Michou Art Bowls

These unique wooden and horn bowls sourced from Africa and Asia are then hand carved by artists from various parts of Southern Africa. Jacaranda, wild olive and Zimbabwean teak bowls are acquired and transformed by Cape Town artist and designer Michou Osterwal.

Each piece is an artwork, one of a kind object which serves to be enjoyed mainly for its aesthetic innovation but also for the unusual partnership of exciting and exotic materials.

Various precious metals made up of special alloys are applied in leaf form, these are 23,75-carat gold, red gold, platinum gold, green gold or genuine silver. She employs the ancient Egyptian water-gilding method: gesso base, bole underground, shot with precious leaf and either burnished to a high polish or treated to remain matt.

Michou Osterwal initially decides to which part of the bowl she wants to apply gold or silver leaf. Sometimes she additionally uses casein paint. On some pieces she leaves the bowl with a dead matt finish, on some she burnishes the paint. Some bowls are oiled and waxed and some are left as raw as the original carving. Each bowl is unique, requiring many hours of work. There are no shortcuts in water-gilding, according to Michou.

All photos by Michou