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Newsletter November 2006

Dear ALL

Dates to diarise:

· Late Jan/Feb 2007 Fibreworks IV at the Africa Museum Pretoria. More on this later
· April Fibreworks TEN Nova Constantia Cellars Cape Town. More on this later
· 24 March - 2 May 2007 Xcape.
· April 2006 Major Minors II and other Fibreworks artworks. Margate Art Museum

Next Meeting: 1 December - Xmas lunch at Helga's,10.30 for 11am
21a Alexander Ave Kloof 3610, tel 031 764 0854

AGM Meeting on10 October 10am at Jenny Hearn's home in Gauteng:

Members present: Karin Arbeter, Odette Tolksdorf, Jeanette Gilks, Sue Akerman, Judy Breytenbach, Santie McIntosh, Annette McMaster, Helga Beaumont, Sue Physick, Jenny Hearn, Carolyn Kode, Dana Biddle, Kim Tedder, Linda Jones, Jean Powell

Guests: K Landon, C Harris, S Prakke, W McConnell, S Ratto, J Svensson

Apologies: M Ruxton, M Garratt, J Faulds, S Scott, M Letts, L Douglas, S Funston,
N Diab, M Letts.

Achievements of Members:

Jutta Faulds:

Jutta's solo exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg was a splendid demonstration of a life's dedication to the fibrearts. What a joy! Thank you, Jutta for lifting MY spirits and, it seems, everyone elses. Jinny Heath's opening address was as usual both witty and pithy. Her animated opening address was in many ways the verbal equivalent to the colours and textures we saw on the walls… Juliette Leeb-du-Toit who has a P HD in Art History and who operates from the Centre for Visual Art at Natal University wrote a paper on Jutta within the context of world wide fibre/textile trends. The paper titled, 'The significance of Jutta Faulds in the development of fabric art ' makes fascinating reading and I have decided to place it on our website when Julie sends it to me. She is delighted that we have decided to place it on our website! . This kind of academic writing on fibreartists and their work is LONG overdue. Thank you, Juliette.

Lynette Douglas:

Here is an excerpt from an article that featured in Vogue Patterns April/May 2006:

"On her way home to South Africa from a "Design Outside The Lines" retreat hosted by M. Tilton and D. Ericson, Lynette Douglas visited New York … and enthusiastically showed us one of her many creations - a Koos van den Akker reversible coat V2757, which she interpreted in magnificent South African style… She took a Vogue Pattern and made it uniquely her own… a "Koos in Africa " coat.

"Many of the basic features of the van den Akker coat have been retained…but the fleece interlining was omitted as it is far too hot for Africa's climate, and all the fabrics are lightweight cotton and polyester. For the main outer fabric Douglas chose to use … a cotton fabric called Ishweshwe. The printed cotton fabric came to Africa from Europe in the Victorian era and is now manufactured in South Africa. …it is now used extensively in Afro-chic styling. Traditionally these brightly coloured fabrics are printed on red, blue and brown base-cloth. The brown cloth used in this coat includes the face of Nelson Mandela in the design. The reverse side of the fabric is what is most interesting to Douglas… in addition to a muted bleed-through of the print from the right side was the manufactures logo, 'Madiba's Range'. It's this delicate version of the print that she chose to use as her right side… For the contrast fabric a wildlife animal print was used … and elsewhere in the coat frayed fabric looked like fur, a perfect partner for the animal print. The eyes of the animals are embellished with gold beads…a comment too on South Africa's rich mineral heritage…

Sue Stevenson won First Prize in the Wearable Art section at the National Quit Festival in Port Elizabeth.

Congratulations to all the achievers!

Fibreworks web

site: and

· The web site is live! Please will you check your page on the website and let Helga know if there are any errors. Some of you still have not sent your photographs - you now have another chance to send them. If you do not have access to a computer, get hold of a Fiberworks member who does and get them to check your information. We want to iron out any snags and mistakes, however small. I hope you are pleased with the thoroughly professional look of the website. THANK YOU Rod, Helga and Odette for all your valuable time in launching our site. It has taken a long time but now has the class and mark of a real CLASSIC - restrained, apparently effortless; clear and easy to read. WOW! EVERYONE! We can TELL THE WORLD NOW.

· The various spellings of FIBRE/FIBER is intentional. Fiber is American and Fibre is English, but since a good 90% of our viewers will be American - statistically Americans make more hits on more sites than any other nation - it makes sense that we use FIBER at least once on every page of our site. We want to BE FOUND by the world out there and most of the world is on the other side of the Altantic! (And after reading Bill Bryson's 'Mother Tongue' I feel a whole lot less twitchy and irritated by American spellings…)

· We have decided to include an EDITED version of the newsletter on the website. I spoke to Margie Garratt prior to the AGM and she emphasized the importance of this - all sorts of doors will open for us if we are prepared to broadcast ourselves. We will still continue to send the newsletter snail mail to those who want it delivered this way and we will also continue to send to all our complimentary members.

· We would like to get the Fibreworks IV works on the website as soon as possible. If you do not want to exhibit your Fibreworks IV work for whatever reason, you have up to the end of November to let Helga know, after that the works will be put on the web site. We thank Jenny Hearn for organizing and paying the photographer to photograph the Fibreworks IV artworks. As the quality of the photographs have to be of a very high standard to do justice to the works, a good photographer is essential - hence launching the web site with Major Minors I and II. Jenny will be selling the CD's of the Fibreworks IV work at R100 each to cover costs. Contact her on 011 783 8321.

Major Minors II:

All members are asked to sell at least 5 catalogues. Contact Helga for books. Of the 60 works, 10 have been sold and some of the works have been taken by the buyers. There are always buyers who will only buy artworks if they can take them immediately. Clearly we have made exceptions to the policy ( that sold works remain with the exhibition until the end of the travelling show) when the sale of a work is jeopardized.

Fibreworks IV:

The exhibition was a great success. Thank you Jenny and your team for a job done efficiently. Thanks also to all the JHB members who kindly gave KZN members LIFTS to various destinations. Jenny and Dana sent all participating artists their 'Observations on the Fibrework IV' which I found helpful and informative. Here under is an abbreviated version for the benefit of those members who would not have received a copy:

1. The exhibition should be put up the day before the opening, to avoid rushing the hanging process.

2. The deadline must be two weeks before the hanging date, so that a mock-up can be made. If the artist is really, really, really desperate, we could accept a week before. We need the time to cut and prepare the slats, laminate the CV's, the motivations etc. If it is a small gallery, we should allow up to three works per entrant, with two (or less) to be accepted. Dana and I believe that we need to charge a small fee, to cover the costs of slats, laminating, etc. These costs are beyond the scope, or intention of the subs.

3. We think it would be a good idea for each artist to write a short CV, including all their art achievements, to be hung next to their piece. The public finds it interesting to put work and artist together

4. The curator of Unisa, Meredith Randall, stated that the work was generally priced in the same range as other contemporary arts.

5. Perhaps it would be a good idea to consider framing the smaller works. Sue Wademan, Australia, has found that her work sells better when framed.

6. Caxton, publisher of the local knock-and-drops, was user-friendly and has printed some pictures of the opening, which brought many people in, but unfortunately, on our last day, because the paper was only printed the following week. So we must gear our openings so that we can get maximum publicity in the area papers.

7. We should consider opening on a Saturday lunchtime - more people would come, and include two Saturdays in the run.

8. I have had a CD made by a professional photographer, whom I use for my slides. I thought this would be useful for publicity purposes and for our website. I have done this at my own expense, because I think it is necessary to promote Fibreworks.

I will print the opening address of Franci Cronje in our next newsletter which will be placed on our website, together with Juliette's paper on Jutta. It will flow seamlessly from Juliette's paper as Franci also adopted an academic perspective on fibreworks in her speech.

African Window Pretoria

Jenny Hearn has been approached by this gallery and it seems that they are very keen to exhibit our work early next year. It is very good when a gallery approaches us! As soon as Jenny is back from Zimbabwe she will make contact with Christo Rabie the curator, and confirm the date. I am told that it is a very popular venue, and well-respected on the tourist route. There will be no cost to rent the gallery. Roy Starke had a solo exhibition there that was very successful. Please let Jenny know if she can/cannot use your Fibreworks IV work for this exhibition. She is happy to keep the work with her. If your work has been sold, you might like to submit another piece. Liaise with Jenny. Contact details: 011 783 7821

Margate Art Museum

Craig Huey, the curator of this gallery on the KZN South coast, contacted me a few weeks ago and he is very interested in exhibiting our fibre artworks together with Major Minors II. On the 29th November a number of us will be travelling down to Margate to meet him and to see the gallery. He sees the exhibition happening sometime in April next year. This will be AFTER the exhibition in Pretoria, so I see a distinct possibility of some Fibreworks IV artworks travelling to KwaZulu-Natal if you the artists, are happy with this. He wants to jury the work (not Major Minors II) and that is his prerogative. He also has no problems with the works that are older so if you have very good older works let's have 'em! Here is a curator who is not AGIST when it comes to work… what a relief…

Fibreworks TEN

At the AGM it was agreed that it would be good to have an extra-ordinary Fibreworks exhibition to celebrate our 10 years of existence. Here is what was decided:

· The theme is ' TEN ': 10 anything, ANYTHING
· We would invite 10 other artists to participate with us. We already have a number of names. One of these artists would be selected from a rural Community/ self help group
· The exhibition would be opened at Nova Constantia Cellars in Cape Town in April and run for about two weeks. DATES ARE NOT CONFIRMED YET.
· This will cost us about R1000 a week. Margie is happy with this amount and the April dates. The dates of the exhibition in Cape Town would therefore coincide with the Trans Cape / X-Cape exhibitions running in Cape Town at the same time. More on this later
· We would take the exhibition to JHB and Durban if it is not too expensive.
· Some sort of catalogue/brochure would be good but these are EXPENSIVE and time consuming to create so don't hold your breath. Any ideas from out there?

NB I have spoken to Margie Garratt and she is happy to help where she can. There is PLENTY of organization to set in place and we will need volunteers. We need to think of submission dates, who will receive/oversee/collect the submissions, setting up the show and knock down dates, invitation lists, the opening show, and of course the exhibition will have to be baby-sat. Are YOU going to help? If we have no takers, Fibreworks TEN will have been just be a nice thought…

I am thinking of running a Garret Artist drawing workshop for two days in April and helping with the setting up.

Trans Cape / X-Cape exhibition. Cape Town:

This extravaganza is expected to attract many local and international visitors. Have a look at the website for more details: We would like to be a part of this and have asked Odette to submit the information/requirements before the deadline in Early January 2007. If we are accepted the organizers will do all the signage and advertising for us - a huge saving for us financially.

Innovative Threads:

Margie Garratt's successor Liza Gillespie, sent us all a letter saying that she was 'hibernating' Innovative Threads for the time being. She got married in September and moved to Durban so she has plenty on her plate at the moment! I do hope she will be able to attend some of our meetings now that she is living closer.

Membership :

I am delighted to welcome Kerry Landon to Fibreworks! Her joyous body of work was enthusiastically received by all the members present at our meeting and she was unanimously voted on board. Congratulations Kerry!

At our meeting in Johannesburg it was unanimously decided to revert BACK to having an Annual General Meeting instead of a Biennial General Meeting. This will be held in October every year, so make a note of this and PLEASE try to attend. The meetings will most probably alternate between Durban and Johannesburg.

Prospective members are invited henceforth to submit their work to the annual AGM to showcase their work at this meeting.

Advantages of this amendment:

· Time for members to plan to attend the AGM - to be part of important decision making made by the group
· Time for prospective members to prepare and get their work together given the requirements for joining
· Assessment of prospective members' work would be fairer since there would be the SAME panel of Fibreworks members assessing the work in any given year
· Standards of assessment would remain more constant
· The responsibility of assessing other people's work is spread more evenly amongst Fibreworks members. No overloading of responsibilities on a smaller 'panel' of assessors that could and understandabely be perceived as a 'clique'
· Sharing of responsibilities makes the organization more democratic

The wording in our Documents of Intent will change very slightly as a result of this decision. I will alter it and print it in the newsletter so everyone will get a chance to study it afresh.

You will find an updated membership list at the end of this newsletter. Please check your details and let Helga know of any changes. We will print an update every year so please let Helga know if your details have changed.

NB: The meetings that we have locally in the provinces (they are rather riotous affairs in KZN) will continue as before.


Our bank balance stands at R20,945.00, About R10,000.00 is due to the artists for the sales of their artworks. Please remember that subs are due in January every year and that we have INCREASED OUR ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION to R150 in line with other similar organizations. This was a unanimous decision. It was noted that we do not require an Accountant/Auditor as we are a non-profit organisation.

Please also be aware that a decision was taken to charge hanging fees for exhibitions in the future. This will apply to the TEN exhibition planned for next year.


As we have a very loose Constitution, it was suggested that we formalise our aims and responsibilities. I am happy to this and will print it out in the next newsletter. We are all familiar with it but it is a good idea to have a copy handy when we need to refer to it.


Jeanette Gilks was unanimously voted as Chairman
Margaret Ruxton as Treasurer (she would be persuaded to do it for another year!)
Helga Beaumont is Secretary/Website
Jenny Hearn and Dana Biddle - Johannesburg Representatives

NB In the event of having to make important interim decisions, Jeanette would consult the following members:- Odette Tolksdorff, Rosalie Dace, Helga Beaumont and Margie Garratt. The members at the AGM understood and agreed.


Santie extended an invitation to come to Sewula Lodge for the AGM - if they still HAVE it. That would be wonderful. Thanks Santie! We will keep you posted regarding dates. That would be wonderful. Thanks Santie!

Lots of love,


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