Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika - God Bless Africa - first line of South African national anthem. Hundreds of thousands live in corrugated iron shantytowns in informal settlements
AFRICAN BEADS l , 2 & 3
A tribute to the anonymous women who developed the Zulu and Ndebele heritage. Their beadwork is a dying art form
SHWE-SHWE l & 2
First imported by German missionaries in C19th, shwe-shwe is the fabric of choice for fashionable Sesotho ladies from Lesotho. It has become general practice to wear shwe-shwe to the Mokete, a "party" held in honour of the Badimo, or ancestors, all over South Africa
My first venture into the creation of ATCs
I made the Artist's Trading cards shown below for a non-paper swap entitled "Out of Africa"
Cut from a tin can, edges folded over, perforated with hammer and nail = 2 broken fingernails & a bruised index finger.
I made a tiny patchwork using 12 different shwe-shwe fabrics.
I was inspired by the "Zulu loveletter", but used the beading style that was commonly used for covering gourds.
MORE ATC STORIES
Here is the first completed Round Robin ATC story board.
Thanks Glynis, Diane & Sam for playing with me!
Please meet Gordon the Garden Gnome, initiated by Glynis:
Click on a thumbnail to see a close-up
Click on a thumbnail to see a close-up
The next three Round Robin ATC story boards are, as yet, incomple.
I keep hoping that one day, I'll learn what happened to the heroine of Diane's story, who went on a journey... a quest?
Sid the Snail, Sam's creation, goes on holiday around the world. He loves Brighton - but in Hawaii, he seems about to fall into a pina colada (or what do you call those cocktails inside a coconut shell?)
I have no idea what befell Maureen, my character, after I sent her off into the world... I do hope I'll find out! At least Glynis sent me a pic of her sibling.
I love Swap-Bot, the easiest web-place to arrange or participate in swaps (or, as I used to spell the word: swops. My English-teacher friend says both are OK). I wish I'd remembered to document all the things I've made for my partners, but I'm usually so anxious & excited to get the stuff in the post, that I forget. It's an ego/achievement thing, too... your partner gives you a rating out of 5 for what you sent (and a heart for "above and beyond expectations"). I so need the strokes!
These are called Flower Collage, stitched and beaded 1, 2 & 3
The swap-organizer stipulated the use of paper collage and at least one other medium. I loved the stitching. It was so satisfying to punch the holes through the card with a sharp awl, and I love the sound the embroidery thread makes when you pull it through. Do you remember those embroidery cards when you were little? Making these ATCs was recovering a childhood pleasure! I forgot to scan the second set: SASOL 1, 2 & 3 I made for the same swap, but fortunately Maryellen posted them on her blog. See them here
Click to enlarge
I came across a paper doll swap on Swap-Bot. The organiser said that they could also be called "flat art dolls". The theme for our artwork was spring. I joined the swap immediately, because I remembered the hours I spent playing with paper dolls as a little girl.
My husband, Zak, said he used to love playing with paper dolls, too! As far as he remembers, he played paper dolls with his three brothers. Is it any wonder that all four brothers work in creative fields (an architect, an artist, an ad agency director and a film director)?!
My granddaughter Ella helped me to find flower photos in a gardening magazine. Lente has two sides, and I made her two hats that are also double-sided - so with a three-piece doll set, one has quite a variety of configurations! I love her! I was sad to send her off to my swap partner...
I love the feel and sound that wool or thread makes when you pull it through card. I've said that before on this page. And I love making small things. A friend, who's a dress designer, wants me to make him pieces of crazy quilt fabric. I want to do it... but I'm afraid it'll be one of those projects I just don't finish, because I got bored with it, it took too long.
Buttons on the left. Newspaper collage, paint, wool
Carneval on the right. Paint, collage, wool, sequins, varnish
For Celtic Step I first taped a piece of plastic vegetable-bag mesh onto a card, to give me a grid for the wool embroidery.
These six Crazy Quilt postcards do not have individual names
Which is your favourite?
All the images can be clicked to enlarge.
Okay - I know I said papier-mache creations, but so far, there's just one!
This is a coffee-table box (in which you tidy away all your remote controls). I made it for a friend's beach house. Hope she likes it!
I constructed the box from cardboard, then covered the whole thing, inside and out, with three layers of torn newspaper strips dipped in a flower-woodglue-water mixture (add a little salt and keep it in the refrigerator).
I cut the fish from cardboard, and covered them with a layer of newspaper, too. When the box and the fish were dry, I stuck the fish to the lid with Pattex No-More-Nails (a nice, firm glue that you can squish into shape. Its sticks uneven surfaces together.
I filled up the gaps between the fish and the lid with Dala acrylic gesso, then watered the gesso down a bit and gave the whole outside of the box a thinnish coat, using a big, hard brush (for texture)
I painted the box with Dala metallic acrylic paints - fun, fun, fun!
Here are two Crazy Quilt ATCs from a series of twelve called BLUE CQ.
I first stitched all my scraps together randomly, then cut the resulting patched piece into uneven strips. I rearranged the strips and stitched them together again. I backed the final patched piece with iron-on stiffening, and cut it into into 2.5X3.5" ATCs, which I embellished with embroidery and beads. Trouble came when I tried to neaten the edge with zigzag machine stitching - the tiny pieces stretched, creating a wavy, uneven edge. I had to zigzag the ATCs onto heavy denim and cut them out again to solve the problem.
Click to see pictures of the full collection, six at a time.
This is what happens when I decide to tidy my pantyhose/tights drawer! (Click her pic for a bigger view)
I was about to throw out a pair of ancient black footless tights, (after cutting off the elastic waist and ankle bands - which I use for ponytails, etc.) when I was overcome by an urge to play. Her name is Sophie Malinga - and isn't she just too cute!?
Now what am I going to do with yet another dolly? I usually give them away - but do you think I should start selling my creations on ebay, or something? Maybe I'll wear her on my lapel. She's only 16cm tall. Pity I lost my purple hand-bag - perfect match.
I belong to an eBay group called "Circle for Altered Books". The rest of the members all live in the UK, and postage to and from South Africa is expensive - and it is risky to send something as precious as an altered book halfway around the world. The kind ladies have therefore acommodated me by allowing me to exchange tip-ins with them. Here are the ones I've made for their books.
Becky's theme is Textures. I found the leaves and feathers in my garden, the paint had peeled of the wall of my courtyard (my house in in dire need of re-painting!), and the squashed bottle-tops in the road.
I used photographs from newspapers and a Grahamstown Arts Festival brochure for the collage I made for Pat's Musical Interlude AB. Of course, after I finished and posted it, I found even more photos I wished I'd had when I made the collage!
For Glynis' Full Circle I used my beloved shwe-shwe fabric, a photo of a target from the O magazine (the article proposes that you should target to live to 90) and photos of sculptures by an African artist from an invitation to an exhibition. I also made a couple of bead-mandalas for this one, and did a bit of stamping with a cork.
Mandy's Vintage Showgirls was the most difficult to do. When I Googled the theme, I found so much reference material, that I was spoiled for choice. Fortunately, I own two non-functional printers, so I was forced to make drawings from my computer screen. I used watercolour and acrylic paints for the final product.
Here is the cover of my own AB - which is actually a D-ring file that takes A5 pages. My theme is Purple Portraits. I got my first tip-in from Glynis - exquisite parchment work - I still have to scan it, as well as the drawing Zak did for me after a lot of nagging.
I am looking for more pages for my book - if you feel inspired, I'd be overjoyed to get something from you! CONTACT ME for a one-on-one exchange!
These six Artists' Trading Cards were made for a swap called Bejewelled. I could not resist signing up for it - the idea of shiny so appeals to the magpie in me! If you enlarge the images, you'll see how I managed to use up bits of old jewelry (broken findings, old chains, stones from old earrings, and so on) that I have hoarded for years! I am so pleased with these six princesses - even though I had to acknowledge, to myself, that when I'm really having fun, I turn out Queen of Kitsch creations! I can just hear my Art School lecturers' comments... but who cares. I'm not making Fine Art... my inner child and I are playing!
This is Spencer Bruckmann showing off his wares. I have been persuaded to leave him in this incomplete state (no eyes, hair, ears, trousers, shoes) for the moment, because he already seems to have a certain... je ne sais quois?
I made him from three pairs of my husband's very old and holey Marks and Spencer underpants, because, after seeing Sophie, one of my Internet friends wrote: "Oh Erna, you'll even recycle a pair of knickers!" It was a challenge I had to accept.
The Seven Deadly Sins from left to right are Acedia, Avaritia, Gula, Invidia, Ira, Luxuria and Superbia. Ira is so scary I can hardly bear to look at her!
The central objects that inspired these two ATCs for a "Bling"-theme swap is a piece of costume jewelry that belonged to my aunt Dorothea Schnell, who was also my godmother. She was born in the early 1920s and never married. As a college student, she augmented her pocket money by designing and sewing tracksuits for the varsity sports teams. The story goes that they were so well-designed and made, and fitted so beautifully that the students wore them all the time, even on dates.
Dot did not date much herself - she was too busy. She made all her own clothes, and was voted the best-dressed woman on campus. She never used a pattern, but would drape a piece of cloth across her shoulder... and cut! She always wore the latest in the risqué low-backed draped styles of pre-war 1930s dresses.
At student dances she played piano for the jazz band, and literally rocked the stacge as she belted out the numbers. She was on the varsity track and field athletics team, and her long-jump record stood unbroken for thirty years or more. Not too surprizing, because she was exceptionall tall, especially for her era. She stood at least 1.85m.
She delighted in telling the story of her visit to Italy, when she became quite concerned at being followed about all around a piazza by a group of Italian men. It turned out that they merely wanted her to pose with them for a photograph - because they'd never seen such a tall woman before.
Dot became a mathematician and a pedagogue of note, and wrote many maths textbooks for use in schools and colleges. She played badminton for South Africa in her late twenties, and later became a keen - and skilled - golfer. In her sixties, she developed Alzheimer's.
I remember her arriving at a family Christmas gathering with her purse stuffed full of R100 notes. She called them "Blue Buffaloes", because the bill has a picture in blue ink of an African buffalo on one side. "Here, have a Buffalo!" she'd laugh, handing out handfulls of bills to all and sundry - friends, family, kids and babies... everybody! My mother made us collect them surreptitiously, so she could slip them back into Dot's purse. I remember my kids being very reluctant to give up their fortunes!
Aunt Dot died of Alzheimers in her 70s, and I inherited various bits and pieces, including a little painted wooden box from Tyrol containing costume jewelry I will never wear. In using one of the pieces for this ATC, and sharing some of her story, I feel that I have, somehow, kept her memory alive.
COLLAGE series made for two different swaps: "Collage" and "What's black and white and red all over?" The old riddle (answer: a newspaper) got me going. I enjoy the three-dimensional effect of building up in layers of paper-covered bit of card. Some were made from the bottom up, and others started with the top layer and got bigger.
I made four of these for a swap called PURPLE. The completed ATC had to be 75% purple
I forgot to scn in the other two kitties, and they were so cute, too!
I have been making albums for my inlaws... to date I've stuck in 1400 photographs taken from around 1974 to the present! One set consisted of pictures of their garden. Each photograph was printed twice on one sheet: the extra, smaller print was called a bonus print. When I trimmed off the bonus prints, I saw they were ATC-size: 2.5x3.5 inches. My Art group decided on making Spring-themed ATCs to trade at our next meeting, so I thought to try painting on the photographs. Click the thumbnail to see all 10 in the series.
I am trying my hand at ATC-size watercolour painting, so far portraits only. I have a "thing" for faces.
The two pairs alongside each consist of a first, "tight" version, and a second wet-on-wet one in which I attempt to "loosen up". I've got a long way to go before I start making Art, with a capital A.
Here are eight more - I was on a roll!
My first attempts at "Primitive Stitching", 7x5", for a Swap-Bot swap. A Google search produces lots of examples, all done on what looks to me like natural, off-white calico. The designs seem to be in a particular style - I made up my own design as I went along. I felt like using light on dark, instead of dark on light. I'll have to try again, because I discovered that my partner dislikes browns and golds. I used a PINK background for the next one, and the colours my partner said she liked.
This "self portrait" ATC was done in acrylics. It has a faux wooden cardboard frame, with an oval window cut out and acetate "glass" protecting the picture. I was saving that oval acetate window that I'd cut from a box of wheat-free pasta. I knew it would come in handy!