Category Archives: clay

Happy Friday

Today after work I went to the art room at Springfield Convent in Wynberg to collect my glazed and fired platter, the one I couldn’t quite get right those few weeks ago in the clay workshop, you may remember? Well, my design is indeed skew but I’m still pleased with the final product, and I love the turquoise.  There is a tiny split in the clay at the edge in one place, but apparently some platters just don’t make it through the firing process at all, so I’m not bothered. I’m sure if I submerge the platter under enough cupcakes, no-one will even notice!

I took the liberty of taking some photos of other people’s work, including Dale’s own mosaic mirror and her beautiful little houses. 

Some of the other work is by the art learners at the school, so I guess some of them are as young as 12 or 13.  Pretty talented bunch!

This was the temperature in Cape Town this afternoon while I was on my travels:

So much for autumn. My scarves and hats will have to stay at the back of the wardrobe for a while yet.

To be continued…

 

 

 

A day in the sun

Our first Jam Tarts stand at the famous Kirstenbosch market!

Please take note of our beautiful new business cards, we are very proud of them! (Thanks, Anne, for organising). That’s Anne in the white top with the money bag optimistically round her waist, me in the middle, Karen on the right, and Megan rearranging everything a hundred times more appealingly after we’d set it all out.

When we arrived, as ‘guest stallholders’ we had to check in at the office and find our location. Meeting the organiser in person after a protracted email correspondence was a strong reminder that Cape Town really is a village – Tessa and I used to work together at the Argus newspaper 26 years ago when I first moved down from Joburg! We had a quick chat, mainly about the shortage of decent men in Cape Town, before getting down to business. She told me not to expect to do well on our first day because it takes a while to ‘get noticed’ and build up a customer base. A bit spirit-dampening but maybe she was right.

Ant and Rob set up our gazebo (borrowed from Faiza – thanks, friend), which didn’t seem nearly as enormous as the unpacked weight of it suggested it would be. I couldn’t even lift it, it was so heavy, and on Friday Sizwe had kindly trundled it on a trolley to my car for me. I hope I can find him when I go into work in two hours time.

The Kirstenbosch market is a very old and well-known one in Cape Town, it’s probably been going for over 30 years. The setting can’t really be beaten, situated in the meadow around the 18th century Stone Cottages built by the busy Dutch, across the road from the botanical gardens. On one side, you can buy fresh farm veggies and fruit, honey and jam and biltong, and have a ride on a horse. In the middle (sort of) you can get teas, coffees (choice of filter or nescafe), and ready-made grub. Sit at a table or plonk yourself on the grass in the shade of an oak tree. The side closest to Newlands Avenue is a sea of colourful gazebos and umbrellas and bunting, with all the crafters and their wares.

The general consensus was that yesterday was a quieter day than usual, but there were still stacks of people (some with dogs – yuck) (sorry dog lovers, but if you all carried poop scoops with you I’d be a lot less anti) and we made enough sales to cover our costs and still be keen to go back next month. I was the unofficial networker of the group so did quite a few laps handing out our cards and making new stallholder friends and yakking away like the sociable chatty friendly person I have to try to be in situations like this.

Of course, with so much gorgeous stuff around it was hard not to want to spend one’s money at other people’s stalls. Karen was very strict with me and I wasn’t allowed to buy anything until I had sold at least one thing of my own. She changed her tune a bit after she’d had a trot round and found some garnet earrings that she felt were entirely essential. Anne was very disciplined and mostly sat in the shade with a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, crocheting the pink and lilac flowers for a new baby blanket.

The items which drew most people to us were Karen’s and Anne’s blankets, which really are works of art. They aren’t ‘cheap’ because they’re made with best-quality wool and cotton and a lot of practiced work and new design ideas, but they are realistically priced and we believe they’ll find good homes soon :) As did we, after 3 o’clock when we’d packed up and done the reckonings.

Next Kirstenbosch market = 22 April.

To be continued…

always something else to grab my eye

I had to rush through to Salt River at lunchtime to the tile shop to replenish my stock of purple glass squares (am halfway through mosaicing another little table, and didn’t check to see I had enough before starting – I never learn). Firstly, let me just say that it’s no mean feat rushing through lunchtime traffic in the southern suburbs when it’s THIRTY DEGREES hot.  Secondly, there’s always something new to catch one’s eye, even when you’re in a tearing hurry – or is it especially when you’re in a tearing hurry? There were small stacks of these square, barmy, imperfect little stone tiles. They were on sale. Now they are mine.

I decided to use three of them as plaques for these ceramic hearts that I bought from Francois Korver a while ago. (His website is a delight: www.stoorceramics.co.za).  I need to find a way to hang them on the wall securely, they’re pretty heavy, and smooth smooth at the back.  Ideas are welcome.

I am ridiculously pleased with myself. And all I did was stick one thing onto another thing. 

To be continued…

Up before the birds

It’s not often that I get up this early, but today I was wide awake a good hour before my alarm was due to go off.  The cats were very pleased, anyway, because it meant they got an early breakfast without having to go to all the effort of yowling in my ear (Choccie) and kneading my inert body (Jessie).

I’ve been working on this round mirror for a while now, starting with modelling the hearts out of clay (weeks and weeks ago already) and treating them with podge and paint. Finally got to the first grouting stage last night, and now it’s time to rub and rub and see if the design comes together even vaguely how I had imagined it.  I wanted big fat gleaming hearts and sparkly silver bits and broken mirror to catch the light.  Getting there rub rub rub

To be continued…

desperately seeking Lorna

Have you ever done this – gone to a market Just To Look? with the intention of Not Spending Any Money At All? just to check out What Other People Are Up To?  Me neither.

At Kirstenbosch market last Sunday I found someone I feel I’ve been looking for for a long time without really knowing it. Lorna of Balela Buttons makes the most exquisite ceramic buttons, mosaic inserts, jewellery, mobiles, brooches… you name it. Delicate, fragile, beautifully painted with a deceptively simple style. I managed to not spend all my cash with her in one go, although the temptation was there.  I’m going to put these two hearts on silk ribbon and wear them. The daisies will form part of one of the mosaics currently in progress, and the pansy is just because it’s a pansy.

The silly thing was that, even though I was so excited to find these treasures and got Lorna’s contact details on a piece of card, I managed to mislay the card between the trip to the market and the time I got home to unpack my prizes. (Yes, there were others. See pink ring below for one).

That afternoon I met my writers group at Cubana and mentioned Lorna to Fiona who, serendipitously, knew exactly who I was talking about.  Actually, I think my friend Vxxxxx might have some of her buttons, she said, and lo and behold, a couple of hours later she mailed me with Lorna’s phone number. Happiness!

Lorna has a blog, balelabuttons at blogspot. You’ll find me there, too, having a good look around:)

To be continued…

 

just claying around

And who doesn’t need a bit of this every now and then? Yesterday I went to Springfield Convent in Wynberg, where Dale and Pumla host clay workshops in the school’s art wing every month. I’m not actually good with clay – and don’t mind at all –  but it’s still fun to work in a different medium for a change, get my hands dirty, and see the extent to which I can mess up a perfectly smooth and well-worked platter. 

This was what mine looked like at 11.30, to decorate and stamp to my heart’s delight. Sadly, I used far more heart than brain and launched into a bizarre and un-thought-out pattern involving elephants, flowers and far too many indecipherables.  It was also completely off centre but by the time I’d finished, it was too late to do anything about that. Only Allah achieves perfection, I told myself in consolation.  And if it looks really stupid, I can always use it for salad and cover up the skewness with an artful arrangement of rocket and spring onions.    

Everyone else worked slowly, deliberately, carefully, some even working from designs and ideas they had brought with them – like Dawn and Lana. I hated them. Goody two-shoes. Suck-ups. Platter flatterers.

By the end of it, I decided my cowpat (the lump of clay you use for practice) was far more interesting and successful than my platter. I became very attached to mine, and Dale kindly said I could take it home. I felt like a six-year old on my first day of school.

For tea, there was a selection of chocolate fingers, marble cake, carrot cake and biscotti.  Once I’d stocked up, I decided the workshop had been fantastic after all, and maybe, maybe, I’d do another one.  You can never have too many cowpats, right?

To be continued…