A little bit about how we got here
The name of the property Elysium, on which rests our home, Alila's pottery studio and the guest cottage, means, a state or place of great contentment, or in Greek Mythology, it is the resting place of the Gods.
"Originally from Cape Town, we always dreamed of moving out into the country 'one day', and then, almost accidentally, 'one day' happened much sooner than we expected..."
Lyle is a permaculture designer, and eco-landscaper. After studying at UCT, he joined a startup in 2013 working on inputs for organic plant and soil health. In 2016 he started his own ecological design business - beginning with urban edible landscapes. From there he has worked on, and continues to work on projects covering all aspects of self-sufficiency and ecological design - rain water harvesting, habitat creation, building soil health, plant propagation, composting and grey water systems, etc.
Alila is a potter and pottery teacher. She studied Neuropsychology and Drama also at UCT but pottery has been a part of her life since she started school. After graduating Alila moved to McGregor at first to do an apprenticeship at Millstone Pottery with Paul de Jongh and Nina Shand. The plan was to learn as much as possible and then take the knowledge back to Cape Town and open a studio there. Over the course of the year in McGregor, Lyle came up to visit her more and more and she went to Cape Town to visit him, less and less. And that is how it all began.
13 months after the start of the apprenticeship, the property was bought and the beginnings of what is now Elysium was born. Lyle was still working in Cape Town - he finally moved up full time in March 2018. And Alila got to work on setting it all up, first the accommodation which opened in August 2017 as "The Space", then the studio in February 2018 as "Alila Pottery" and finally, recognising that the whole property needed a name under which all of the work which happens there would fall, in around July 2019 Elysium was chosen.
Together Lyle and Alila work on creating a space that can live up to it’s name; Lyle in the garden and Alila in the pottery studio and accommodation. It is also their home and the base from which they create their own work. Elysium is what they want people to feel when they visit, whether for a stay, a pottery class or a walk in the ever evolving garden.