By Sevelinus Kalembela
XAMMI, directly translated as lion, is a Namibian creative brand, specializing in organic and abstract ceramics forms. Founded in 2022 by Melody Rohlfs, the brand exists with the aim of creating art that represents the life of women. A woman is a symbol of strength and freedom and that is what Melody wanted to showcase in her artistry. We recently caught up with the founder of XAMMI to find out more about her work and inspiration behind her brand.
When I was searching for a brand name, I wanted one that would reflect my past work in conservation, and also incorporate the African landscape in my creative work. It was important for me to pick a name that was in the Namibian language, to pay homage to the country.
For me XAMMI is symbolic, and it emphasizes the African landscape, the lions and the savannahs found in the continent.
Why was Xammi founded?
After leaving my job in conservation I became a stay at home mom, I began searching for a hobby to pass my free time and I reasoned with myself to take up ceramics making, I decided to buy a bag of air-dry-clay and I instantly began teaching myself how to create forms and shapes, when my husband saw some of my work he was very impressed with how good they turned out and he advised me to sell them.
Describe your experience creating functional and decorative objects by hands?
When I started making ceramics it was really hard for me to create shapes, I failed miserably so many times trying to create the perfect shape, only my husband and sisters can attest to how many times I failed at creating ceramics. After a year of persistence and dedication I am finally at a place where I can confidently create any form.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
First of all, ceramics take really long to make and for me that is the most challenging part of the work, it requires patience. You first have to design the shape u want, after making a form you have to dry it for two weeks, fire it for a week and then glaze it for another week, the process can take approximately a month to complete. The most heart-breaking part of ceramic making is when you accidentally break something that took you long to make which means you need to re-create an identical piece and most times the shapes never turn out like the first ones.
Most of your pieces resemble the feminine body, why is that?
Creating feminine form is away of saying hey mom, hey sister I see you, you are doing good, you are doing well and for me that’s the most important thing.
It is also a way of honouring myself as a woman, a mother, a daughter and a sister, and also honouring the lineages of women that came before me.
You can get a hold of Melody by following her business page and if you are interested in purchasing her work you can DM her on Instagram to place your orders. You can also find her work at @ambre.and.ash.
Feature by Sevelinus Kalembela @_sevelinus_
Images by Eliud Andima @whotfiseluid