Category Archives: Tina Nel artist

Tulbagh Weekend Part II

…as I was saying, I stayed with Tina for the duration of the Festival.  She lives with two dogs and three cats in a magical cottage at the far far end of a farm a couple of miles out of Tulbagh. I say “magical” because Tina is an artist in every way – her home, her work, her clothes, her sense of style, her gorgeous eccentricity, her personality and perspective on the world. She makes magic, she sees magic in everything – she is magic!

I first knew Tina when I was 19 and she was 22; we were part of a group of friends living in Braamfontein (Johannesburg), young, foolish, risk-taking, trying to get a grip on who we were and how we wanted to live.  (None of us got it right, by the way – it seems to have taken a good twenty-five-plus years for some of us to even get close.) We lost touch, moved cities, married, demarried, developed new careers, grew up a bit – and found each other on facebook a year ago  (gotta love facebook).

Here are some photos I took of Tina’s home.  They convey her sense of the exotic and the baroque far better than I ever could with words.

The bedroom I slept in:

An early self-portrait:

Reflections of fantastical visions:

And a tiger mirror from Paraguay that I covet:

Tina’s house was part of the art exhibition side of the Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival.  Ribbons and signs along the road indicated the way and, once visitors arrived, they could follow the ‘golden nuggets’ through the garden and round to the gazebo for snacks and a wine-tasting.

As we say in South Africa, local is lekker!

To be continued…


Tulbagh Weekend Part 1

There is so much to tell about my weekend in Tulbagh that I won’t do it all in one shot.

There are peacocks everywhere in the town, and they strut around and shriek at each other as if they own it. I was met by these three lads as I arrived.

Tulbagh is a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, in a rich, lush valley surrounded by extraordinary mountains: The Obiqua, the Witsenberg and the Winterhoek. You can see the snow on the top of  some of the peaks – that means it’s still bitterly cold in the early mornings at this time of year.

And so every dog must have his own pair of pyjamas to keep warm. Here are Tina’s dogs, Marduk and Maya the dachshund.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my friend Tina for three nights while the Spring Festival was on.  Tina lives in a cottage at the end of a meadow at the end of a very long dirt road at the end of the town… and I will have pics of all that tomorrow.

Just to say for now that I (and Jam Tarts) had a wonderful weekend in a wonderful town, despite some unpleasant weather on the Saturday. I have SO MANY new ideas bouncing around in my head.

To be continued…

Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival 1

So my friend, Tina, who lives in Tulbagh and is one of the organisers of the annual Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival, tells me that Jam Tarts must get its act together and be part of the festivities in August.

Consequently, I have started jotting things down on the chalkboard on the wall closest to my front door, so I am reminded of what I must busy myself with for the next two months the instant I walk in the door.  Focus focus focus.

For those of you who don’t know, Tulbagh is a very beautiful small town in the fertile Tulbagh valley about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.  It is surrounded by mountains, has an amazing climate, and nearly all the buildings have been declared national monuments.  There are also a lot of peacocks, they can be seen in every garden and field and tree.  We visited Tulbagh a few months ago and spotted this handsome chap in Church Street showing off for the ladies:

The festival opens on the evening of Friday 24 August and then runs over the next two days. Tina is kind enough to let me have a little corner of her cottage to sleep in, but we will need to be extra tidy because she is opening it to the public during the day – an artist herself, her work is becoming quite well-known, not least for her exquisite miniatures.

I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a stunning weekend, what with all the spring flowers shooting out everywhere, new business for Jam Tarts, midnight feasts with old friends, and lots of wine laughs.

To be continued…