Friday, July 15, 2011


This week has been one of those full-tilt-singing-as-one-goes sort of weeks. The days have been glorious, though cold enough to wear a tartan coat and a sunbeam....

I finished the door commission, mentioned a few posts ago......

...... and visited my "good luck" gallery in my favourite little mountain village ....

..... ate lunch next to a waterfall, at a restaurant overlooking the farm where I spent most of my childhood.

I also treated myself to a Clementina van der Walt plate, something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

Ceramics by Clementina van der Walt at The Underberg Studio. The plate I bought is in the top left corner.

The Underberg Studio gallery stocks art by leading South African ceramists. This little gallery is my lucky charm ..... and I'm not saying anymore in case I jinx it ;-)

Quirky ceramic jugs by Hennie Meyer.

Ceramic Tile by Cathy Brennon. (I happen to have this tile on my wall :-)

Cathy and Lawrance Brennon, the owners of the gallery, are both recognized artists in their own right. Cathy is a ceramist who creates a range of amazing pieces, from delicate, detailed bowls to earthy, African inspired body masks.

Delicate bowl by Catherine Brennon at The Underberg Studio gallery.

Lawrance is a photographer who captures the stunning beauty of surrounding mountains with his camera. He also makes pinhole cameras and has a blog where he shares his passion for photography.

Potter at Work by Lawrance Brennon. See more on Lawrance's blog, here.

The ceramics studio (attached to the gallery), is full to brimming with bits and pieces that grip one's attention from the moment one walks in the door.

Ceramics Studio. The clay busts you see are also made by Cathy.

Have you ever tried holding a conversation with someone while your eyes are darting around the room and though you are hanging onto every word because the words are important you are battling to pull your eyes back into their sockets so that you don't appear rude? That is what it is like for me when visiting the studio. There is just so much I need to look at! Shelves of art books ...... half finished ceramic pieces ..... new ideas carved in clay .... pottery tools ..... sacred treasures gathered on walks ..... shards of blue and white porcelain, stumbled upon during a trip to Japan .... pinch pots filled with found objects and inspiration.

"There are mountainous, arduous days, up which one takes an infinite time to climb, and downward-sloping days which one can descend at full tilt, singing as one goes". - Marcel Proust


  1. oh what a wonderful week it sounds like you had - your finished door is absolutely amazing Robyn and I love the Proust quote xo

  2. Robyn, I can see why your eyeballs had trouble sticking in their sockets! And I think the new owners of that splendid door are also **lucky**....

    p.s. dog napping = priceless :>}

  3. Hearing that you are carving and creating in the cool sunshine is very comforting to me. Knowing that the artist is "in the studio" helps me imagine a world swinging back into balance.

  4. What a happy, wondrous post Robyn and your door is beautiful! The quote says it are an inspiration!

  5. Exquisite art Robyn. I have recommended your blog to some blog friends who called in to see me. He is an artist in wood amongst other things and I am sure he cannot but be amazed at your work. I wish I could call in to see it all.

  6. How wonderful and lucky to have such a special gallery to inspire.

    (And your dog is so lucky to have such a sunny nap spot!)

    I had a dream the other day where I was on an Interior Design Reality Show here in the states (Design Star). In one of those ridiculous work-against-the-clock competitions, I really wanted to use one of your pieces, so I was trying to find out how much it would be to ship one overnight from SA. I imagine it would have been ridiculous!

  7. your 'mentioned' link doesnt work :(
    and you gave your door such little 'bravado' here !!!! shame on you.
    it looks wonderful robyn....a story for sure and i want to close my eyes and just FEEL it.

  8. Well, well!....what a small world we live in!

    I've got one of those Clementina plates too....

    If you go to her blog, and click on "Art Shop and Gallery", you'll get to Abergavenny which is 17 miles from here, and where I bought my plate last year.

    Mine's a delicious red...

    ...I'll post a piccie in my next posting :-)

  9. Your door is just beautiful and it is thrilling to see it. Your dog looks so happy in the sunshine. Makes me want to go find my own sunbeam...

  10. Lots of beautiful work! And its hot and sunny here, summer full-tilt - so I want to jump into the pond next to the waterfall, as long as nothing in there would eat me.... after visiting my parents in Florida, I now have my radar out for large, sharp-toothed predators lurking at the bottom of refreshing bodies of water.

    Love the patterns on the plates.

  11. Congratulations on your glorious door Robyn, resplendent with imagery which speaks to me as a Dream of an African Prayer. It is beautiful and rich, uniquely Robyn, and very satisfying to see.

    Thank you for the links to Kathy and Lawrence. I truly enjoy seeing their work, and thanks for the studio peek. I feel an urge to pick things up and turn them in my hands for a good long look.

    Love the quote and how it fits your life today.

    So are you going to tumblr your door, or shall I? ;o) Itching....

  12. Thanks Jeane, the quote really appealed to me.

    Sweetpea, thanks so much. Believe it or not that dog is quite cuddly.

    Jan, ah yes, it certainly brings balance into my life when I'm creating art.

    Cynthia, thank you!

    Thanks Weaver, the carving looks and feels far more weathered in real life. I wish you could have a closer look.

    Heather, it would probably break the bank to send one to you overnight! But we can try it :-)

    Paula, did I tell you it is a Tribal Story Door? Thank you!

    Chris, oh the red Clementinas are so beautiful!It is certainly a small world!Looking forward to your post.

    Thanks Jackie, there's nothing quite like an African sunbeam in winter.

    Valerianna, the pond was full of Rainbow Trout...... and it was a little too chilly to jump into. Though it doesn't show in the photo there is snow on the far mountains.

    Leslie, thank you! Tumblr away if you want :-)
    Glad you like Cathy and Lawrence's links. We spent such a lovely hour with them and I left the studio with clay to play with. Wish you could visit. I know you would get on so well with them and the gallery and studio are wonderful. My photos were not so good otherwise i would have included more.

  13. the door is fantastic! I need that door! I want that door!

  14. This door is insane. What a treat it would be to be able to walk through it daily. I just love ceramics. I haven't bought any in some time. I like the quirky pitchers. I have seen tea pots made in a similar fashion. I hope you are still singing a happy tune.

  15. robyn, you are too modest about the door. It is wonderful! lucky them! enjoyed the ceramics especially the pitchers! they look like some sort of bird bill to me!

  16. j'adore le chien et le tout!!!!

  17. Wow! Magnificent! So glad you shared it! I love the repetition, symmetry, symbols . . etc., etc. . . and the beauty of your environment (waterfall & rocks) is so priceless.

    And the wandering eyes . . yes! . . with their bookshelves . . art on their walls . . art studios . . glad I"m not the only one! . . lol

  18. The door is amazing..So much beauty and wow the owners how blessed to have this..Thank you for always sharing new artists..I always enjoy looking.

  19. "Singing as one goes..."

    Was here earlier, got dragged away but the joy radiating from your post got dragged along with me.

    Your door is visual poetry, story & rhythm. Opens the imagination like opening a book--so many will get to "read" it.

    That dog of yours "knows" some blissful secret on how to live, i am sure of this. And your childhood farm, the waterfall, the ceramics... Don'[t want to mess with your belif system :) but I think You Are your own Lucky Charm.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  20. And there I was thinking it was you wearing the tartan and the sunbeam!! Such a lovely post. So many different interesting things to savour. Thanks.

  21. Such a beautiful door. I really love your carved trees, they speak to me very strongly. I love the quote and think at the moment the first part is me, I do hope that the second part is not too far away.

  22. Your door looks magnificent, your clients should be very happy. Love the ceramics too.

  23. Oh Robyn, those doors are gorgeous! I SO want to touch... and your sleeping pup, adorable :) Enjoyed following you from natures beauty to fellow artist's. xoxo

  24. Beauty creates beauty.
    I'm so proud to know you.
    Love & Laughter...

  25. "singing as one goes".....and as 'one' reads your post.

  26. That happens to me all the time. Natural curiosity is my social downfall. I love your new door Robyn. I think it is my favorite to date. Wishing you more cool comfortable days and a song in your heart!

  27. Lovely post... Your doors are wonderful, photos of your trip breath taking and the quote by Marcel Proust is my life.
    Thanks for sharing once again.

  28. Your new piece is exceptional. I am inspired every time I see your work. And what a wonderful week you had. Those places you visited, inside and out, all look so inviting.

  29. So much to enjoy here, and I will! But right now I am loving that dog in the shirt!

  30. Don M, :-)

    Lisa at Greenbow, Hennie Meyer makes tipsy teapots as well as the jugs. One can't help smiling at them.

    Lyle, thank you!

    Elfi, le chien thanks you :-)

    Jann G, you would love Cathy's studio!

    Thanks Katelen!

    Thanks so much Mansuetude. Ben the dog certainly knows the secret to easy living.

    Annie, I share Ben's sunbeam whenever I can.

    Thanks Penny, .... the second part is usually just around the corner.

    Ro, thank you!

    Thanks Karin, I think carved wood has to be touched.

    DJ, you are so sweet...thank you!

    Neva, still singing....

    Thanks so much Chris.

    Karen, glad you enjoyed the post. thank you!

    Seth, thank you! Our day in Underberg was particularly wonderful.

    Laura, the amazing thing is Ben allowed us to put the jersey on him in the first place but he actually lifts each paw up to go through the arm holes and doesn't like taking it off in the morning.

  31. "Pulling my eyes back into their sockets"
    Exactly how I feel while reading your posts. So much to visit, see,,,experience.
    Thanks Robyn!

  32. Exactly the same dog I meet every morning on the beach.

  33. Absolutely fascinating post thank you. LOVE the work you've shown and have checked all those artists out via the net. You have been busy... THAT is a door!!!

  34. Very cool ceramic pieces!
    Your commission piece is pretty amazing!!!
    Thanks for sharing your photos!!

  35. Wow!! A door to the fairytale "South Africa"

  36. R- had a really big smile when I read the title and opening words of your post - it was filled with such joy and accomplishment and what a stunning piece - another treasure for someone's home. And I just loved the photo of the snoozing dog in the sun - is it yours? Gl;ad you rewarded yourself with the gallery visit and purchase' and thanks for sharing it with us. Go well. B

  37. I 'adore' your door! and your doggy...aaaw too cute!

  38. A wonderful door Robyn - I love all the rusty elements; and as ever, it is so beautifully balanced. The dog shot was priceless and I can feel the energy as you swing down that hill singing - continue to be bold and celebrate the moments.

  39. Dear Robyn, I like the door very much! I'm afraid I don't "read" all the symbols (because of our different cultures), but that isn't an obstacle for me to enjoy your carvings! I just wonder how tall is the door and what wood it was made from?:)
    I like pottery and ceramics, so thanks for the links, leading to such beautiful places and talented people (Clementina's blog is so interesting)!
    I imagine how one feels in this studio - enchanted and lost among forms, colours, intriguing objects... I suppose that even the air there is different (like the smell on the stages of some theatres!)...
    I hope you are going to post more often, be healthy and happy!:-)

  40. I can see why this would be a 'singing as one goes" kind of week! Your door is so stunning; is someone really going to use this a DOOR? I would have it hung up on my living room wall, never to risk it being hit by a drop of water. I think I would have to give up keeping my eyes on the person who's speaking while in that shop. I'd just have to say, (as I do to my husband) "Yes, I'm listening, go on...", only I really would be listening-lol! Those ceramic pieces are scrumptious- LOVE the bowl by your friend Catherine. I'm glad I'm not there, as I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage for a few months...

  41. p.s. I wish you would include a larger picture of your door, so old people like me can see it! :~)

  42. Oh this post sings to me! It sings, 'Yes, I like that and that and that and oh, just looks at R's beautiful door!'

  43. PS. it also says 'oh look at that happy, contented hound!'

  44. i want to be doing what that dog is doing...

  45. Dear Robyn-OMG!!!! that door is...magnificent! I mean...I am just swooning over here! What do I love/adore/ about it? Everything! absolutely...everything...the sun, the tree, the colors and form, the earthiness and poetry, the sheer delight in looking at it, the symbolism and structures, the metal and wood. It is ...just magic. I can see why you are "at full tilt, singing as you go"...I would be too:) LOVE!!!
    I thought of you today as it is Mandela's 93rd birthday. Of course now, everytime I see or hear anything about S.A. I think of you. So glad you treated yourself to a plate and visit to the art have been working hard. So glad you are back at blogging though:) xxx

  46. Oh yes, I know that feeling very well, and its hard not to feel rude but ya just gotta look at everything, soak it all in, like a sponge, then walk away in 'inspiration' overload! Much like when I visit your blog!

    Is that your dog?? My heart aches, I had a bully his name was Bud he lived to 15yrs, I would soooo love to get another Bully one day....

  47. There is so much to see and do in your world of art and creativity- no wonder you are 'singing as you go' along- wish I could join you some day. wonderful door by the way....

  48. Wow what magnificent door. I am sure that this will be a piece that will be cherished by many generations to come.
    When I die I want to come back as a dog like yours.

  49. Babs, glad to see you are back in the blogworld!

    Thanks Wim! The beach is not the best place for Ben. He gets very skittish so we havn't taken him again.

    Jo, as busy as a bee before Summer arrives!

    Barry, yes the dog is my big baby. He guards me with his life .... which can be a little daunting for those who just want to be my friend.

    Thanks Azirca. Ben IS cute ....though he is a big powerful chap.

    Fiona, :-) Thank you!

    Rossichka, the symbols on the door are not too mysterious. Actually I should have written a little about the symbolism. Maybe another post. It is 140cm x 65cm in size and is more of a decoration for the wall rather than a working door. You are right about the different smells in different studios. My outdoor "studio" smells of sawdust and flowers and sometimes woodfiller.

    Sharmon, the "door" will hang on the wall. To see larger photos and details go to my website by clicking on door, just above the door photo..... or

    Carla, thank you!

    HHnB, we like our hounds to be happy and content don't we?!

    India...... he is still in that position... another time ... another day :-)

    Thanks so much Soraya. Did you see all the great birthday photos floating about the internet? There's a beautiful one of Graca laughing at Nelson blowing out his birthday candles.

    Kim, once you've had a bully you always want another. We've had them all my life.

  50. Thanks Donna,I say the same thing about your world :-)

    John, thank you! Ben has had a very lazy winter but it will be back to early morning exercise as the weather warms up.

  51. Last it seems to say it Hallelujah on such a blessed day. Door is as beautiful as your day and now mine begins perfectly for having read this post!

  52. Wow, wow and wow! That door is absolutely awesome. I really adore what you have created. You've been on my mind lately, I pulled out the lino carving box and reminded myself of how much I enjoy carving the lino. Your works amazing:)

  53. What a beautiful week you have had...gorgeous countryside and those ceramics!!!! Your new plate is lovely. I love to be surrounded by wonderful works of art.
    Your door!!!! Just magnificent. You must be so proud. I love the horseman and the horses. Would love to know the story it tells.
    Another wonderful quote written in my journal with todays few words.

    Jacky xox

  54. Wow! Where have you been all my life! I love your work and your blog! Beautiful!!! Is that your dog? What a doll. I will be back for sure. I came by way of Babs. xoxo

  55. Everything looks and sounds wonderful here!!! Especially love the waterfall, and that you had lunch inthe restaurant that looks over the farm where you used to live! And those beautiful plates, and now one of them is yours!
    Your new door is exquisite... roxanne

  56. Mary Ann, have a great day! Thank you.

    Shayla, a wonderful place!

    Thanks Lucky Dip Lisa, your linocut nests come immediately to mind. Hope you carve a few more soon.

    Thanks Jacky, this is the countryside that I feel most at home in.

    Annie...LOL.... thank you. My dog is a doll!

    Roxanne, when I lived there, there were no such things as restaurants but they have now blossomed all over the place. We bought supplies 8 miles away at a village store that smelled of farm. It was a wonderful life.

  57. WOW, let me join the masses in saying how fantastic your door is. Spectacular work, Robyn!
    Love the ceramics too...especially the jugs!