Saturday, August 29, 2009


Iron Fish by Roger Lee

There is beauty and power in multiple motifs and grouped objects.

Field Form Box Construction by Lorna Fraser. Ceramic.

Whether they are grouped as a collection on display or whether they form an artwork, they create a visual rythm .....a beat energy.

Vintage Industrial Tarn Spools from Lost Found Art. See here for more amazing collections of vintage objects.

Stoneware discs, detail from Dichotomy of Dirt by Margaret Boozer

Large artwork on the wall by Margaret Boozer

I found Margaret Boozer's work at a wondrous blog I discovered only yesterday. If you don't know Another Shade of Grey you need to make yourself a cuppa and browse. There's lots to see.

Stone Stack by Lissa Hunter.

Lissa Hunter creates many of her amazing pieces by grouping multiple objects in niches within her artworks. Sometimes she incorporates rows of pebbles ....or miniature handwoven baskets ...

....or basketware made from waxed linen thread to look like eggs or pebbles.

Flight by Lissa Hunter. Waxed linen thread, paper cord, paper, paint, lime.

Land Art by Streuwerk. See more of his work at Flickr, here.

Eclipse by Crowhand on Flickr.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


It's not often that I finish a piece and feel completely comfortable with it. Most times it takes a week or two to tweak and adjust before I'm satisfied. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently but today I feel complete.

Wooden "door". 70cm x 66cm

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


What are the odds of finding a phrase like that at exactly the right time .... Artistic energy in full gallop. I must admit this wasn't my usual 10 minute collage. Once I had cut out the face and found the phrase I lost myself for almost an hour, playing and fiddling until I was satisfied with it. It was the break from carving that I needed in between commissions.

It's been a busy few months with several small commissions now completed. A string of amulets arrived safely in the states yesterday. It's certainly a strange feeling having my work waaaaay over there in a country I've never visited before and I'm feeling a bit like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. The family have gone off on holiday and forgotten me behind!

With the smalls out of the way I'm now working on the biggest niche carving I've made to date.
They look simple, these niche carvings with all the little nooks for found objects and treasures, but the actual arranging, juggling and balancing of objects takes a lot of time and thought. However I've reached that enviable stage of flow when everything starts falling into place, the momentum is carrying me and ..... my artistic energy is in full gallop!
Small detail from one of my niche carvings.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


"May peace and peace and peace be everywhere." - The Upanishads (c.900 - 600B.C.)

It's been a while since I've been to the beach and I felt almost desperate to smell the sea air again so my dear husband organised a short trip just for me.

I like to be on the beach at sunrise so we left home in the dark to make the 2 hour trip to the South Coast, arriving just as the sun was rising out of the sea....a deep rosy pink that almost took my breath away.

For some reason the pink of the sun didn't show up in the photos but you can see it in the reflection on the wet sand.

While hubby fished I took short walks and pottered about the rock pools feeling very content. There's nothing quite like it to rejuvenate the spirit. Just pushing my bare feet into the wet sand was joy enough.

The sea air has rejuvenated my creativity as well and I've been sketching, plotting, carving and generally wallowing in creative energy ever since we got back.

Immerse, 10 minute collage.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Aluminium Cloth (detail) by El Anatsui. October Gallery UK

Artworks made from discarded objects hold great fascination for me especially if the pieces are as amazing as these pieces by Ghanain artist, El Anatsui. He 'sews' together flattened aluminium bottle caps to create huge cloths sometimes big enough to cover a wall or the fronts of buildings. (see here)

Many Moons by El Anatsui. Flattened Bottle caps and copper wire.

One of my favourite pieces is Crumbling Wall made from sheets of perforated rusty metal. These metal sheets were actually old graters used to prepare gari, a West African dish made from cassava. The grater is made by punching holes in a piece of flattened metal with nails which leaves a raised jagged surface over which the cassava is rubbed.

Crumbling Wall by El Anatsui. Perforated rusty metal sheets

See more of El Anatsui's remarkable works here.
"Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up." - El Anatsui

Filthy Rivers, intersecting on a Dying Field by Joseph EZE (photos from Jess Castellote's blog)

These assemblages by Joseph Eze are made from found flip flops. Flip Flops! I admire anyone who can create art from something that is washed up on a beach or accumulating at some rubbish dump. Read more about his work on Jess Castellote's blog on contemporary art in Nigeria, here.

A dark footpath through a garden by Joseph EZE

Snow Flake Wreath by Tamiko Kawata. Safety Pins.

Art made from objects that are banal, plentiful and cheap also intrigue me. Tamiko Kawata uses the lowly safety pin and rubber band in many of her artworks.

Autumn Letter by Tamiko Kawata

Beige on Black by Tamiko Kawata. Rubber Bands.

Red Eye Bull by Richard Swenson

Richard Swenson, a retired physicist opted to restore old John Deere tractors upon retirement and while searching for parts for his tractor restoration he discovered scrap metal on farm junk piles that he could perhaps turn into something. Something became sculptures that are now exhibited in museums. Read his story here.

"When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you're really bringing them to life - a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created." - Louise Nevelson

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Several bloggers have evinced interest in South Africa so I think it's about time I shared a few more photographs of my life in KwaZulu Natal.
The top photograph is of a misty morning in Ixopo. If you have read Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton or have seen the movie of the same name, you might recognise the name of Carisbrooke Station. Well this is it....the spot that Zulu pastor, Stephen Kumalo might well have stood. I feel a close connection to this book because the author and my paternal grandmother were first cousins. My family also farmed in Ixopo many decades ago.

The nest below is constructed by a Hamerkop (hammer head), a close relation of the stork but far, far weirder in appearance. See photographs, here. These nests are massive 3 tier constructions, lined with clay . Not only do they house the Hamerkop family but many other birds and creatures such as snakes, lizards, genet cats, owls, sparrows and God knows how many spiders, nits and other gogas. Many an eagle has built a nest on the strong platform roof.

The Hamerkop is dogged by superstition. According to the locals it brings tidings of death and disaster. Having grown up on a farm and having spent many days playing with the young herdboys my husband has had this belief instilled in him too. He will avoid this bird at all costs even though he knows he's being ridiculous. In the week prior to receiving his cancer test results our car left the road at earth shattering speed, coming to a neck wrenching halt in the middle of a mealie field....just to avoid the flight path of an innocent Hamerkop. I jest not :-(

As a child I spent hours watching the roof thatchers working on the farm. 
I loved sleeping in a rondavel and can remember falling asleep, looking up into the thatch, wondering how many spiders had woven nests there.....and praying they wouldn't absail down to see me when the lights went out.

These enormous carvings, tied onto the back of a truck are on the way to market.

We see these hair salons everywhere and the signs are fast becoming collectors items.

The lions mentioned on the poster, were roaming (and roaring) around farmlands on the other side of town.

This is not a very good photo but I've included it because I love the Caribbean colours of this building in Durban, on a quiet morning. Just up the street from here is a market where sangomas (witch doctors) sell their wares. It is the most amazing place with skins, skulls, horns and thousands of little bundles and bottles of muti (medicinal plants and concoctions). I would give my eye teeth to browse there but apparently it's a no go area.

The photo below was taken by a friend of my daughter's. I love it! The feet belong to my daughter and  friend, sitting on a deck overlooking a river in Northern KwaZulu Natal.

We have the most amazing beaches in South Africa. The North Coast beaches are different to the Wild Coast and the South Coast beaches. The photo below is of my husband and his brother fishing on the North Coast.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Browsing through the 10 minute collages I've been creating for the last 2 months, I realize that for the first time in my life I'm keeping a daily diary. My collages are a record of my life in South Africa. The imagery says far more than if I were to try and put my thoughts into words and it's certainly easier doing it this way. I am learning and clarifying........and getting my head around what is actually going on in my mind.

Though many of the collages show that I fear the crime and violence in South Africa ......

there are more collages indicating my love for my country ......

the diversity of her people,
the many tribes and ethnic groups,
the different cultures,
the 11 official languages
and our glorious South African flag.

There is much to be grateful for. The wildlife, the wide open spaces, the beauty of the countryside and the sunsets. All the little quirks and characteristics, especially the colloquial terms that have grown out of mixing languages, as well as the exotic food dishes that have developed from mixing cultures.

The new South Africa has much potential. I do, however, have this niggling feeling that we are not doing enough to discover the extent of it nor are we putting ourselves out enough to develop it.

Shelley Klammer is offering a free online collage workshop, here.