Friday, November 27, 2009


Wonderful box of paper treasures by Sarah Mitchell. See more of her experiments here.

These are a few of my favourite things. Parcels and books, boxes and bundles, sticks and stones, or stacks and piles of anything for that matter .... all tied up with string. Or tied up with ribbon ....or wire .... or whatever will serve the purpose.

Wraps by Mary Ellen Long. See Flickr photostream here. Blog, here.

Winter Pressings by Mary Ellen Long. These wrapped scroll forms hold gatherings found at the "burial" site.

"Each year before the first snowfall, I lay paper of various sizes and forms on the earth. This paper becomes buried under the winter snows to then be harvested in the spring. This ritual documents the passage of time and the amount of snowfall that particular winter. This method is a little like printmaking with nature - the earth being the plate and the snow being the press." - Mary Ellen Long

Language Bound by Mary Ellen Long
Whilst trying to decide which images to post I asked myself why I was attracted to each piece. What was it about each piece that spoke to me? And then I remembered a poem I had read on Paper and Word by Chris Gray.
What can I know of these things?
Many things appear to me strange and wondrous
Remnants of times past
Yet speaking to my soul
In an unknown language
That I seem to understand.
Chris Gray 2006

Rapt Rocks by Nancy Neva Gagliano. See Neva's blog, here

I was thrilled to find these amazing wrapped rocks by Nancy Neva Gagliano. 

Neva writes, "I began WRAPPING some of the many rocks together that I'd long stacked around our house. I called them RAPT, from enraptured."

" .... some are wrapped with their own sort of fossils, and silk/waxed linen threads, silver or copper wire, various papers. the latest rocks also are wrapped and then waxed." - Nancy Neva Gagliano

Rapt Rocks by Nancy Neva Gagliano

Small sculpture by Jade Pegler. See Jade's photostream on Flickr, here.

Beautiful images of aged papers, stacked, collaged or painted on Linda's blog, here.

Qirky little clay parcel made by Don Madden. Visit Don's blog, here.See post about the parcel inside Peevay's head, here.

Textile art by Chris Gray. See Flickr photostream, here and textile art blog, here.

Package 2 by Jeane Myers. See photostream here. Website, here.

Jeane Myers is a warm and generous artist who shares her process and progressions on her blog. A progression can involve anything from hacking and ripping an old painting in two .... or three, scratching, scraping and wiping off layers of paint, adding this, adding that, stomping on it, throwing it out into the rain, rescueing it after a few days, turning it upside down, reworking it and ..... quite frankly my heart can't  take it, but Jeane has taught me to loosen up and have fun while making art. Go and see for yourself!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The book I've been waiting for has arrived at last. Hot Afro by Craig Fraser .... Hot off the press! This book is packed with distinctly South African energy and flavour. Interiors decorated by some of South Africa's most innovative and creative individuals including Neville Trickett, featured here in an earlier post.

A corner of the studio in the Trickett home.

The Trickett homestead is "defined by its delightfully haphazard character, where roomscapes divulge the couple's fascination with the flotsam and jetsam of various eras, cultures and design, and artistic and scientific disciplines."

The 70-something-year-old Johannesburg home of Gerhard Swart and Anthony Harris.

I was drawn to the home of Gerhard Swart and Anthony Harris, two wildly wacky ceramic artists I have already mentioned, here. Not surprising since they too are voracious magpies who continually need to add to their vaste collections.

"The interior is defined by a sort of satorial madness and Renaissance scientists' curiosity that is suggestive of a Wunderkammer...."

"The veranda is an almost year round place to meet, relax, entertain or even to work on ideas."

"Comfortable furniture, an eating area, a collection of interiors magazines and ornate lighting are evidence that this area is considered as much a room as any inside the house."

Work related paraphernalia and stationery in the home of design consultant Laureen Rossouw

Kitchen in the home of editor and style icon Karen Roos

The Free State home of Werner and Philippa du Toit was once a dilapidated barnlike building used as a church by missionaries.

One of my favourite images in the book is this display of some of Immie Mostert's collections.

As Craig Fraser points out these homes are not decorated to impress or follow fashion trends. "Rather, they are canvasses that reflect the consciousness of those who live in them; they're honest and idiosyncratic spaces that are, above all, forged from the heart."

(By the way, The second Saint Verde Video is out , here. It really is an amazing concept. If you enjoyed the first video you will love the second. I felt like a fly on the wall watching people mill about the store and the restaurant. I sipped creamy coffee, smelled the roses, dangled my fingers in the fountain .... and listened to the music .... well all in my mind anyway, but watch this space!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Many things have made me smile over the past week starting with two lucky finds, one of which was a very old Tikar fertility doll from the Cameroons.

Not much is documented about these dolls except that they are used by the Tikar people for protection, fertility and power. I'm thrilled to be adding this lovely terracotta piece to my collection.

The other lucky find was a second hand book, African Hats and Jewelry by Duncan Clarke. It has huge double spread photographs of African textiles and jewelery which are really beautiful .... and I bought it for a song which certainly put a smile on my face.

We had a spate of hot days last week and I've been rushing to finish christmas orders but yesterday for the first time in months I felt that I was catching up which is quite a relief. I can now slow down and enjoy my work again and also relish the fact that two of the three pieces I carved for a christmas exhibition sold before the opening.
A Black-headed Oriel landed on the wall just above my head this morning. It gave several loud calls before flying off and then a second Oriel started calling from a low branch close by and I stood gawping at it for at least a minute. They are quite common but very shy so we don't often see them except for a quick flash of yellow high in the trees.

The next minute the rain came down so I've been confined to the house most of the day. Another reason to smile! Its given me a good excuse to dip into some of the books I've been wanting to re-read at a slower pace.

This evening I am catching up with some beadwork which I usually do whilst watching So You Think You Can Dance .... like a chameleon with one eye on the screen and the other on the beads.

The highlight of my week has been my interview with Leslie Miller. Leslie has a knack for making people feel good about themselves. I've enjoyed the questions she asked, the emailing back and forth and the sharing of stories.

One of the questions made me stop and think . A question I have often asked myself and I'm still not sure that I've answered it fully.

Q: What is it about your medium of wood that calls your name?

A: I often think of this and can't quite put my finger on it. As a child on the farm I loved the outdoors. I loved to touch and feel nature in my hands. The smoothness of acorns and pebbles, the roughness of bark, the hollowness of a birds nest, the grainyness of river sand.....anything tactile under my hands. When I was allowed to use my mom’s carving chisels at a young age I found that I could create many tactile qualities in the wood myself. Magic!

If you'd like to read the rest of the interview, go here. You might enjoy asking yourself the same questions. I had a few AHA! moments as I thought about my answers. Thanks Leslie for a great interview!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Untitled (Hitchcock series) by Robert Natkin.

Whilst walking along a misty beach early one morning, I realized that it was on the soft grey days that I felt most contemplative and content. The muted colours were somewhat soothing ...... and actually, it was a relief not to have the sun in my eyes as I searched the shoreline for bits and pieces to put into my niche carvings.

Sorting through the flotsam which had collected in the crook of a sand dune I marvelled at the beautiful shades of grey. Mussel shells which had roiled at the bottom of some rock pool, pebbles and driftwood rubbed smooth by the sand, downy feathers dropped by industrious sand pipers and my find of the day, remnants of a weathered fish trap .

Driftwood Assemblage from Hanspeterroersma's Flickr photostream. See more here.

Once home and happily reunited with my computer (though I hate to admit my obsession), I found I was gravitating toward art and photographs in beautiful shades of grey.

Black to White by Robert Natkin.
Robert Natkin is an old favourite of mine.
"He is a visual poet whose apparently abstract images actually exist to enchant us with intimations and evocations of things we can sense but never quite see." - Theodore F Wolff

Kalahari by Nicholas Wilton

Rhythm of the day by Leslie Avon Miller
"Having always lived in the Pacific Northwest very near the rain forest, I often live in an environment of grey and white – white caps on the waves of grey seas, seagulls in their grey and white finery, dark grey sands and rocks contrasted with white sea foam and white sea shells, and grey mists hiding the mountains…..the list is long. I see the beauty in the mists as they lift and reveal part of a decomposing dock, or bits of the mountain tops, or a wind carved tree on a cliff as exquisite as a sculpture of granite. One learns to love the subtleties of the colors and the nearly monochromatic shifts." - Leslie Avon Miller

Haunted by Sarah Giannobile.

My friend Lyle often sends me links to new artists and Sarah Giannobile is one of them.
" I use my imagination as a tool to opening up my experiences that once were forgotten." - Sarah Giannobile

Cloth by textile artist India Flint , who is also author of Eco Colour

India Flint has posted glorious detailed photographs of her new series 'landskins', on her website, here. An exquisite series in which "wool felt is used to bind fragments of silk, wool and other natural fibres together to make a cloth; then dyed using plant dyes."
Desire turns concrete by Shayla Perreault Newcomb
Shayla Perreault Newcomb has filmed an Oil Painting Tutorial where she chats about her process, here.

Transience by Donna Watson.

" Currently, I am interested in the passage of time, and what remains. This may be the physical effects in nature or the psychological effects on memory or identity. With the passage of time there is a transience depicted with traces, layers and recollections. I try to take what is personal to me and make a more universal connection." - Donna Watson (interview with Leslie Avon Miller, here. )
Painting from the Expert Mover series by Laurie Pearsall
Laurie Pearsall exhibited the Expert Mover series at her recent exhibition which you can read about, here and see the painting above enlarged here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Antique Kimonos. See more on Flickr, here.

This weekend, Neville Trickett is launching a new blog, saint verde chronicles, in addition to saint verde digest, a blog that has become extremely popular with those who love decor, art and unusual photography. We in KwaZulu-Natal know that if Neville sets his mind to anything its going to be exciting, so stay tuned.

Photos from Interiors set on Flickr, here.

Neville and his wife Sharon are the owners of the Saint Verde lifestyle emporiums. They are in fact busy relaunching Saint Verde at their farm in Dargle, KwaZulu-Natal. Neville speaks of the Saint Verde concept in the video clip here.

From the Jean Cocteau set

"Neville has always followed his own heart and instincts," says Johannesburg brand specialist Lianne Burton.

"He has a very personal approach to life, in that he marches to the beat of his own drum. I also think - by following his latest obsessions and passions and exploring them to the nth degree - there's a bit of an alchemist in him.

"And that's where his trends come from. He explored botany in that manner, and I think his latest obsession is archaeology. He's playful about his creativity - in an almost childlike manner - and things can change on a whim, on an almost hourly basis. It's as if he's always developing a creative nursery of seedlings that will become trends.

"Neville's maverick energy is also a very important part of defining him - he walks around in shorts and flip-flops - and I think a lot of people just don't get him. When he speaks they're left wondering 'What the hell was that all about?'

"Then again, I don't think he really cares. And that's probably why he has an energy of one-part mystique, one-part guru about him. I think he's a genius." - Lianne Burton

The images in this post come from Neville's Flickr files, here. There are hundreds of swoon-worthy images to browse through when you have time ..... and believe me, once you've peeped at a few you will make the time. Neville has a knack for pairing images with a common thread and these are particularly intriguing. See here.
Interview and many glorious photos of the Trickett's home and garden, here.

P.S. One of the Saint Verde stores was bought, lock stock and barrel by Liberty of London ..... even the fixtures!