|Ethos & History
Our final meeting for the year meeting was held on Wednesday 19 November 2014. Not really a meeting this time, just a Christmas lunch! Odette kindly arranged for us to visit Caversham Textiles to see their fabrics and hear a short talk. It was a pleasure to listen to Malcolm Christian talk with passion and love about printing and the printing workshops he has coordinated so successfully over the last 30 odd years. These workshops have been attended over the years by South African artists such as Bronwyn Findlay and William Kentridge as well as a number of overseas artists. It appears that the Textiles workshops - a relative newcomer to Caversham - will be overseen with the same dedication, thanks to his tireless efforts and his enthusiastic daughter, Sally.
Present: Leonie Malherbe, Jeanette Gilks, Annette McMaster, Odette Tolksdorf, Sue Physick. Helga Beaumont, Carolyn Zelenka, Jean Powell. Corina Lemmer and Rosalie Dace.
Apologies:, Lynette Douglas, Cathy Knox, Dana Biddle, Kathy Harmer Fox, S. Akerman, C. Harris
Durban National Quilt Festival 2015
Fibreworks will be a guest exhibit at the Durban National Quilt Festival in 2015 at Kearsney College. The theme for the National Show is 'Creative Energy'. Perhaps keep this in mind if you are considering submitting additional work to the third leg of Fibreworks VIII! Only members who have not paid the R120 entry fee, need to pay to exhibit here. There is no other payment due. Hope this is clear.
The web site address is:- http://festival.quiltsouthafrica.co.za/ Information regarding this festival is up on the web site, and bookings open on the 15th November.
Corina recently exhibitied a body of work at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, KZN. A number of Fibreworks members were lucky enough to attend her show! Gill Parker, a friend who opened the exhibition, rightly observed that Corina's work '… is visually appealing and highly accomplished and invites a subjective response'. Here are further excerpts from the opening address:
Corina comes from Afrikaans farming stock. She derives her Christian faith, her values and her cultural heritage from her family background and her love of nature from her environment, while living in rural KwaZulu-Natal has given her access to the lives and traditions of her isiZulu neighbours. The core elements of her ethos and therefore her art originate from her life in the Central Drakensberg -- her faith, her sense of the interaction between man and nature, her value for heritage, whether her own or other people's, and her strong awareness of the common humanity that underlies cultural differences. Symbolism is an important part of the language of her work and many of her recurring symbols are on display in the glass cases: crochet work from the 1960s representing the Afrikaans tradition of creativity at her home, and the illness of her mother and sister that brought her face to face with the fragility of life. Insight-giving commentaries from Corina herself have been placed next to the individual works.
Works comprising the exhibition cover a range of media - fibre art, etching, oil on board, charcoal drawings, water colours and mixed media.
The fibre art series alludes both to the medium itself and the fragility of life in a time of AIDS. The titles of the individual works are the names of real people - bead workers from the Amangwe Zulu Craft Project with which Corina and her friend Ngoneni Khubheka were involved. All of them had been affected directly or indirectly by AIDS and because of them Corina wanted to give artistic expression to how differently AIDS impacts on different people's lives…
…A nest in Corina's garden gave her the idea of nests as a subject and symbol. Nests are a universal symbol for a safe warm home and Corina's nest series acknowledges the drive in all living creatures to create a safe haven. The nest series also celebrates the distinctively different ways that people from different cultural traditions, like birds of different species, go about creating and beautifying their nests. At the same time, this series reveals the common human impulse to nurture that underlies cultural differences and implies how important this is for individuals, communities and posterity.
With regard to the fragility theme, nests are fragile, and the nest-building grass that Corina's works replicate with exquisite truthfulness is in itself an oblique reminder that, 'as for man, his days are like grass.'
Well done Corina, and thank you!
As you all know, Jenny has been thoroughly involved with the Mandela exhibition, in conjunction with Marsha MacDowell, Professor and Curator of Michigan State University, USA. Thanks again, Jenny for your tireless efforts in coordinating the South African leg of the exhibition.
Here is a list of Fibreworks members who have had their work purchased by Michigan University, or are in the process of having their work purchased! Congratulations, all of you! You carry our banner high.
Roy Starke, Kathryn Hammer Fox, Sheila Walwyn, Annette McMaster Intuthuko Embroidery Group artists with Hester Viles.
The university is also looking to aquire additional works by Jenny Hearn, Hester Viles and Elaine Barnard. Best of Luck to the three of you! Keep me posted.
Annette McMaster has given me some info on her Mandela artwork:
'When I was invited to make a quilt as a tribute to Nelson Mandela I knew that I did not want to make an image of his face. I hoped instead to use the image of feet to evoke symbolic associations about his life and the sacrifices that he had made for all of us. His book LONG WALK TO FREEDOM inspired the initial machine embroidered feet. I used fabric that looked like the ocean and was reminiscent of the view towards Cape Town that he had from his prison cell window on Robben Island.
I placed the feet at the top of the quilt because he was nearly hanged by the Apartheid Government; others might find religious associations with this placement.
The log cabin blocks that form a frame on both sides of the central image has photo transfers of newspaper articles of general life in South Africa, stained with tea, to contrast with his life of imprisonment and ours'.
Here is what Kathy Harmer Fox has to say about her piece:
'Mandela was an incredible human being who made me proud to a South African. He was a very rare politician - able to instill pride in the present, belief in the future, and forgiveness for the past. For this quilt, I chose reference images that show his kindness, his humanity and his strength of character. I wanted to show more than just the formal facade of this powerful statesman but without ignoring his political message. I chose an image of an older man, one where his life is written in the many creases and furrows of his face. His inelegant boxers' hands, raised in fists, are an expression of hard-won freedom rather than militant aggression. As he was able to unite black and white in hope, I included an image of Mandela's black-skinned hand clasping that of de Klerk's white one and lifting it up in triumph. Lastly, I included the obvious symbol of barbed wire and his prison number; I firmly believe that it was during his many, many years of forced confinement that he became one of the greatest men of our time'.
'Four Fibreworks artists, Margie Garratt, Lubi Koorts, Kim Tedder and Sheila Walwyn, participated in an exhibition at Margie Garratt's home, Nova Constantia, in Sept/October. They are also members of FACT (Fibre Artists Cape Town), seven of whom took part in exhibiting along with a group of painters calling themselves 'Art on the Heap'.
The textile artists exhibited upstairs and the painters downstairs, and the collaboration made for a wonderful cross-pollination of viewers and discussions and appreciation of different art media. There was palpable excitement at the well-attended opening and many of us had a lump in our throats as we remembered Innovative Threads days, and there is a strong hope that this exhibition might become an annual event. We are certainly going forward into the new year with a September deadline in our heads in terms of producing new art works.
The exhibition ran for a week, with members of both groups doing duties to engage with the public. There were several sales of paintings as well as fibre works, which was most encouraging. One of the FACT artists, Diana Vandeyar, sold a Mandela portrait for R20 000, which was a really strong affirmation of the validity of fibre as an art form.'
Thanks Sheila for this news! Great to hear from the Cape Fibreworks members.
Hope everyone has a good festive season.