Saturday, December 15, 2012


Driftwood Christmas Trees. Click.

I always enjoy Neil Gaiman's Christmas/New Year message. This one is last year's message ... in case you missed it :-)    

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family life.

Whatever is is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever."  -  Neil Gaimen

Wishing all my blog readers
Everything of the Best
and thank you
thank you !
for reading my blog.
I'm taking a blog break over the holiday season
and will be back in January.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


 Handheld figure by Robyn Gordon

I set out to carve a figure that fits comfortably in the hand and which would eventually develop a patina from handling it. It has a long way to go :-)

 Power figures by Robyn Gordon

I love the patina on wooden objects which are used daily.

Photo by David Lacina. Click here to see more of David's photos.

Look at these beautiful headrest/stools which are still used all over Africa. They are carried around by tribesmen wherever they go (hoping, perhaps for a cat nap under a tree) .

 How Kenya's Turkana men sleep by Victor Englebert. See Victor's blog here.

African headrests are carved out of a single piece of wood to the correct height and size to fit the user's head. The headrest should keep the head off the ground and keep the hair-do from being mussed.

Photos by Eric Lafforgue. See website here.

They are also used to sit on.... especially if the terrain is thorny.

 Hamer Grandpa, Ethiopia by Manon van der Lit.  Click here to see more of Manon's photos on Flickr

Carved dolls are handled daily by young women who wish to be blessed by the fertility deity, in the hopes that one day they will conceive beautiful, healthy, fat babies. They are worn tied in front ......

..... carried on the back ...

Akuaba Doll, Ghana. Photo credit: Herbert M. Cole.  More information here.

.... or played with in much the same way as my daughters played with their dolls.

Dassenech girl with doll by Eric Lafforgue. See website here

In Angola the Mucubal babies wear Ombeleketha talismans on their backs until the baby is walking.

Mucubal baby, with talisman  by Eric Lafforgue. See more of Eric's wonderful photos on Flickr here  or on his website here

With daily handling the patina of these objects deepens with sweat and natural oils. Some times goat fat is rubbed into the wood.

Agere-Ethiopia's photos on Tumblr. See more here.

It's easy to tell the difference between newly carved objects and those which have been used constantly for food preparation and storage.

Eric Lafforgue. Website here.

Hands of Samburu Tribeswoman by Keren Su. See more of Keren's work here

Walking sticks develop a lovely smooth sheen where the hands constantly grip ...

Agere-Ethiopia's photos on Tumblr. See more here.

..... and then there are the guns which unfortunately also develop a well used sheen.

Agere-Ethiopia on Tumblr. See more here.

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.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Mixed Media Collage by Christian Heinrich. See website here.

Layer upon layer ....
paint and paper
marks and gestures
metal and clay
textile and thread

Layer upon layer ....
of thoughts
and conversations
artist and medium...
medium and medium
artist and self
 Collage by Christian Heinrich. Website here
 Mixed media collage by Christian Heinrich. See more of Christian's amazing work here.
Inga Hunter : A book with carved wood covers and thick layered pages made from handmade paper and silk, with etchings and paint. Stitched together by sandwiching the binding threads between the layers of paper. See website here.

This intriguing piece by Jiyoung Chung is created with layers of joomchi paper. These pieces are hung several inches away from the wall and the shadows form yet another layer. See Jiyoung's website here.

 Francine Vernac. See Francine's lovely blog here.

 Katherine Chang Liu. See more of Katherine's beautiful layered pieces here.

Kristie Severn. (Sewn panels, stitching, acrylic, oil and collage on linen). See website here

"My process is one of intuition. This is not to say it is exclusively an impulsive act. But one in which I must trust the tools I have acquired for making art and rely on my gut reactions to guide the process. Lines dance. Scratches reveal. Thick layers hide. Passages of thread, repetitive marks and color interweave like the strips of a quilt."  -  Kristie Severn

 Jenny Verplanke. See more of Jenny's work here.

 Layered journal pages by Roxanne Evans Stout. Read about The Thread that Weaves Workshop here.

Justin Nostrala. See more here

Justin Nostrala. See more here.

 Charlene Abinante. (Layers of paper clay in wooden box) See website here.

 Brunivo Buttarelli. See Brunivo's website here.

Sculpture by Riusuke Fukahori. See more here

Riusuke Fukahori's work is a combination of painting and sculpture. This piece consists of  layer upon layer of painted fish and cast resin.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Brunivo Buttarelli. (Rock mended with metal) 

Mend: to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing ....

Looking at these images I could add .... 
Mend: to beautify and to create art.

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." - Billie Mobayed

Repaired bowls by RELAXMAX. 

Kintsugi: the artful repair of damaged things.

The Japanese Boro Yogi is a sleeping garment used like a blanket for warmth . More Boro items at Kimonoboy, here.

American 18th century carved (and repaired) bowl. 

Mending Land II by Trace Willans. (encaustic and mixed media). 

Broken Teacup by Claire Crompton. 

Susanna Bauer. Click for Susanna's website

Lawrence Carroll. 

Lawrence Carroll.

I love the fact that Lawrence Carroll's canvases are stitched, patched, stapled and mended. Hester van Dapperen also  slices through the canvas of her color field paintings and  mends them.

Hester van Dapperen. 

"Mutilations of historical works in museums inspired me to cut in planes of color. The knife in cloth gives a tension and requires on-going effort of the painter. Sutures and operations with crooked needle and twine followed. The scars in combination with added paint become an integral part of the canvas. They lead the search for the essence behind the work".  -  Hester van Dapperen

Mending Bridges by Deborah McArdle. 

Lea McComas became involved in the Peace Quilt challenge when she heard about a "call for solidarity of the women of the world to work together to defend and protect women in times of conflict and to empower women to be active agents in the peace process."

"My quilt began as a collage of photos collected over a decade of living, working, and traveling overseas. Many of the photos are my own. A friend who has traveled extensively as a medical volunteer contributed others. The photos were printed onto fabric, pieced together with scraps, and quilted in a very traditional manner. The quilt was then torn, cut, burned and shot; literally tearing families apart. Finally, a woman's hands were added to the top using fused applique and shown working to stop the destruction, mend the damage, and repair the vision." - Lea McComas

Read more about The Mending by Lea McComas here.