Made of stones and twigs for installation at the Tulbagh Arts Festival 27-29 September. My wife’s work!!!
(Ode to my wife Yvonne de Wit who designs and create original jewellery from treasures of the South African Earth)
“The moon is bland in colour. I call it shades of grey … And to find orange soil on the moon was a surprise.” Gene Cernan, astronaut, Apollo 10, Apollo 17
When artist Yvonne de Wit came to South Africa from her native Netherlands, it was with an open mind and with what became a growing fascination in the different types of rock and soils that the southern part of this great and diverse continent had to offer.
Through experimentation, she discovered that grinding diverse stones and pieces of rock found in different locations, offered up extraordinary colours, unusual ‘dusts’ that, when framed in silver, produced jewelry that reflected the land in a very different way.
Ideally, one needs to handle each piece of her collections to see, understand and appreciate the skill with which she works. Consider her chandelier earrings, for example. The artist explains that she picked up stones, ground them finely and then felt they would work as three ‘pendants’ from the ear. But they needed to balance. If one looks at the final pieces, one will see how delicately, intricately and exquisitely each hangs, individually, from a tiny common point. They are not soldered together; each of the three pendants somehow hangs perfectly in place. And in harmony with its opposite piece on the other ear.
For the artist, this says something about nature, and our place in it. How, ideally, our relationship with soil, air and water should be in perfect balance. How delicate that relationship is. And what surprises the dust of the earth harbours for us, despite our many preconceptions. Like the astronaut who expected shades of grey on the moon — and found orange. While Yvonne has an innate connection to the soil beneath her feet, she recognises that water has an inevitable and appealing connection. During whale- watching in Hermanus one year, she was fascinated not just by the creatures themselves, but also by their habits. The result? Her finely crafted ‘whale’ pendant. No, it is not the animal itself she has re-created (although many might think so). The artist was entranced by the very fine combination of water and air, expelled from the blow-hole as the whale rises to the surface and exhales. Yvonne has captured a moment essential to life on earth — exhalation before inhalation.
Every year there is this art festival in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. Plenty of sculptures along the Cliff Path but not this year. It’s a meager outdoor exhibition but the few sculptures I saw are interesting. The event, including some concerts, workshops, etc. started last Thursday and ends this Sunday 18 June.
More worthwhile is to visit the different art galleries. Their level has gone up significantly in the past few years and some of them can match themselves with the best in South Africa and abroad. There are 11 of them (if I’m not mistaken) and all within walking distance. Four artists from my village have work on display in Van Rossouw Frans Mulder), Originals (Ulrich Riek), Hermanus Gallery (Yvonne de Wit) and Walker Bay Gallery (me).
Here a few images of the outdoor event.
Towards the end of next month, a year after we moved in, we will open our Private Gallery in Napier, South Africa. At this very moment a new insulated ceiling is installed in the new studio of Yvonne and this weekend we hang storage shelves and place furniture and equipment. After that we start transforming the present studio into a ‘State-of-the-Art’ Gallery where I can present some of my Landscape/Street/etc., Haiku and Photo-Graphic pictures. On displays are Yvonne’s Retro/Steampunk and Down to Earth pieces; all own design and handmade.
We focus ourselves primary on those tourists (passing along to or from the Southernmost Tip of the African Continent) who have an eye for originally South African made gifts that are exclusive and suitcase sized landscape photo’s (on high quality paper) next to high end market art collectors for special customized jewellery orders and fine art photography.
Although no decision is made yet what exactly we will exhibit this photo-gallery will provide you with an idea: