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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reconnecting wth a teacup

A silver teacup cup from a flat, formless sheet
Molded and bent, painted and polished.
A silver teacup brought us again to meet
to rebuild what was once demolished.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pewter and painting - for Tony - Alas, too late

Finally complete, this is the Sacred Heart candle holder for Tony.

Tony passed away peacefully last week, so unfortunately, I was just too late in completing it, He didn't get to see my dear moms gift to him.

Here, the planning stages were complete and the work was about to start.

I wasn't that happy with the completed product but given that I had a time constraint, and I was rushing a bit, I guess one cant expect it to be that well done.

What I have learned is that pouring in the wax, is possibly the most crucial step, as too much wax....and the design changes shape when the patina is applied and the rubbing and shining starts. It also creates an uneven picture when sticking it down on your surface lumps and bumps to areas where they are not wanted.

What I did differently with this is that I used 'Silvo' , a sliver cleaning solution, instead of
'Brasso'. Granted, AFTER the fact, but the last polishing using the 'Silvo' gave it the best shine out of all the pewter that I've worked with till now. Will try the Silvo on its own with my next piece.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Canned Hunting

Recently, we visited a reserve called 'Jukan Wildlife Predator Park', located a few kms outside of Mossel Bay.

This is one of the two rare and endangered white Bengal Tigers being looked after.

When I say being looked after, its not a flippant statement. Jukani came to the rescue through a R500 000 donation by a kind-hearted tourist, after a desperate drive to acquire funds to buy him outright and spare his life.

The male tiger, 'Angelo' has congental retinits (from what I remembered) and is unable to breed. His fate was to be part of a canned hunt, as, I believe was the female's.

One may argue the point that R500 000 could go a long way in feeding the hungry or housing the homeless....that's not the point. There are many aspects to humanity...and certainly no starting or finishing point in the Lords creation. Every life form has reason and purpose and is vital for our very existence. Who of us can question Gods Divine plan in creation....where he sends angels to protect a mere donkey from a beating

Reading up on canned hunting has made me feel ill!

In most cases, the big cats/animals are hand-reared, i.e. being bottle fed as cubs, raised with lots of human contact, being hand- fed and petted.

In a canned hunt, they are in enclosures and are often lured to humans (I use that word loosely here)/hunters under the impression of being fed.......and are then shot at point-blank range, If they are only injured by the the inexperienced little wally with the big gun, they then have no means of escape.

South Africa's cryng "foul" to the slaughter of our rhino but our hypocrytcal government endorses canned hunting of lion and leopard etc. Let me explain: In November 2010, The Supreme Court of Appeal, ruled in favour of lion 'breeders' continuing the practice of canned hunting. The Predator Breeders Association have 123 members (now, maybe more) who, between them, have 3000 (now, maybe more) captive-bread lions in their faciltes.

As with rhino horn, lion bones and body parts are used prolifically in Asian medicine...... The message, loud and clear: PAY US ENOUGH AND YOU CAN DESTROY OUR WILDLIFE.

What possible gratification can the 'hunter' have in that??? That's not a hunt. That's just a barbaric, cowardly act of an un-evolved primate with too much money or a dithery act by someone with mental capacity of a mitochondria!

Hanging a stuffed head of an animal, any animal, on one's wall, is merely a testimony and trophy to ones narcissistic, egotistical personalty...... of someone with Napoleon syndrome who's insecurities are bolstered by destroying life, who's obviously absence of self-respect has created an inability to respect anything and anyone around them............. who's gonads possibly resemble shelled peanuts which have been in the sun too long.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Graaf Reinet

On our way to Mossel Bay, we stopped in Graaf Reinet for breakfast.

This beautiful Karoo town is surrounded by the Karoo National park and is the fourth oldest in South Africa, having been established in 1787 by the then Governor, Cornelis Van der Graaf, of the Dutch East India company.

The Huge, beautifully maintained Dutch Reformed church, which was influenced by the architecture of the Salisbury Cathedral, can seat 1500 people and is pretty much the center-piece of the town. Coming from Gauteng, the first thing that struck me was how clean the streets were. A large, friendly, colored community add a very special vibe.

This is the Rienet Antque shop which houses the oldest cake (supposedly) in the world. The old house was bought a few years ago by a Mrs Era Maasdorp who found the cake on the floor. She, fortunately, found a photograph of the cake with the Te Water couple, who were marred in 1852 and who had this cake made for their anniversary in 1902.

Just below the mirror on the far wall above the fire place, one can see the 110 year old cake. Unfortunately, the photo which I took was blurred, The assumption is that it's a fruit cake which was seeped in brandy, as is the modern-day practice, preserving it. Also, cakes in those days were a luxury, a piece of art. The icing was often hardened and preserved with egg white and a slither was cut only on a special occasion.

Hows this kitchen?!!! The open hearth, the sloping timber beams, the creaky old floor I saw a dour old lady with a down-turned mouth, slowly stirring a large pot of stew.... I could almost smell it.!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A mother of a tortoise

This is the second time we have mysteriously found a huge tortoise in our garden. Last year...around about the same time, a tortoise, twice the size of this one, was trying to push open our sliding gate to get in!!! Obviously, I let it in (as I did, with three sheep a few years previously)....much to the horror of my gardener who, the next morning, reported the annihilation of most of my vegetable seedlings and pumpkin flowers. The same happened now.

Molly was hysterical....not knowing what this thing was. To add insult to her injury, it completely ignored her.

She kept a respectful distance

Max, the 'Boss' was having none of that....he decided that if he couldn't have any effect on this tortoise through intimidation, he would just go ahead and eat its carrot!!.......even if it killed hm.

The tortoise, happily, found a new home on my cousins farm.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Multi-media medicine

Having enjoyed doing the last box so much, I decided to try another.....a gift for a friend. The only difference with this one is that I didn't have time to do a painting inside the lid. ( see my previous my post...the painting took a long time due to the angle and the size)

In progress, I wasn't sure about the shape at any stage, with the grooved, con vexed lid but it's all about trial and error when attempting new things.

Here, the box has been painted, using brown then coral craft paint, then tilling the sides with small ceramic tiles. The strips have just been measured and are about to be engraved and polished. They work well in filling in and finishing the edges. I love working with it as it's really soft and one can do just about anything, although, I'm not sure about the safety aspect in using this medium too often.

Lead strips almost done.

I have never used copper patina before and didn't have a clue so ended up phoning a friend...and bothering her terribly in tryng to get it right. Not perfect, but I loved the effect. The copper gave a skin-colored tone to her face which I was realy happy with. Talk about just jumping in....!!!

About to patina the side strips,


Not perfect but perfection is for perfectionists and perfectionists die young :o)

Garep Dam

The trip to the Cape takes around 13 hours with stops. The Gariep Dam is a popular stop for most travelers on this road long trip. We normally stay at a lovely Karoo farm further on, called 'The Vale" a few kms outside Beaufort west, but we had left a little later than normal.
We rented a large 3 bed/7 sleeper, double story unt on the dam for R900 per night...peak season, which, when travellng wth a large, (and large) family, is a good deal. Stopping here breaks the journey up into just over half-way...we had a 6 hour trip the next day.

Strawberry farm in George

One of the treats we had recently as a family, was a trip to a strawberry farm near George on the garden route, Western Cape.

We picked our own strawberries at R25 per person/large bucket.
I have attempted to grow strawberres for a whle now.......I could see how to do it rght.....furrows and lots and lots of water, compost and black plastic bags.

It had other things enjoyed by families, especially for young children, like a train that runs through the strawberry fields, a lovely tea garden (obviously serving scones and yum home-made strawberry jam), various farm animals and a well-stocked shop with all sorts of strawberry products and foods.

Just too hard to resist!

These were the best strawberres that we'd ever eaten! There wasn't one that was remotely the time we'd got to the men, there was a huge dent in our pickings!

This picture in no way, does the real thing any justice...we just couldn't stop ourselves.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

sculpture and more multi-media

One of my mom's long-time friends' husbands, Tony Phasey, is gravely ill and my mother, being who she is, put her prayerful nature into top gear. She bought him a little prayer candle holder made from clay and a prayer booklet called 'You are my Beloved' by Mitch Finley, and sent it to me to do a little pewter on it (the candle holder).
Unfortunately, by the time it arrived here, it was in pieces. Mom was really upset.

The strangest thing is that, as I sat there with the broken pieces on my lap, Jesus's face looked up at me, and I felt so profoundly,that the Lords was giving me the message!...'You are my beloved'..... I decided to make another one!

I bought some clay and made all the little pieces, taking care to dry them on a really flat surface and had to continually turn them over to prevent them from lifting at the corners. I eventually dried them under a heavy book.

I then made the little candle holder section. My tools were very crude...a Stanley knife and a plastic lead moulder....but it worked!

I beveled the edges to facilitate the join, then all the panels were molded together...using clay.

Finally completed...not exact...but I was really happy with it.

Last night, I painted it with gesso...I still need to sand it down to a smooth surface, after which, I will start the painting and the pewter..... the finished product will soon follow.
It's been years since I've done any sculpture and I sooooo enjoyed doing this...a dirty, messy, stuff-under-the-nails process. I've committed myself to this art form this year, and am really excited about trying out different mediums.


This is another multi-media box that I'm busy with at the moment. I'm really enjoying using various materials and techniques and want to extend on that with each one I do. I used a little liquid lead with this, just as an experiment..... maybe try it out on the lid?? I'm busy with the pewter at the moment and am in the planning stages for the little lid panting.

These are the little 1cm lead strips which use as a finish. It's a lovely soft, bendable medium to engrave on, cut, bend and manipulate into awkward places.