Fired By Passion – VLVLK x The Homestead

The natural wonder of the surroundings at The Homestead may always be the star attraction, but they will not be the only beauty on show in our incredible luxury safari lodge.

With storytelling at the heart of so much of our guest experience, we commissioned a team of South African creatives to create a ceramic mural that is truly epic, both in scale and ambition. “We have created larger ceramic murals before, but the mural in The Homestead is the largest in terms of artistic intensity and scale,” says Millar Nienaber, COO of Veelvlak Signature Surfaces (VLVLK) who have been tasked with bringing Kim Longhurst’s vision to life. Measuring some 3.5 metres in height and an awe-inspiring 38 metres in length, this is a show-stopper, designed to capture your eye and heart by telling the story of The Homestead.

The mural is designed both to blend into and stand out from the environment that hosts it. Kim, a local artist, provided the inspiration before the team at VLVLK began to work out how to bring her ideas to life. VLVLK is a South African company that creates tiled surfaces that are fired by kilns, as well as a tangible passion for the work they do, their team of expert artists are not content with mediocrity. They go all out for the extraordinary; the unique; the beautiful expressions of material artistry that are created from one of the Earth’s most natural substances: clay. The mural is made up of hand moulded tiles, which are then hand painted before the puzzle is pieced together - one tile at a time.

The team started with red clay, before packing the tiles out on tables. At one point they had seven artists: one working on each table, doing between two- and four-square metres as one section. “You cannot build the pieces at one time,” Miller added. “You must build the pieces layer by layer after discussing the interpretation of the artistic design as a team.”

“We had to dry the clay in kilns for an appropriate length of time, so the tiles did not crack. After that they were painted and glazed. As they are art tiles, they are vitrified at a much higher heat than commercial tiles. This makes them able to withstand wind, sun and all the unforeseen elements that they will face at The Homestead.”

The whole process of making the mural is being documented in film, from the raw clay to its final installation in The Homestead. We think it will be a fascinating documentary on how this unique work of ceramic art was made.

We can’t wait to see it in all its glory. And we know you will be lost in the beauty of this installation; a uniquely South African work of art along the garden wall at The Homestead.