Monday, July 28, 2008

My mind has really been boggled, this weekend, partly due to some 'blogging' research and realizing I've gone totally off the beaten track, I've been derailed and completely stopped in my tracks. { Side effects of living near railway lines}

If I don't part and post these thoughts they will keep boggling me. The blog was initially intended as a platform for my work and what surrounds me as inspiration. For a true artist that is really everything. Then I got wrapped up with the click of the camera and the click of the mouse and got seriously sucked into a vacuum of blogging addiction and also realizing its one way to confront the 'wet winter blues' and share the 'goings on' in my area, but in a off the beaten track kind of way.

Then friends, that have lived here but moved on to Holland, are visiting at the moment and 5 years are being mind blown in a boggled few hours. Then the inevitable confrontation, how is the pottery/ceramics going?...

Saturday morning visit to the old biscuit mill. This place is now really Cape Towns hub of 'communal' activity. You have galleries and shops with the most inspirational local art and its not in a shopping mall.[yippee] And not to mention the neighbourhood market. Its not a flea market and its not entirely a vegetable/fruit type market like you get in Europe. No, its really special, the stallholders are 5 star selected, from yes, a lot of gourmet food and wine and beer tasting to keep the men at bay, while the ladies indulge in queen of tarts, to fun with vintage, lots of design items and organic, organic,organic. [sorry, I,m fired, no snapshots] but check out in her blog under posts of markets, she shows the atmosphere very well.

But my main reason to visit was actually to check out Clementina's new gallery/shop that she recently opened in this very Biscuit Mill. And my ceramic 'guru' was there herself. To me she is really the most successful ceramic artist in South Africa. Through the years her approach to clay has remained honest and yet fresh regarding form and function and the newly approached application of surface treatment is so uniquely unified that the one cannot be without the other. Not only is she talented but she is the kindest and most generous person; downing her own tools in her hectic schedule to help me figure out the mysteries of my boss, the kiln, and its firings; now that in my books calls for a lot of respect and admiration.

So again the inevitable question, hows the ceramics going? Then..the stop in the tracks,.."Are you ever going back to it?" Did I hesitate, no, just slightly cautiously answered:" I will get back to it."

Clementina has also now recently discovered the 'blog' and I think hers will stay true to ceramics. What also boggled me, was that I noticed the South African Ceramic Artists don't make much use of the Internet let alone blogs, because that's really a great way of interacting, updating, advising etc.and we need that in our isolated clay world, I think.

I must say, I do miss that click clack sound of the temperature controller of my boss, the kiln, who now also has a boss called Eskom/Koeberg [they switch it all off] Green solutions are needed for firing pots.

Anyway, stay on track girl. We wish Clementina all the very best on her new venture, the gallery/shop, where she also showcases other aspiring local ceramic artists and will keep us updated on her new blog.

In my collection, special Clementina tea light bowls, carved porcelain to reveal light through the translucency; with gold lustre, as Johannesburg's 'gold dust' will never really escape us...

Friday, July 25, 2008

A 360 degree view of Kalk Bay harbour, no video.

The entrance/exit to the sea. This is the calmest it can be. {spiegelglatt, mirror like}

Mountains towards Simonstown in the background.

In the background the start of the seaside village of Kalk Bay.

A very characterful, authentic Cape way of doing things at Kalk Bay harbour. The fish, Snoek, has been cleaned and gets hung to dry.

Snoek: a traditional Cape fish, long and silvery and slightly oily. There are numerous ways to prepare this fish. Personally the best is on the coals, better known as a fishbraai.

So waar is daai rooipote, die krewe, jy...{ local lingo for where is the crayfish?}

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's show off time again. I hate to say it but I think my dad lives in one of the nicest spots on this one and only planet. To top it all he also shares his birthday with Nelson Mandela.

So, the overnight bags got packed and 180 km further down the coastline towards Cape Agulhas, the most southern tip of Africa, you will find a coastal village [dorp] called Gansbaai ; now internationally known for the shark cage diving expeditions.

The minute we drove into 'De Kelders', just outside Gansbaai, a whale tail greeted us. [to quick for the snapshot]. What a sight: sunny, blue skies, calmest of waters and near the shore, there they are, graceful, gentle giants. V blows everywhere, the Southern Right Whales are here.

Then further, all different kind of aroma's welcomed us, the birthday-boy cooked up a storm [he wouldn't hear of any other suggestions] and his indigenous fynbos garden had a clash of sweet and herb like smells from the little warmth and humidity.

So when we settled down at the end of the day I asked him how he felt about sharing his day with Madiba's 90's and this still is his 'point' of VIEW.

If you look at Wicus's website you will notice a spectacular sunset shot taken from the very same spot. [dad's balcony]. To think that it was 'this' close to being lost to runaway fire, thank goodness for the guys that hover those helicopters in banks of smoke to dump those water- buckets in the appropriate spots. Unfortunately the fynbos and all the dear creatures with it, they suffer the most and it takes a very long time to re-establish itself.

Harbours intrigue me, they are also a 'happy snappers' / photographers paradise. Gansbaai harbour is known for it's canning of pilchards and catching of various other fresh line fish. But something stood out that day and I remembered another image of, listen to this, my own harbour around the corner from me, namely Kalk Bay Harbour.

These are tied up in Gansbaai.

These are tied up in Kalk Bay.
Now whenever someone says they are tied up or down for time or appointments, or whatever, these are not the images to have in mind?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blommetjies, blommetjies {it's a cute descriptive Afrikaans word for little flowers}
So, when last did I mention flowers? Okay, alright, I know but just bear with my predictability because there is always a story. Is this 'close up' recognizable as the Nasturtium flower?

It apparently grows anywhere like a weed. Well it's the first time in my many trial & error attempts that they are finally making it. Now I stand to be corrected, but as far as I know they don't really flower in winter.
Two bright orange {again} flowers peeping out under all that enormous green foliage, now that demanded my attention. Not to mention the nasty bunch of zillion snails getting there before me. How helpless the young ,strong and vigorous leafy green vegetables bursting with antioxidants face the onslaught of those brutal munchers, no, chompers. Any successful, organic fighting tactics out there?

Vegetarians don't look...

This is my' gourmet burger'. Comfort food for now. My dad halfheartedly, in an unofficial way declared me the 'bouletten queen' { berlin for fricadel }. He is not big on compliments, so it must be good. He is actually a born 'Berliner' but moved to Hamburg {to grow up to be good Hamburger}...cheeky, kids, of today...

In those attempts of trying to grow this herb, it became part of a design of my handmade bowl. Exposing the white clay through the under glaze colours with a simple' line scratching' ; showing the leaf and the flowers joined by twirly bits.

The flower was more appreciated visually, back in the vase. Maybe in summer we will have it tossed in the salad but after this close up study I think the pollen should be left to the working birds and bees...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Professional wildlife [bird] photographers don't look :

Gotcha! Such an easily, [why did you fumble] packaged opportunity like this had to be snapped up. Now, I'm not equipped with the appropriate camera & lenses etc. for this ; remember I retreated as a 'happy snapper'. To top it all, this is such a familiar 'post card' image shot to perfection, I would not even want to fiddle with it, let alone look for another perspective of this all too familiar subject: Sunbird seeking 'sweet' nectar in aloe.

copyright retained by ABF

Today like this bird we were searching for the illusive sun and the brief moment occurred, all happening next to the side of the road. Yes, nothing 'frazzled', 'fuzzed', disturbed it, not me , not the cars, nothing. The road coming from Simonstown going towards Scarborough, where they display all those weird and wonderful sculptures mainly of the 'big 5' animals. There is that brief country feeling, smelling of whipped up ocean mist and added to that the freshness of 'Fynbos', that's swelling up of all the water it received and all the different protea species just slowly bursting their precious, beautiful flower heads, what show offs! And all this 5minutes away from built up areas. So I guess what I'm nudging at, is no opportunity should be ignored or shrugged off due to whatever reasons. Okay, now when can we leave the city and do the real nature thing and bring 'those' cameras, yes, come lug them along....

copyright retained by ABF

No matter what, the personal experience, was really what this was all about. This one is mine and it just has that much more meaning, like seeing the original artwork of the great masters.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Local conversations ?

"What on earth is she up to now?"
"Looks like she packed a bag and using the magic carpet, sorry springbok hide."(sorry bokkie)
"Ja, but what's with the french ribbon?"
"Hmm, Mauritius is french influenced, I think the cold got to her"
"Ja, swaar, did you check the snow, eish its thick, can see from here, broe.."
"Ja, man so what gives"
"Ag, check it out, her househusband is playing in Franschhoek the whole weekend gig for the Bastille fest, with this duke box."
"oh, you mean trekklavier?"
"No, man, accordion"
"You see, voila"

Yes, Franschhoek has a history of the french Huguenot, check it on their website at and to coincide with the 14 th July of the storming of Bastille there is a once a year festival in this quaint 'french' village with all it's 'Cape Dutch' gable architecture. Strange, nice valley though, well worth the visit. Yes, and the househusband is famous for his french accordion playing talents, which are really appreciated, the crowds go crazy...
"so that's what is , so can I score a lift with you then, take the Porsche for a spin? Can go and check the snow from nearer, hows you?" "I'm serious".
"Nooit, where do come from, hey did you switch off all these gadgets, people might hear us, you know, ek se broe."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When all else fails, there is always a beautiful flower to find colour,warmth and patience for a promise of dry, warmer days. It's not an ordinary hibiscus flower, this was one of the last 'Mohican's' that survived and was given to us by our wonderful friends. (ex- landlords of 10 years ago), that's another story for more rainy days. (no, I didn't say that?)

Beautiful multi colours of orange and red, nature just knows how to combine colours. Now it's forever. (verewig, verewigt)

I love this green vase, its from my childhood memories and it's really so 'retro'; it always intrigued me. Small, for a one stem, square and ever so green. Simple and strangely effective. Yes, I know, there is some amazing glass art work out there and one of them jumps to my mind, , they have a wonderful workshop/studio on a wine estate and while you eating away at the restaurant next door, (observe the magic through the window) these stunning glass blown vessels come alive. One should also not forget about David Reade our South African Master Glassblower. (Wonderful gallery out in Worcester, Cape, and really lovely people committed to their art) Quite a number of well known ceramic artists have gone over to glass work; (as in slumped glassware) hmm...must say the translucency is very appealing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Zandvlei playground, where are you ?

Its been raining non stop and somebody forgot to switch on the' pause button' . A little bit of light appeared just before sunset and I still don't have Gummistiefel (gumboots). So if anyone comes with the story they are swamped with work, well this one is definitely an alternative image to have.

Which one is which, the vlei or the bit of land-swamp? It was extremely cold when I decided to brave the 5 minute gap of no rain, and there is always someone canoeing, unbelievable. I feel like a real wimp in comparison. Just heard, snow has fallen on the Witzenberg mountains near the village Tulbagh in Western Cape. I will bring some more colour in the next post, promise, this is looking a bit, dare I say dark...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Climbing up some cobblestones, (reminds me of Genoa/Italy) to get to a side alley called sea view. Some really lovely houses up here and they have a wonderful view...

Yes miles and miles of beach starting from the railway station, Muizenberg, here by this lovely old clock tower. Best kept secret: beautiful, sunny winters day and not a single breeze...( great for beach walks) but we are going down again because the shade of the mountain is creating a slightly, uncomfortable chill factor. Just one quick observation on the way...

One poor last fig and leaves, slightly confused ?

Okay, down by the beach again and catching the last sun rays while surfers catch their waves. What a life, I tell you. If you look closely, you will notice the last range of mountains, (extreme left) that's Cape Point, it's not the furthest point, but if you here in Cape Town for '24 hours' it's near and good enough and absolutely stunning on a day like this, phew...

Keep watching this space for more best kept secrets of this area...