In the week building up to the opening of the Inhibitions Exhibition I went with a group of ladies to a gathering of quilters from all over the Western and Southern Cape. The get together was held at a grand old Agricultural College in Riversdal at the foot of the mountains. It was wonderful to hear the rich accents from the heart of the Cape – many of the women are farmer’s wives and this is their one big gathering per year so the stories were flowing as old friends caught up with news of one another’s lives. Food and quilts and laughter – the day was jam packed. I was due to do a demo but the day was so busy that by the time it was my turn I had to teach and run so that I’d make it home in time to feed my chickens. It was a lovely day – total sensory overload!
The Pink Haus Quilting Group meet here every second Thursday and we had a fun morning with one of the group teaching us how she makes her twinchies.- the floor was awash with scraps of fabrics. If anyone needed that little ‘zinger’ of a fabric to enliven their work it was only a matter of diving into the pool on the floor and scratching around till what was needed emerged.
The weekend before the opening my new signs were put up to help visitors find the gallery more easily. Being ‘out in the country’, albeit only 4kms from Great Brak, there aren’t many landmarks and I’d have people calling me from halfway to Friemersheim before they’d realized they’d missed the turnoff.
The exhibition opened on 17th September with a very relaxed cheese and wine evening. Melanie Brummer had arrived a few days before so when most people had left we went out onto the deck with the last few stragglers. Petronel Baard had come to the opening and she and I started talking about the Blues. I put on some of my Blues and Bluegrass music and we all ended up having a crazy sort of freestyle ‘hoe-down’ under the stars; it was pure ‘letting off steam’ kind of crazy but we were helpless with laughter.
Mel’s classes were held over the first weekend of the exhibition and, as usual, were fun. To add to the general excitement on the first Saturday we had Melanie’s class going on in the studio and on the deck, visitors wandering around the gallery and Petronel Baard and her film ‘crew’ moving furniture around as they filmed shots to use in her latest music video, “GrootBrakland”. The video can viewed at www.greatbrak.com , the tourism website, the shots of Petronel with the silk scarves against the mountains were filmed on the deck.
The exhibition has some interesting work on – I particularly like an embroidered bull’s head and a selection of felted items which are very unusual. I’ve decided to open an exhibition page , separate from my blog, because there is just so much stuff coming in- there are three separate exhibits arriving from around the country from Monday 7 October until mid January 2014 so I will put all the info on the Exhibition Page. Pictures can be found under the Gallery Tab, under Fibreworks Exhibitions. I’ve also opened up a bedroom with patchwork quilts for sale in it and this has proved very popular.
My children from Pretoria arrived for a visit in the midst of everything and the display table in the middle of the main hall started to take on a decidedly different ‘tone’. I had placed a piece of Nature’s fibre art on the table, a nest made of threads and batting found by my daughter in Port Elizabeth. An owl pellet was found and placed with the nest. It is a delicate construction of grey mouse hair and bones. A sparrow’s egg found upstairs was popped into the nest. One day whilst walking in the valley the children came across a skaapsteker with its head bitten off. It was freshly dead and as they looked around for the culprit they found two! An eagle owl and its mate sat watching them silently- one had been sitting on the rocks close by and the other in a tree. So… the book on Snakes made its way onto the little Nature Corner developing on the display table (I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t the headless snake). Funnily enough a number of visitors seem genuinely interested in my treasures – especially the owl pellet. I’m delighted about the pair of Eagle owls in the valley – I hear them in the dark and have seen one in the driveway late at night.
During the children’s time here my grandson was taught to make a knife by a local bladesmith – Miles Hebbard – a fantastic experience for a 10 year old boy.Miles's webpage is www.isiku.blogspot.com , his knives are works of art. The kids spent every day on the beach and I was thrilled that they managed to see whales for the first time. We spent one afternoon watching a pod of 4 to 5 whales jumping, sailing and breaching the surface of the water. You’d think one would tire of saying “WOW” but the whales antics are just so breathtaking to watch that the “WOW”s kept on coming, even as we were driving away ( I think we had to stop about four times to make sure nothing was missed.)
Having the exhibition and meeting all the interesting people who visit has been a wonderful experience but I think my best news this month is that my goats are back! With a three week old ewe called Alice (had to call her that, she’s the daughter of Cooper). Apparently they were being very naughty on the other farm, breaking down fences and eating fruit and olive trees. Eventually a neighbouring farmer had threatened to shoot them so they had to come home. I don’t know why they misbehaved so, butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths now, they are so sweetly behaved. Maybe they just missed me as much as I missed them. Whatever the reason, my house feels like home again now that they’re back – even regular visitors to the Pink Haus feel the same way.
Since I started writing this blog (about a week ago- it’s been hectic) I have received an absolutely stunning exhibition from the South African Quilters Guild called ‘Laslap en Kwilt. Inspirasie uit die verlede’. For English readers that’s ‘Patchwork and Quilting. Inspiration from the past’. It’s an exhibition of 53 works made as a tribute to old South African quilts which form part of our cultural heritage. A beautiful book accompanies the exhibition and features the 45 top South African quilters who were invited to make a block as well as a picture of the original quilts and the three different representations of each one – one traditional, one innovative and one an artistic interpretation. The work is exquisite and will be here until 31 October so, if you’re in the area, please pop in to see them. They’re worth the visit.
Till next time.