering:

Cool outdoor or indoor display ideas:

THE CLARICE CLIFF STORY — January 28, 2021


Clarice Cliff (by Will Farmer) eBook available from Google Books (Buy here)



Clarice Cliff is one of the most instantly recognisable ceramic designers of the twentieth century. Her distinctive ‘Bizarre’ pottery, with its vibrant colour palette and dynamic patterns on equally daring forms, epitomises the mood of the Jazz Age.

During the Depression, Clarice flooded homes with colour offering her customers a glimpse of something new and exciting, far removed from the formal and staid styles of the first quarter of the century. Hers was a true success story founded on hard work, determination and an unwavering clear vision. Clarice was different, as was her ceramic art: a unique combination of inspired thought and design brilliance that created the perfect recipe for success.

Clarice was modern and fashionable woman of her time who demonstrated that she also had the skill to be a successful business-woman. As an industrial designer she had great intuition for what the public wanted, and between 1927 and 1936, at a time of high Art Deco, her shapes, colours and patterns ‘delivered’ where her competitors fell short. Whilst many other ceramics designers looked back, Clarice grabbed the ‘new’ with both hands: Art Deco, Modernism and Cubism. With an open mind and positive attitude she recognised the best qualities in these movements and developed them into commercially successful domestic wares.

Inspired by themes and ideas of art and design movements from around the world, Clarice’s longing for change was transferred to the surface of the pots she so ingeniously created. This, combined with a shrewd understanding of business, resulted in a product that unashamedly burst onto the market, introducing the consumer of the day to an entirely new style.

Such was the demand for Clarice’s work that, at its peak, the A.J.Wilkinson factory was recorded as producing 18,000 pieces a week with a turnover of £2,000, double that of her nearest competitor. Her wares were exported around the globe as far away as North and South America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Towards the end of the 1930’s, however, Clarice, ever wise in business realised that the entire spirit of the times was about to change and that she could no longer be quite so daring or experimental. Her wares still continued to sell but had lost the dynamic flair and excitement of those early years.

Today’s modern approach to women in business makes it difficult to appreciate just how successful Clarice was. Colley Shorter, her boss and later her husband, was a genius at promotion and publicity, and the levels of interest and press coverage received by her products were unprecedented; over 360 articles and reviews of her distinctive Bizarre ware were published during the key years of 1927 to 1936. Compare this to one of her most well-known competitors of the day – Susie Cooper – who achieved barely twenty in the same period. In recent years a huge amount of new research has re-appraised Clarice the designer, the businesswoman and, most importantly, the artist.

End of excerpt

If anyone has Clarice Cliff we can check with our network of collectors locally and abroad if they would be interested in buying them. Clarice Cliff was sold in South Africa and we have some interesting and unique examples. Please get in touch through our contact-us form or DM / message us on Instagram, Facebook or on WhatsApp (number on the contact- us page).

Prices paid for Clarice Cliff

They fetch higher prices in the UK. Visit to get a general idea, but do remember that some Clarice Cliff crockery pieces like plates fetch very little and collectors in South Africa pay a fraction of what overseas collectors pay.

See this example of price discrepancy – but definitely an opportunity for collectors.

Same item for sale – on two opposing online platforms: in South Africa and from the UK.

More Clarice Cliff resources:


Vintage Ceramics South Africa reserve the rights to publish this extract for the purposes of research.