Friday, July 4, 2008


This morning started on a shrill note. The Hadedas roost on the roof and I swear they tiptoe over to where I'm sleeping, peep over the edge and say....yep, dead to the world...and then all hell breaks loose. They have a cry like a hundred wailing babies. I just about hit the roof every time!

We had an early trip to Durban planned, to deliver a carving and fetch a fishing rod ....... then the day was ours to browse. We headed to Art Africa in Umhlanga, my favourite shop in KwaZulu Natal.

They stock a wonderful selection of African artefacts, both traditional and contemporary. Most of my Ethiopian crosses come from Art Africa and I have my eye on quite a few other pieces but today was just for browsing.

A new consignment of life sized colonial figures had just arrived. Traditionally a Baoule woman would have a carving made of her future husband , dressed in the garb of whatever profession she admired. With the colonial influence in Africa the idealised vision of her future husband changed and the more westernised figures of doctors, teachers, priests, businessmen, chefs etc. became popular.

It was a treat to get out of the house to waft around the shops, eating food that I didn't have to cook and just sit, contemplating the sea from a cafe at the top of the hill. It's taken me far too long to finish my carving order due to a little accident or two, starting with a nick in one thumb. You won't believe how painful a nicked thumb can be....and as if that wasn't enough the following day I sliced through the other one with a chisel. Something I havn't done in years. Nicks yes but slices no. (Funnily enough it is the exact spot I had stitched when I sliced through my thumb when I was about 15 ). Since my trip to casualty I've been floating around with two thumbs sticking up at right angles, feeling very clumsy....and all thumbs! Ah well that will teach me for carving like a hooligan.


  1. Hi Robyn, that sounds like such an interesting day you had.
    What an exotic world!Beautiful colours , monkeys, strange birds, I'm fascinated. . .
    I think your blog is wonderful and now I know where you are, I'll call again!
    Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my blog.
    Kind regards, Annette

  2. What a perfect day and that shop looks awesome - very stimulating!

    When we lived by the ocean, all the birds would start the greatest cacaphony at 4:00 in the morning. I used to think it was birdy joy at being alive, but recently found out that sounds carry better at that time so instinct programed them to sing out to find mates. Perhaps it's the same for your birds- or maybe they're practical jokers.

    One thing I know, I've slept better with 4 busy lanes of traffic, a constuction crew, and a jackhammer outside my first floor bedroom window in the city than the intense level of bird noise we were treated to in the country. No exageration!

    Congrats on your award, and thanks for passing it on :) If I'm passing it on to my favorite bloggers, you'd have to get it again! Lol

  3. Love the name of the birds. They could form a chorus with our laughing Kookaburras!
    Sending healing thoughts to you and your thumbs ( understand mosaics can do the same to me). Window shopping and gazing at the sea....sigh.

  4. Annette, thanks for visiting and for your sweet comment. See you over at Fairy Shoes.

    Shayla,these birds find their mates, have 2 to 3 children and then bring them all back to sit on my roof for choral practice!

    Herhimnbryn, I've always loved the thought of Kookaburras. Thanks for the healing thoughts :-)

  5. Hi Robyn, thanks for commenting on my blog. I just LOVE your carved panels, would love to be able to touch them, wood has so much warmth and personality. And thank you for introducing me to the beauty of Ethiopian crosses, I've never seen them before and they are very much the kind of thing I love, all the pattern and intricacy, like paper cutting, but with wood. I hope your thumbs feel better soon (ouch).

  6. Robyn, there aren't many bloggers that can cause me to laugh, drool, and wince during one post! But the ha de das caused the laughter, the colorful shop goods caused the drooling, and of course, the thought of you in pain caused me concern.
    Take care of yourself, and keep sharing your beauty,

  7. If your art comes from carving like a hooligan, well, then so be it! Sorry about the nicked thumbs. Small price to pay for your fabulous carvings. I know, easy for me to say! ;)

    Fun to accompany you on your little shopping trip. Love those Ethiopian crosses!!!

  8. thanks for taking me on a tour of your area! what a delightful sojourn on the other side of the world!! your carved panel is breathtaking! i sliced my left thumb with an exacto knife at work last week. i can't imagine what it must be like to have both thumbs sore at the sae time. hope you heal quickly!

  9. I love this story about your wonderful day. Those birds sound like they know exactly what they are doing! I hope you feel very well again soon. Thank you for your visit and lovely comments on my blog. It's very nice to become introduced to yours also!

  10. I just finished taking pictures of a dove in her nest just outside my window and was ready to post! While she's not a squawker like your Ha-de-das (great name!),she does wake me up at 6 o'clock on the dot every morning with her cooing.

    Fabulous store!! What a great day to be lolling about Looks like you and your thumbs earned a day off!!
    Take care of those pinkies!!

  11. Oh man - I just want to go back to South Africa again to see that store! Those statues are so cool. And yes, you are just plain fun to read - such a diverse planet we live on and it is so fun to hear about your part of the world.

  12. First of all, I hope the thumb is all better. I *do* know how painful a sore thumb can be...ouch.

    Secondly, thanks for taking us along to this fascinating shop. I think I would need to have a wheelbarrow along if I ever went shopping here...I can see myself picking up a number of items easily.

    I have some African art and maybe I should do a post on've inspired me....

  13. Lavinia, I can't wait to read your post on your African art. It's interesting to hear other's perspective on things that I am so used to I often forget that it's different elsewhere.

    Heather I hope you write a post on your trip to South Africa sometime.

    Stephanie I will be right on over to see your dove post.

    DJ, that's quite a funny image ...laughing, drooling, wincing all at once. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Willow, I have my eye on a huge ceremonial cross that fits onto a post for processions.

    Julie, those sorts of cuts usually mend quickly. Hope yours is better soon.

    Kris, you are right....ha-de-das know exactly what they'r doing.

  14. Robyn, I have so enjoyed opening my Yahoo page each morning for the past days, with the image of that colonial figure staring at me. One of your posters talked about laughing, drooling, wincing - she hit that nail right on its head, lol. Very, very funny, if not annoying, about your natural alarm clock! But that shop! I am seriously a NON-shopper, until there is a spot like that one. Your new panel is, as all of the others, to-die-for. Virginia

  15. Are you old enough, and safe enough to be left alone with sharp instruments?

  16. Your "day in the life" sounds like an exotic vacation to me. I sympathize with your recent casualties. I know soooo well how painful a nicked thumb can be. Love the door - your carvings are amazing, definitely not the work of a hooligan!!

  17. What a marvellous art Afria shop. I would love to browse in there too. Animals, colours. How inspiring.

  18. Avus, I take that as a compliment!

    Thanks Kerri and June, I will be popping over to visit your blogs soon. (There's a poem in there!)

  19. Those european crosses are incredible, I love them! Also your creation in the last picture is beautiful! Roxanne

  20. Thank you, thank you for taking us along on your day's excursion! I felt like I was there. And what a wonderful place to be.

    Love your art. I too have cut my thumbs with chisels upon occassion, once upon a time when I worked with wood.

  21. Jo, it's my pleasure. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

    Roxanne, You won't believe the beautiful artefacts I have found from Ethiopia. They are so different to the rest of Africa.