Saturday, November 24, 2012


 Penny  (Back Valley Seasons) commissioned one of my small niche carvings recently and asked me to do a post with  photos showing where I find the objects that go into them.

Many times it's a case of 'the early bird get's the worm' so we set off to weekend markets at the crack of dawn.....

.... to arrive there when stall holders have just set up their wares.
Our favourite market is just under an hour's drive away and begins at 6.00am.

Sometimes I find small or unusual pieces on street vendors tables...

.... at scrapyards and junk shops throughout KwaZulu Natal

Vintage furniture dealers out in the country...

Wherever we go we are on the look out for shops that sell old bits and pieces, though it's becoming harder and harder to find the bargains. We live in hope...

Beach gathering is my favourite pastime. Husband goes fishing on three coasts..... North, South and the most beautiful of all, the Wild Coast in the Transkei. When I can I will tag along and we holiday at the Wild Coast at least once a year.

Up at dawn to catch the ferry across the estuary ....

to the other side where I spend the whole day walking....

.... sifting through shells

searching for solitary cowries in sand hollows and pools

collecting driftwood 

... and pebbles.


  1. Lovely, thank you. You seem to have more shells than we do anymore down here, probably too many people, I will send you a pebble John found for you this morning.

  2. What fun the gathering would be. I would be humming the song sang by a Mr Fudd a cartoon character from my youth, "A huntin' we will go, a huntin' we will go..." Have a great weekend..."a huntin'...

  3. As you probably will know Robin, is this log outright my thing :-). And I also love very much your artwork. It is a product of a way of life. Skimming the flea markets, looking for something useful, finding bargains, so that your heart beats faster ;-). And above all the beachcombing while your "Oneandonly" stands fishing in the distance on the horizon.
    PS: You were right. The cross on the rocks also made me think of Antoni Tàpies

  4. Lovely new piece of work. It's lovely to see where you collect your treasures. I'm a hunter gatherer along the beaches too.

  5. Your landscapes are stunning Robyn... I could become lost in them and never come out.
    I love this Piece you have made for Penny!

  6. oh, how i would love to tag along with you on your treasure hunts! each and every place holds such opportunity - there is so much that goes into your work, the thought and time...
    this new one is (as always) rich yet essential, perfectly balanced in all ways -
    and i love your carvings...

  7. aside from your beautiful work i particularly like that image of the blue and green tables piled up on the verandah
    those colours simply sing so well

  8. This particular piece feels very heartwarming to me... bird, frog, fish and I ove the tree! Up to be at a market at 6am... that's commitment, and I'd also like to tag along, what different little treasures I would find.

  9. Robyn, Wonderful! As I was looking at the first photo, I was thinking, where does she get all that great stuff! Lovely post.xoxo

  10. What a wonderful post. I love your art work at the top, I love the taste of the market you give us and I love those superbly empty beach scenes. Thank you for that.

  11. This post sums up one of my personal versions of heaven!

  12. Blisssful post Robyn!
    I loved going on your journey.. but the beach... that coast and your photos... I was awestruck!
    Those sand hollows with treasures! Just wonderful. And of course the finished work. Lucky Penny!

  13. as much as I enjoy your post about other artists, I enjoy the posts about you the most - loved you sharing you and your process xox

  14. Love this new piece and thanks for sharing your gathering walk!

  15. A bower bird, otherwise known as an artist, finds beauty and meaning amongst the many choices.

  16. The thrill of the hunt and a relaxing and meditative time in the process. The beach look so mesmerizing.

  17. Your words and photographs bring back happy memories of holidays on the Wild Coast and Kwa Zulu Natal beaches - wonderful days.

  18. Like Jeane I like your posts about yourself and your own art best of all. This tale of treasure hunting is precious. I love beach combing, too, but ours here in the northwest corner of Oregon have very few shells of note. What fun it would be to join you on a day at the beach and maybe an entire week at your unusual-to-me markets.

  19. That coast line looks so inviting. I can just imagine a whole day spent finding treasure there.

  20. yes, robyn, so fun to walk through the travels and see through your eyes a bit. my favorite is the table pic, and i also like the odd cup tree!

  21. What a beautiful piece Robin, and I love seeing images and hearing about your gatherings of beautiful things. so lovely!

  22. Thanda ! Thanda ! Thanda!

    What r those tiny carved faces right bottom ? Second image. )

  23. the shells, the driftwood, the rocks!! oh my! but what me right over here was seeing your carving in my sidebar... : )


  24. that should read: "what got me right over here..."

    rolls eyes...

  25. Thanks for sharing the process of collecting items. Your finished piece is just lovely. I wish I could tag along on one of your outings. Chicago is just a bit too far away though!

  26. Thanks so much for taking us on that journey Robin. Wonderful carving for Penny...and to know the story too...that is lovely.

    Love that little cache of pebbles. I would want to take them all home. What is it about those lovely smooth rocks and pebbles. Just makes us want to pick them up and take them home. Little talismans.

    Jacky xox

  27. Aren't we lucky to have such abundance around us, that which is already there & that which is left by us. I'm so glad I can appreciate that kind of beauty & admire so much your interpretation of those things.

  28. We have some great flea markets here too, but they catch on quick to the items we consider "finds." As always, I am a huge fan of your work. Love little niches.

  29. Lucky've made the most superb piece for her. She'll love it. Thanks for the little tour of the markets etc.

  30. What a wonderful post! I was lucky enough to have seen a sketch posted on your blog of my piece in process - indicating where each thing originated from. I've since learned the special meaning of the cowries - and in this season of American Thanksgiving, I am thankful every day to see your beautiful totem on my wall.

  31. What beautiful work you make..!!! Enjoyed reading your post. following.. :)

  32. your new piece is stunning as always, I adore your work, and the beach photos are wonderful, those sand hollows and pools are amazing...

  33. I was sure you had a magical never empty stash box of things and more things! Thank you for sharing your wanderings...I bet you never come home without some kind of little beauty! So nice to see your work!

  34. your work is beautiful and taking us on the 'collecting' journey was a joy. Thank you

  35. Penny, it depends on the area. Our South Coast is stripped of the good shells. Looking forward to seeing the pebble! Thank you John!

    Annie, indeed!

    Lisa at Greenbow, I think I remember Mr Fudd.

    Wim, indeed. I couldn't go wandering on my own so it's very convenient to have "Oneandonly" fishing in the distance.

    Thanks Ro, half the fun of doing what we do is the searching and gathering.

    Thanks Gwen, your landscape calls to me too.

    Mairedodd, thank you. It would be great to go treasure hunting together. I'm sure you have your enviable treasure hunting spots too.

    India, the blue table legs and the weathered red telephone sign ....

    Valerianna, in Winter the farmers markets start later since its still dark at 6.00am.

    Annie C, sometimes a month or two will go by without any treasure finds.

    Weaver, the empty wild coast beaches are so beautiful. A wonderful place to rejuvenate.

    Deborah, mine too :-)

    Sophie, the sand hollows were amazing! The wind was blowing so hard that day I very nearly didn't take photos.

    Jeane, thank you so much. It's thanks to Penny that I searched through all my photos to do this post.

    Mo, my pleasure. The post brought back happy memories.

    Leslie, we are lucky :-)

  36. Linda, you have no idea how much I long to go back to that beach!

    Carol, once you've experienced a wild coast holiday no other beach seems good enough.

    Jo R, I've never thought of our markets as unusual but I suppose the African flavour makes them different. When I was at the Rastro in Madrid I thought no other market could come close but it's all about the flavour of each country... or village.

    Kathryn, the long beach in the photo is firm for walking which is wonderful and then just around the corner is a soft shelly beach. I enjoy the long walk there and back.

    Velma, the cup tree looks even better face to face.

    Thanks Kim H, the wonderful thing about blogs is to be able to enjoy each others art and gatherings.

    Mansuetude, the little faces are stone carvings from Zimbabwe. I had quite a few but my little cache is dwindling and I will be so sorry when they are all used up.

    Lynne H, thank you xoxo

    Sarala, hmmmm ...I wouldn't mind traipsing around Chicago.

    Jacky, there are a few stories attached to the objects. Since Penny's husband and mine are both anglers I wanted to put a few things in the carving for him too.
    The old copper swivels were given to my husband with stories "attached". It was his idea to send one to John. My vintage swivel stash is dwindling fast.

    Emma, I'm determined to go on a gathering expedition on Skye!

    Hi Kerri Jean, we need to stay ahead of the game don't we? Constantly alert and seeing old everyday things with new eyes.

    Thanks Jo M, the carving is already on Penny's wall. It didn't take as long as I thought it would at this time of the year.

    Heather, thank you. It makes me very happy knowing that my/your totem is watching over you.

    Erin, thanks so much. I enjoyed seeing your work too.

    Nance, glad you enjoyed the post!

    Cat, the pool is just calling out for wiggly toes.I can almost feel my feet sinking into the sand.

    Mary Ann, the stash needs to be topped up soon.... well that's my story anyway :-)

    Thanks PJ, glad you came along for the walk.

  37. So you do the same looking and searching we do here.. whether it is a flea market or junk shop.. or the beach looking for driftwood, shells or rocks.. we are the same. Connected by our love of the search.

  38. Wow, your landscapes are stunning!
    The piece you made for Penny looks fantastic, Robyn. Loved to see where you collect your treasures. There is nothing like a day at a good flea market. I wish I could be with you to hunt the treasures.

    Wishing you a wonderful December.
    Gaby xo

  39. Yvette, THE walks for sure!

    Donna, the blog world is infested with hunter gatherers :-)

    Gaby, a wonderful December to you too. Can you believe it? It was January only yesterday.

  40. Thank you for taking this on your scavenger hunt of treasures. What a rich and inspiring environment! xo

  41. I feel so lucky to have been able to go with you on this hunting expedition!

  42. So glad I didn't miss your hunter/gatherer posting. Loving your work Robyn.