Sunday, August 29, 2010


.... then silence in the morning. Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre

My husband left to go fishing at 4.00 am on Sunday morning so I had the whole day to finish carving a totem which had been giving me a few headaches. By the time the first hadeda called I'd already set up my work bench in the courtyard and by midday I was totally immersed in my carving. Working in quiet solitude, more often than not, helps me to find and fix any problem areas in my art.

Silent. by James Blackwell. See more of Jame's work on his website here.

James Blackwell's work centres on themes of silence, nature, structure and meditation.

"Solitude has always been a luxury I have embraced. It is the quiet friend who directs you to larger truths; it is the ghost of all those yesterdays, distilled into our unique perception and view of the world." - James Blackwell

Silent. Mixed media by James Blackwell

Judit Varga's clay vessels have that weather-worn look that I love, reminding me of gnarled coils of bark or sea corroded conch shells.

Blue Cocoon by Judit Varga. See more of Judit's work here.

"I work in a quiet solitude in my studio and find this peaceful loneliness a perfect stage for my play with clay. In the silence sometimes there is a moment of harmony when the clay and I understand each other perfectly, we know exactly what the other one wants to do. Those are the moments that I long for and this longing draws me back to the studio to open up a new bag of clay and start again. - Judit Varga

Twisted lines #3 by Judit Varga

I recently discovered the small collages of Michel Lefebvre and immediately fell head over heels in love with them. Wander over to Penumbra to see more of Michel's collages, here.

The heart of the matter . Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre

"I create these small mixed media/collage pieces every morning at 5h30, sitting at my desk with an espresso (which serves as a wash to delineate the image field!). They are, I suppose, a kind of meditation, a way to focus and begin the day. The format is small (9.5 x 14 centimetres) and I try to post a drawing every day". - Michel Lefebvre

A leap of faith. Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre

When did you get here? Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre

My life in Japan. Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre

“The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. Only he who listens can speak.” - Dag Hammarskjold
Places I've been meaning to explore. Mixed media collage by Michel Lefebvre
Thanks to everyone for all the warm helpful comments and emails regarding my website. You've no idea how much you have helped me! I've made a start and am learning as I go along. I still have to find out how to create the thumbnail photos (click to enlarge) but otherwise I'm pretty chuffed that the end is in sight.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Young Hunter. Carved wooden totem with leather, found objects, cowries and beading

ABC. Carved wooden totem with found objects and beading.

X-Factor.Carved wooden totem with found objects and beading. SOLD

Prayers for our Daughters II. Carved wooden totem with found objects and beading SOLD

Prayers for our Daughters I. Carved wooden totem with found objects and beading SOLD

When prospective buyers ask for my website link I usually refer them to my Flickr photo stream which is most unprofessional, so ..... at a snail's pace .... I am gearing myself to start a website. Actually I've been gearing myself for over a year now and am still dragging my feet.

My main reason is that I'm uncomfortable about the high freight charges from South Africa and also the fact that we have not had PayPal here (this could be changing) so there are additional bank charges when using bank to bank transfers .... not to mention customs duties which can be quite high in Britain (though not so bad in the States). I worry about whether to include the freight, fumigation and transport costs in the total price .... the price that one will see when looking at my pieces for sale. Should I break it down for people to see how I arrive at that price? These costs can add up to R2000 (272 USD) which quite frankly makes me break out in a sweat.

I've been very lucky in that my overseas customers have not complained about these costs but it does embarrass me. I've "met" the most wonderfully warm and gracious people during these business dealings. Thank you all who follow my blog in wait for my new work. I really appreciate your patience.

The artist statement is another headache and I'm mystified that this should make me feel as if I'm off to visit the dentist. Having googled, "Artist Statement", I followed Alyson Stanfield's blog link and found many useful tips, I also learned that this feeling of dread is not unusual so I feel a bit more relaxed about my statement ..... which I still havn't written ... LOL.

But! ..... I have made a start with the photographing of my work. I've always found it difficult to photograph my totems since they are so tall and thin so I've been tinkering with Picasa to try to create a photo that gives one an idea of what my totems are all about at a glimpse. This has been the fun part!

Out of all the statements I've read Geoffrey Gorman's statement stands out in my mind. It might not meet all the criteria for an artist statement but it thrills me and makes me want to look at his work.

"A broken bent tree branch, bleached from sun and rain, makes me think of weathered bones: fingers, legs, backbone, and hip bone. Old stained strips of cloth act like bandages and clothing, hiding and holding it all together. Sculpted wax covers the frame and joints of wood. Found and lost objects assembled into curious and evocative shapes is what excites me.

When I am making objects, I think of model airplanes made of balsa wood, then covered in thin transparent paper. Or I see decoys and shapes made to attract wild animals. I visited a museum in Alaska that had drawers filled with toys that had been put together, used and collected from previous cultures. I also think of a forest of tall, dark trees covered in moss and moisture, a silent, meditative place." - Geoffrey Gorman

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


A successful trip to the scapyard ....

Monkeys sunning themselves on the roof .... watching me carve in the courtyard ...

I'm achieving a lot .... while it is cool enough to work outside all day ....

All the trees sprouting green shoots ......

Sprays of jasmine throughout the house .......... My daughter insists.

Evenings spent doing beadwork .......

A bowl of fragrant soaps to celebrate my newly tiled bathroom.....

A long awaited visit to Weylandts, one of my favourite stores...

I feel the need to spruce up my home .......

So many wonderful things to see in the showroom at the new Weylandts store in Umhlanga.

And another favourite.... Art Africa, in Umhlanga.

Spring is in the air!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Just recently I discovered the amazing art of Diane Savona .... or rather, Melanie of My Croft sent me the link and the first image to greet me on Diane's website was this blazing red, layered piece which brought a lump to my throat as it reminds me so much of my mother.

Diane embeds domestic objects between the layers of filmy fabric to form fossil-like impressions which bring to mind exposed artifacts at an archeological site.

Diane writes, "As a part of daily life, sewing is a dying skill. Expertise that was passed down, mother to daughter, for hundreds of years is now dying out: types of mending are no longer general knowledge, and most young people don’t own a pin cushion. Hence, my work shows textiles in an archaeological context."

"In my latest series, Fossil Garments, the work is presented as fossil specimens. The deconstructed garments – sometimes embedded in handmade felt – are offered for inspection on taut surfaces. By carefully cutting apart and arranging the garments, their human connection
is emphasized. Crochet and lace, showing through the almost transparent garments, appear skeletal. I used mending techniques in overlapping layers, sometimes obscuring parts of the garments, sometimes cutting through them. The rigid framing exposes the somewhat sentimental clothing in an unemotional perspective, allowing the viewer to examine the clothing as archaeology."

Soft Bodied Specimens #3 (size: 20”H x 12”W) are bits of crochet preserved under old glass mason jar lids. In some museums, soft bodied specimens are kept in small liquid-filled tubes, inside liquid-filled mason jars, so there is absolutely no danger of drying out. This piece is constructed inside a flat wooden box. The background cloth is printed with the names of various types of crochet and lace, and the soft specimens are preserved under the glass lids, which have been stitched down to the bottom of the box.

To see more of Diane's intriguing work, go to her website, here and please do yourself a favour and watch the video!!

Virtual tour of Closet Archeology here.

The whimsical work of Elfi Cella, putting a collection of vintage buttons to good use.

It's surprising how many artists use heirlooms, broken or discarded, in their art. Many bloggers know the enchanting work of Elfi Cella. If not you are in for a treat when browsing through her blog, here.

Juliet by Beverly Soasey. See more of Beverly's work at the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery website, here.

Blue Torso. Mosaic made from English Spode by Janice Corbishley. See Janice's website here.

Heirloom by Clare Twomey. See more here.

Robi Renzi creates "patchwork" cabinets from salvaged wooden components.

Armadiature by Robi Renzi for Renzivivian. See more here.

..... and now for some light relief .....

A quirky bird by Chris Griffin at the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Take a peek at the Cabinet of Curiosities Exhibition at the Hamill Gallery website.

The Hamill Gallery has a large selection of Fante flags. See more here.

Bobbi and Tim Hamill have pulled together objects from the gallery .... from their homes .... from their travels.

"I've attempted to juxtapose them in a way that suggests affinities of form or material or in arrangements that appeal to our senses of humor. When it works, we achieve what we refer to as the Ta-Dah Effect." - Bobbi Hamill

There's a quirkiness that really appeals to me about this exhibition. It's a bit like a mad hatter's tea party in Africa. Bamana puppets sitting down to tea with a Senufo hornbill ..... the table decked with kuba cloth.

I love it! Go and have a look and tell me what you think. Website here.

"I collect African Art because of its power, beauty, magic and craftsmanship. My viewpoint is as an artist, not as an anthropologist. I choose pieces based on formal visual criteria, some knowledge of the tribal traditions, how well I feel the piece succeeds in what it attempts and whether the work gives me an inner sense of satisfaction, pleasure and mystery. It is certainly not necessary to fully understand African art to enjoy it with a sense of wonder and awe." - Tim Hamill, Director, Hamill Gallery of African Art, Boston

A great selection of Mbuti bark cloths. See more here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


First Eden. Oil on gesso and canvas by Coral Fourie

It is interesting to see how ancient symbols have found their way into contemporary art. In a way the artist is linking with the past .....with the lives of previous generations. It's a feeling I am unable to describe....this mysterious connection with ancient tribes.

All in time's space. Gesso and oil on canvas by Coral Fourie

In this post I've featured the work of artists from Africa.

Coral Fourie hales from the Free State, South Africa. Her art and her work with the San Bushmen "aim at keeping the flame of a threatened people alive."

Take a splinter
from the fire
let it light
your way.
follow your song.

- A Bushman song from Coral Fourie's book Splinters from the Fire

Scatterlings over Africa by Coral Fourie. See more of Coral's work here.

Change of the guard. Acrylic on canvas by Robert Slingsby

Robert Slingsby is another artist who is inspired by ancient rock paintings and petroglyphs, especially those found in the Richtersveld. He has developed his own alphabet of petroglyphs and uses both ancient and contemporary symbols in his work. See his website here.

Acrylic on canvas by Robert Slingsby

Artwork by Soly Cisse, one of Senegal's internationally best-known artists. See more here.

Artwork by Soly Cisse. See more here and an interesting blog post by Yayemarie, here.

Mind of the Mathematician by Ethiopian-born artist, Wosene Kosrof . See more work here.

Tsevie III. Mixed Media painting by Togolese-born artist Sokey Edorh. See more of Sokey's work here.

Dance the Trance. Fabric and thread collage by Mary-Ann Orr.

Mary-Ann's "Thread-art works utilize unwanted household textiles, industrial waste and virtually anything that can be stitched down. The textiles are deconstructed into confetti-sized pieces, providing her with a pallet of millions of multi-coloured pieces that are then re-constructed into canvases."

See more of Mary-Ann's work at The Cape Gallery, here.