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Newsletter February 2007

Dear ALL

We have changed the format of the newsletter a little in order to make the chunks of information easier to digest. 'Dates to diarise' still features chronologically but now many of these dates appear beneath relevant exhibitions. I hope this helps!

Dates to Diarise:

African Window, Visagie Street, Pretoria

· 1 - 19 March. Fibreworks IV plus extras. Please note that the DATES HAVE CHANGED

· 22 February submission deadline for any extra work i.e. NOT Fibreworks IV work. Submit to Jenny Hearn a.s.a.p. The gallery is large and she needs more works.
· You are responsible for insuring your work.
· The gallery has requested that artists indicate HOW works have been constructed as they run a number of educational tours and students are interested in this kind of information. Please send this information to Jenny a.s.a.p. Her e-mail address is, however, problematic so just try your best. Email:
· 20 March. Closing of exhibition. Fibreworks IV plus extras couriered from Pretoria to Durban for the Margate Fibreworks exhibition.
· Remember that there is now a submission fee of R100 for every Fibreworks exhibition. Please pay this amount into the Fibreworks account - details above, and fax the receipt to Helga at 031 764 3944 OR WRITE YOUR REFERENCE DETAILS on the deposit slip. This is important or Margaret Ruxton will not know who you are.

Margate Fibreworks exhibition at the Margate Art Museum in Margate, KZN

· 3 April - 31 May. Margate Fibreworks exhibition at Margate Art Museum - no official opening.

· 20 March. Fibreworks IV plus extras couriered from Pretoria to Durban.
· 20 March. Deadline for submitting the titles of any EXTRA work that you intend to send to the Margate Fibreworks exhibition - i.e. work not exhibited in Pretoria. Any GOOD work that is a little older, perhaps? Helga and I will be collating the paperwork and we need this information for insurance purposes.
· 23 March. Submission deadline for the extra works. Deliver work to Odette Tolksdorf.
· 24 March. Margate Fibreworks artwork collected from Odette Tolksdorf in Durban by The Margate Art Museum courier.
· 31 May Knockdown.
· 1 / 2 June Margate artworks returned to Odette Tolksdorf in Durban
· Remember that there is now a submission fee of R100 for every Fibreworks exhibition. Please pay this amount into the Fibreworks account - details above, and fax the receipt to Helga at 031 764 3944 OR WRITE YOUR REFERENCE DETAILS on the deposit slip. This is important or Margaret Ruxton will not know who you are.

Major Minors II:

The exhibition will be exhibited at the Margate Art Museum April/ May 2007 and will then be dismantled. New owners will get their purchases, and you will get your work back.

TEN Exhibition: Nova Constantia in Cape Town

· 7 - 28 April, the TEN exhibition at Nova Constantia Cellars, Nova Constantia, Constantia.

· 30 March Submission date for Fibreworks TEN artworks. Deliver work to Sheila Walwyn at 3 Marne Ave, Claremont, 7708. Sheila's tel: 021 683 5497
· 30 March. Submission date for Fibreworks TEN paperwork. Helga and I want the TITLES and the ASKING PRICE for your work. Nova Constantia is NOT asking for any commission and therefore the Artists' Asking price will be the Selling Price. Works DO NOT have to be for sale.
· 7 April opening of TEN exhibition at Nova Constantia Cellars. Guest speaker: Jill Joubert - Head of the Frank Joubert Art Centre.
· 28 April FibreworksTEN closes at Nova Constantia. Work can be removed from gallery that afternoon.
· 30 April Monday. Knockdown of TEN exhibition.
· Remember that there is now a submission fee of R100 for every Fibreworks exhibition. Please pay this amount into the Fibreworks account - details above, and fax the receipt to Helga at 031 764 3944 OR WRITE YOUR REFERENCE DETAILS on the deposit slip. This is important or Margaret Ruxton will not know who you are.

The following guest artists will be participating in our TEN exhibition:
Rukaiya Essa, Peter Clark, Liz Vels, Catherine Knox, Karen Bradke, Karin Lijnes, Jackie Downs, Keiskamma Community Art Group, Margot Hattingh and Barbara L'Ange.

NB Please remember that NO ONE IS OBLIGED to participate in every exhibition that Fibreworks offers. Exhibiting IS expensive, time consuming and exhausting. We would be foolish, however, not to accept the privilege of exhibiting in a prestigious gallery when approached by its gallery staff.

We decided at the meeting on the 2 Feb that it would be a good idea if we supplied Sheila and Margie with TWO A4 sheets that explained who we are/what we do. It can take ANY form. Lively and personal? More formal and academic? Colourful/playful/minimal/maximal? Think about a photo too. People like to see what the artist looks like - so I am told. We'll have it next to the Visitors Book perhaps? If you can't manage to do this, don't stress. This is for an interested public who always are asking more about us, and they are not going to CHECK UP to see who hasn't submitted! So relax. Submit these sheets in an envelope when you submit your work. DO NOT email these pages as it gives Margie/Theresa/Sheila too much work to do!

April workshops offered during the TEN exhibition:
To book, contact Sheila Walwyn: 021 683 5497 / 082 887 8266

Rosalie Dace:

Dates: 10th, 11th and 12th April. Rosalie will be running a 3 day workshop called 'Promises and Possibilities: Design in Action' at Nova Constantia. This workshop will be offered as 3 X one day units. Enquiries: Rosalie 082 789 0978, (h) 031 201 0819.

Cost: R200 per day
Venue: Nova Constantia Cellars

Odette Tolksdorf:
Connections in a series:
Dates: 16th 17th April 9am - 4pm Venue: Nova Constantia
Cost: Two Day workshop: R400
This class is about working in a series and the connections between each work in a series. The connection may be in the design, the colours, the concept, a particular fabric or something else that intrigues you and calls for further exploration. We will discuss how to start a series and how to continue the process. We will also look at the work of artists who have worked in a series.
Enquiries: Odette: 031 2662978 / 083 628 3326 e-mail :

Sue Physick and Helga Beaumont
Dates: 19 and 20 April 9am - 4pm Venue: Nova Constantia
Sue Physick and Helga Beaumont offer a 2 day paper, cotton and silk fabric dyeing and silk paper making class. A comprehensive kit with mulberry silk 'tops' and dyes will be included. Enquiries: Helga 031 764 0854 e-mail :
Cost of class: R360 per person
Kit supplied: R100
Annette MacMaster
Dates: 19 and 20 April 9am - 4pm Venue: Nova Constantia
Annette McMaster will present a creative knitting workshop.

A basic knowledge of knitting and crocheting is combined to create textures and colours by using yarns in surprising and original ways.

You will learn to create your own unique garments - no patterns or detailed instructions to follow. Enquiries: Annette: 0333461260

Jeanette Gilks

I am running an advanced landscape drawing workshop on the 12th and 13th April in the Simonstown library. Student numbers are limited. Enquiries Jeanette: 031 768 1215.

Innovative Threads:

Whilst Margs Garratt was up in KZN this last week she met up with the new coordinator of Innovative Threads - Tonya Miles. Tonya seems enthusiastic and motivated and keen to take Innovative Threads to interesting new areas of development. She will send us her Innovative Threads newsletter to keep us in the picture regarding important exhibition dates and so forth. In turn, I will email her a copy of our newsletters. It is, however, YOUR responsibility to speak /email her DIRECTLY with your contact details so she can reach you. Her details are as follows:

Tonya Miles
Cell : 083 378 5818 Fax: 031 764 7781

There is an exhibition coming up with an entry form so contact Tonya for all the relevant information if you have not received it yet.

Additional dates to diarise:

· 20 February 6:00pm . Kloof town hall. Dr. Venny Nakazibwe who is an authority on Bark Cloth will be giving a talk. Entrance R10. Dr Venny Nakazibwe completed her PhD in 2005 at Middlesex University in London. The subject of her thesis was barkcloth; its history and its contemporary role in modern day Uganda.
· 15 March Schreiner gallery in the Tatham Art Gallery PMB. Opening of 'From Pulp to Fiction'. This exhibition will showcase some of the work of Sue Physick, Annette MacMaster and Jutta Faulds. Juliette Leeb-du Toit will open the show at 6pm.
· 6 April Artextures France Submissions deadline This looks an interesting exhibition. Please contact Carolyn Kode for entry forms and more details on her e-mail : or cell 083 265 4884.
· 29 April 'From Pulp to Fiction' closes at Tatham Art Gallery.
· 24 March - 2 May 2007 Trans Cape/X-Cape exhibitions, Cape Town. Our TEN exhibition at Nova Constantia has been accepted as part of the X-Cape extravaganza. This means that our exhibition forms part of the ART ROUTE that will feature the likes of Penny Siopis, Willie Bester, Noria Mabasa and William Kentridge.
· 9 March Submission of Innovative Threads entries.
· 4 May Fibreworks meeting at Odette's house - 10 for 10.30am.
· 18 June Innovative Threads exhibition at artSPACE Durban.

Meeting: 2nd February 2007 10:00 for 10:30am. Jeanette's home.

Members present: Margie Garratt, Leonie Malherbe, Carolyn Zelenka, Helga Beaumont, Odette Tolksdorf, Jeanette Gilks, Sue Akerman, Judy Breytenbach, Annette McMaster, Sue Physick, Jutta Faulds, Jean Powell, Margaret Ruxton, Kerry Landon, Karen Bradke., Rosalie Dace, Sue Stephenson.

Next meeting Friday 4 May at Odette's house at 83 Jan Hofmeyr Rd, Westville. Tel 031 266 2978

Fibreworks Contract of Agreement:

At this meeting, which was well attended, Sue Greenberg, curator and owner of a successful commercial art gallery in Durban, gave us an in depth look at the responsibilities of both curator and the exhibitor. I would like to include in our Contract Agreement some recommendations that she suggested and consequently this Agreement, as discussed in the last newsletter, still needs to be tweaked here and there. Rosalie, Odette, Helga and I will be having a meeting with Sue Greenberg to finalize certain issues. I will keep you posted on the developments.

E-mail address list:

Please forward the e-mail addresses of those you wish to invite a.s.a.p. to Theresa. She is doing a great job by compiling this list. Thanks to Margie Garratt who has co-ordinated this process. We are designing a Visitors Sheet/Form that has a column for e-mail addresses. Theresa will capture these emails at the end of the TEN show thereby increasing our Interested Visitorship! Henceforth these people will receive Fibreworks invitations. At the end of the show all this information will be sent back to Helga - the Keeper of Records.

Achievements of Members:

Congratulations to all the following members!

Jean Powell
Congratulations to Jean on her 80th birthday on the 11th of February! Jean has been committed to the arts for the last 60 years and we thank her for her tireless contributions.

Sue Stevenson
SMS's work! Sue s-ms'd her name and craft to the Simonsig Cheese competition hot line and she won R50 000 to spend on her craft anywhere in the world! She has chosen to go to Japan to attend the 1st Kumihimo Convenion in Kyoto in November this year. Excellent. We look forward to a slideshow when you return.

Dana Biddle:
Recently Dana sent me an image of some of her little metal jewelry dolls with embroidered/sewed/bodies/clothes.

She goes on to say: 'All 4 of these pieces have been accepted for the South African Jewelry Expose 2007 which is a contempory art jewelry exhibition. It will start off at the International Craft Fair in Munich from the 8 - 14 March then go on to the Martina Dempf Gallery in Berlin from the 20 - 29 April and from there to the Turnov International Jewelry Symposium in the Czech Republic in July'.

Dana is also publishing a book:" … about the yarn producers and "yarn artists/designers" of Southern Africa. My aim is to promote the wonderful hand spun / dyed yarns we have available to us here and also to provide a platform for the artists/designers to show off their work and receive some of the exposure they so richly deserve. I have spoken to most of the people who will be included and just want to say thank you to all for agreeing to contribute and for your enthusiasm and positive energy'.

Sally Scott:
Sally now has her own website - go and have a look-see! It's a joy.
Sally's website is linked to the Fibreworks web and vice versa, so EVERYONE is a winner! Continue to broadcast our web to everyone.

Roy Starke:
Roy's work appears in the Japanese Patchwork Quilt Magazine no 136
(Feb 2007) on pages 50 - 53. In Roy's words:

"The article in the magazine covers my exhibition in Pretoria at the Cultural History Museum where I had some 50 quilts and embroideries exhibited It was attended by Naomi Ichikawa editor of the magazine. Four full colour pages covers a visit to the exhibition and my enormous studio at home! Naomi has invited me to take the Pretoria exhibition to Japan. Discussions are still underway."

If any of you have news to share with us, drop us an e-mail that we can put in the newsletter.

Kind regards everyone

And finally and at last, Juliette Leeb-du Toit's paper on

Jutta Faulds:
Cloth and other materials as creative media in the arts: the significance of Jutta Faulds in the development of fabric art
This exhibition celebrates the work of Jutta Faulds, an extraordinary artist who has made significant contributions to the arts in South Africa in developing unique fabric-based art consisting of layered abstract fragments that allude to compelling narratives and concepts engendered by the artist. Sourced obliquely in American and European precedents established in the 1960s, she has created an indigenous variant in sculptural installation pieces and wall hangings that are celebrated in local and international collections. As a pioneer in this field in South Africa she has yet to receive the many accolades that are her due.

The crafts in the west have for centuries been regarded as central manifestations of human creativity, as originally all art forms were deemed artisinal, and synonymous with what was until recently designated fine art (such as painting, sculpture and architecture). This inclusivity changed during the late 1400s with the Renaissance, when the so-called Fine Arts were regarded as superior in that they were perceived to be concerned more with philosophical enquiry, beauty, truth to nature and principles of mathematics in art (applicable for example to establishing the tenets of proportion) and aesthetics. The consequent divisions between high (fine art) and low (crafts) art in the west were entrenched for centuries in the west.

In the 19th century challenges to this division between the arts and crafts emerged in design studios such as the Arts and Crafts movement and in the work and writings of William Morris and John Ruskin who challenged the sterility of mass-produced and machine made goods which denied satisfaction and appreciation in either the maker or the consumer. This saw the revival of the crafts -ceramics, woodworking, quilting, stained glass and weaving, which were again revived in the 1920s. In the early 20th century the Bauhaus school, expressed in the work and teachings of Johannes Itten and Walter Gropius, denounced the marginalisation of the crafts, consequently resituating the crafts and design as the basis for art. They regarded all creativity as central to a spiritual act or gesture and insisted on students achieving this.

Almost a century later, in a complex post Postmodern world in which marginalized practices have been reappraised and repositioned, all forms of creativity are regarded as meritorious. As the debate on the implicit divisions between art and craft have receded in the wake of current inclusivities, the creative capacity of the maker is valued as a central feature intrinsic to the work's merit, as are factors such as content and conceptualisation.

In South Africa sewing, lace-making, embroidery, beading, carpet making and tapestry weaving have a tradition stemming mainly from colonial times. Usually these were regarded as necessities, associated with functional and more elaborate wear, but in a post industrial age, they came to be associated, as elsewhere, with women's work and especially leisure. These activities coincided with many processes such as beadwork, sewing and weaving, associated more particularly with cultural preferences peculiar to specific groups. When Faulds' arrived in South Africa she faced several challenges: widespread ignorance about the reinstating of sewing and quilting in the arts and a rejection of the use of handwork within a fine arts context.

Challenging conventions in the fine arts: Feminism and the Pattern and Decoration movement
For many women their creative capacities located in domestically allied practices, such as sewing, embroidery and weaving, were marginalized and seen as peripheral to mainstream fine art. Feminisms of various kinds launched important challenges to these suppressions with the result that in works such as The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago, embroidery, lacework and ceramics were central to its construction.

South Africa women artists have used 'traditional' media when they become 'artists'. Yet by the 1970s a growing body of women began to assert their 'domestic' creativity in what was increasingly recognised as an artistic sphere. Like Faulds, they were part of a new generation of artists who had either travelled to, studied in, or who hailed from European and American regions, bringing with them innovative modernist adaptations to traditional crafting processes that elevated their work to the level of art.

Faulds was particularly influenced by the Pattern and Decoration Movement, New Decoration (or the P&D) which emerged in America in the 1970s. The movement had several adherents and supporters among which John Perrault and critc Carrie Rickey. Several artists were influenced by the movement's ideas such as Miriam Shapiro, Robert Kushner, Lucas Samaras and Valerie Joudon. Their primary intention was to challenge the narrow definition of art (painting, sculpture and architecture) while at the same time supporting alternate cultural and gendered particularities in artistic creativity. They also believed that the content of art should be all-embracing and not limited to religious, ethical and philosophical ideals. To them art that was sensual, vernacular and utilitarian was valuable, and art should include craft as the two were synonymous. They also embraced expressiveness and emotive content in new materials that challenged the accepted norms associated with high art.

Such was the success of the new demands that all forms of creativity be accepted, that in 1971 the Whitney Art Museum (New York) hosted its first quilt exhibition which was previously unprecedented in such an esteemed museum context. Soon Miriam Shapiro (well-known Feminist artist) and Lucas Samaras intentionally used processes associated with the domestic crafts in their works, such as sewing and embroidering, as well as found objects from their homes. Kushner on the other hand was inspired by oriental Iranian, Turkish and Afghan art and material culture, their decoration regarded as reflecting intelligence and upliftment. He translated this into textile pieces that were loosely sewn and brightly coloured, modified by animal, and human paintings on them. Many of his works were wearable and several 'wearable art' exhibitions, inviting viewers to try on the many constructed garments that she has produced over the years.

This movement challenged the narrow parameters that currently applied to the definition of what constituted art and in the process proposed the inclusion of many forms of creativity that included previously deemed craft work, inspired in part by Feminism's call for all creativity to be regarded on an equal footing with all other art forms. In this they perceived that all divisions in the arts, whether across gender or racial and ethnic divisions, reflected intrinsically patriarchal and colonial divisions of labour and underlying inequalities in power relations dominated by the west.

Feminists were also in effect challenging the role of the patriarchal hierarchy of curators, academics and collectors whose regard for specific works and creativity in effect contributed to the associated status of such works. These value judgements were obliquely challenged by critics art historians such as Wittgenstein who considered it increasing difficult to define art, and conceded that art is so intrinsically linked to its milieu and the culture which generates it that
It is within the abovementioned parameters that the creative strength of Jutta Faulds must be situated. Her work, recognised by its use of cloth and other media in decorative collages and assemblages of complex patterns and embellishment, are arresting and mesmerising in their vitality and intricacy. They reflect hours of patient selection and obsessive working and reworking of layers, detail, threads and textures. Testimony to a range of decisions and engagement, of thought and implicit meaning, of responses to the dictates of the material and its qualities, they allude to an intimate discourse that is tangible yet elusive, evoking a sense of time, timelessness and deep personal spirituality.

In deploying what were perceived as 'craft practices', including the making of garments and quilting, Faulds' work was formerly marginalized in the artistic sphere. However she gradually extended her parameters to creating wall hangings and installations, thereby enabling her work to straddle the functional and artistic spheres, to the extent that her work is currently perceived as having significant artistic merit.

Biographical context
Born Jutta Hulverscheidt in Bonn, Germany in 1933 to her mother, Erika and father, Max, a successful and versatile businessman. Faulds' mother and grandmother (Olga Reinwald) were active embroiderers in the domestic sphere. This context was to be a major inspiration to Faulds and it is both here, and at school, that she learnt the rudimentary principles of embroidery, in traditional samplers in which she practiced using new stitches. (Faulds interview, September 2006)

As her father was opposed to her wish to study art, Jutta completed her national diploma (based on a four year technical training program) in analytical industrial chemistry at the Shell laboratories in Wesseling, completing a taxing and comprehensive state examination. Every six months she was sent to a different laboratory to acquire additional skills in her field. In 1956 she went to work in America at the Textile Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. It was here that she met her husband, psychologist Professor Bruce Faulds, then a postgraduate at Princeton where he was completing his PhD. They married in 1959 and soon thereafter moved back to South Africa, Durban at first and then Pietermaritzburg.

It was however only in the 1960s that Faulds re-discovered hand stitching and embroidery, when her husband spent a year's sabbatical as part-time lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada between 1969-1970. As there was little to do during the long winter she joined a campus women's group who were doing embroidery, stitching and other creativity as an 'expressive medium'. Here she discovered what she has described as a major breakthrough : 'it was legitimate to 'do one's own thing'…learning new stitches and new colour combinations'and adding these as one chose to items one wanted to make (Faulds interview, September 2006). These she added to runners and tablemats, mostly functional and domestic ware. She subsequently exhibited her work at the library at Suskatoon along with that of other members of the group.

On her return to South Africa she showed others what she had done, but few of her peers found her methods and work interesting. Those that showed some interest had mostly been exposed to the increasing relevance of creative sewing and quilting abroad. Faulds persevered, producing garments for herself and her husband as well as developing her sewing and embroidering capacities in experimental small landscapes (framed) and other sewn pieces. At the same time she worked as an analytical chemist at the nearby Darvill Sewage Works in New England road.

In her creative sewing she was a 'bit of a lone voice' in the region (Faulds interview, July 2006), and was initially unaware of any other parallels to her work when she first arrived in the country. She however knew of the importance of the entrepreneur Helen de Leeuw and her group of Craftsman's galleries in Johannesburg and the Cape, who imported a wide range of Finnish and German cloth and other items. She was also impressed by the work from Rorke's Drift, which she saw at the African Art Centre in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Although attracted by their screen-printed fabric she has never used it in her quilts, indicating that she never uses boldly printed fabric as this tends to dominate her designs.

All her work at this stage was relatively small and hand sewn, which was time-consuming and laborious, especially in view of the fact that she was soon interested in making larger pieces, influenced in this by her familiarity with the increasing significance of quilting and fabric art in the west. Some years later she discovered a method used in America in which machine sewing and embroidery were combined, allowing a greater acceleration in the creative process. This ideally suited her temperament and allowed her a greater immediacy, allowing more experimentation in scale and expression. Her first local support group was the Weavers' Guild. Later, when she started to piece fabric together to make larger work she joined emerging quilting groups in the area.

Her initial encounters with the local Fine Arts department were disheartening. Reflecting typical modernist purism Prof Martin, then head of the Fine Arts department at the University of Natal (now the Centre for Visual Arts) in Pietermaritzburg, was quite unimpressed by her work (he was rather embarrassed, she thinks) (Faulds interview, July 2006) and Faulds departed, believing him to be quite arrogant and dismissive. In 1974-5 she nonetheless exhibited her smaller works, mostly landscapes, in Hilton at the Normand Dunn gallery.

In effect Faulds was largely self taught, inspired by her encounter with quilters and her travels abroad where she exhibited with and met fellow artists. She also briefly attended drawing and painting classes with Jane Heath, but felt that this was not the medium she wanted to work in. Jane was however an important catalyst in developing her creative philosophy. In the early 1970s she recalls Jane reminding her that one cannot have colour preferences, obliging here to work in yellow a colour she initially had no particular affinity for. Jane taught her not to 'average oneself out'…teaching her to disregard conventions. She posed questions about integrity and honesty, challenging students to question what they were doing, what their approach was. Faulds had never previously experienced such intervention, but regards this as one of her most valuable teaching encounters.

Faulds' work is informed by several additional influences. In keeping with her interest in Hindu philosophy she regards her stitching and constructions as meditative, the final works hopefully eliciting contemplative engagement in the viewer. To her the act of making is the most significant and enduring aspect of the work: the work may or may not survive, and whether or not it does is irrelevant - to her all is transient and friable. Regarding her creativity as a somewhat 'self-indulgent process' she believes that 'one has to go beyond this process' (Faulds interview, September 2006). Consequently she considers one of her main purposes to be the transmitting of her abilities in teaching and to see how others have been able to express themselves and create their own idiom. Teaching for her is an exchange - it is a reciprocal giving and receiving of ideas and creative energy. She also has high regard for the work and ideas of her peers such as Annette Mc Master and Celia de Villiers.

For the last eight years she has visited India every two years, impressed by the serenity, benevolence, tolerance and mutual respect she has encountered there. She regards India as an ideal model of harmony, where all are part of a structure and are respected as such. There is a general mood of acceptance, in contrast to the west (or for that matter South Africa) which fosters 'winning', achievement and assertiveness at the expense of others (Faulds interview, September, 2006).

Located in many divergent sources, from both the west and the east, many of her works are informed by a deep spirituality that permeates her thinking and is reflected in her warmth, sincerity and deep humaneness. Her spirituality can be discerned in meditative repetitions and detail in tone and stitching, as well as in the frequent appearance of totemic forms and vestments that allude to liturgical practice and incorporeal form.

Far from producing works that are merely aesthetically pleasing, Faulds' content is arresting and challenging. Her inspiration is sourced in various contexts, drawing attention to personal and universal concerns. Soon she developed a distinctive thematic focus which centres on her local context and the peoples she encounters and admires.

Faulds has also addressed recent political and personal turmoil in her work, such as in Umlindi Wesiswe (watcher, guard or sentinel over peace) (1991) (150x50cm). Here she was inspired by the existence of the military wing of the ANC known as Umkhonto we sizwe. Here a guardian watches over peace rather than strife, and in this she celebrates, almost prophetically, the function of peacekeepers in the post-apartheid context. Many of the rectangular forms in this work, sourced in discarded and recycled materials (such as the remnants of a basket), assume an anthropomorphic appearance. The accompanying cape is also seemingly wearable with its aperture at the top, the garment resembling a liturgical vestment, reinforced by the use of gold (reflecting divinity), while white feathers symbolise peace and the sacred.

For years Faulds has been concerned with ecological issues, mainly at a local level, but like many people today she expresses particular concern for future generations as the planet gravitates towards disaster. In Spirit of the oil-soaked sea bird (1993) (200x160cm) she expresses her concerns regarding oil pollution along the eastern seaboard, the bird emblematic of nature being threatened by exploitation and abuse by humankind. Predominantly black, the form echoes that of a bird, and many of the fabric fragments are feather-like, glistening in contrast to the pervasive light saturated black. Concerns about immanent eco-disasters and the abuse of natural resources are central to the Feminist and Pattern and Decoration movement. Birds also frequently appear in her work, symbols of nature (and its frailty), freedom and departure, functioning as barometers of the well being or abuse of nature - when they die or depart we should heed their warning. (Faulds interview, September 2006)

Her work Coat for an African Gardener (1989) (200x60cm), is the first work she made specifically to be displayed on a wall (exhibited at the Durban Quilt Festival and later that year at an International Quilting exhibition in Houston, Texas). Using overprinted fabrics, lace, feathers, porcupine quills, bone and steel, she relocates the theme of gardening within the realms of conservation and preservation. The garden consists of indigenous fauna and flora threatened by development, expansion, and materialism.

Bongimvula (Praise to rain) (1991) (150x250cm) was entered in the International Quilting competition in Port Elizabeth in 1992, where it won several prizes including that of best quilt on show. Resembling a rectangular oriental prayer rug, Faulds has in part used the log cabin quilting method, creating a mosaic of multi layered facets in which a central rectangular, lighter panel is situated, both areas constructed of mesmerizing fragments that create optical illusions of receding and advancing areas. In this her work evokes a spirituality associated with contemplation and veneration, suggesting a gravitation from the material to the spiritual. In contrasting light and dark throughout the work she evokes a sublimity reinforced by the intricacy and scale of the work. While it resembles a conventional quilt, this work can also function as a wall hanging. In departing from the strict conventions of quilting, Faulds has used quills, beads, stuffed fabric squares, paint and wire. Creating a shallow relief she has incorporated stuffed fabric strands that are freely suspended in the centre of the piece.

Faulds has a vast collection of cloth that she draws from. She avoids using overtly patterned cloth as this could become too dominant in the design, using instead plain or textured cloth (often dyed by her) in a vast palette of tones and textures that she uses in exploring subtle gradations or sharp juxtapositions, her use of colour reflecting an exceptional sensitivity to tone. Although Faulds uses a wide spectrum of colours, she frequently gravitates to deep purples, blues and blacks. She has also tended to use a wide range of yellows in her work, a colour that she finds particularly challenging to work with. (Faulds interview, September 2006) Interestingly purple and yellow are on the opposite scale of the spectrum, and in contrasting warm and cool tones in her work they reflect a sublimity that frequently conveys serenity and spirituality in her work.

Regarding herself as 'a process oriented person…quite apart from aesthetic and other concerns' (Faulds interview, July 2006) Faulds was initially drawn to sewing and fabric collage as she felt an innate affinity for cloth and the ways in which she could manipulate it into designs, and later imagery and narratives. She is also an adept felt maker, a skill she acquired from Betsy Tarboton's sister who had acquired this skill when in Denmark. She recently began producing a series of mandalas and separate experimental panels, and counts among her former students Santie MacIntosh, Claire Smith, Mary Ovendale and Rookaya Essa. She has also developed an unconventional knitting idiom, 'wild knitting', which allows almost complete freedom of direction, design, wool thickness and even what needles or tools can be used in this 'knitting'. She has over the years produced inventive clothing, both for herself and others, and was among the first to utilise isishweshwe cloth in her designed garments, establishing an important precedent among white female wearers in the 1980s.

Faulds has produced several liturgical vestments as well as a wall and a floor piece for the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Pietermaritzburg. In this she includes hand-written sections of Mozart's Requiem which relates to the Catholic mass for the repose of the souls of the dead. The other is for Pentecost. She also produced a work for the Taizé mass held from time to time in the cathedral.

Working predominantly in cloth has resulted in Faulds' work being associated with quilting circles. But she soon found that their priorities were not acceptable to her, most quilting guilds determining specific stitching and sewing criteria with additional emphasis on precision, neatness, working on a flat surface, 'attaching patches to a double piece of neatly sewn fabric, and mitring' (Faulds interview, July 2006).

Rejecting such prescriptiveness and expectations associated with conventional quilting, she instead elected to work more freely and expressively - with thread functioning as delineation and calligraphy, and fabric as textured palette. In addition she often adds found items such as feathers, plastic and wood into her work, further extending prescribed boundaries in quilt making. Rather she works with her materials creatively and instinctually, using their intrinsic qualities allied to her instinctive associations and selection, combining to form intricate inflections in texture and tone.

Faulds also wanted to achieve a more rapidly realised effect, characterised by a seemingly haphazard arrangement of textures and overlaying, often to result in a distinctive three dimensionality and embossing effect. This was realised at times by using media such as wooden planks, overlays of fabric, beads, braid and lace and even ceramic pot shards. Her work also includes silk-screened photographs on cloth, fragments of copper, brass, mild and stainless steel, paper, paint, dyes, feathers, wool, glass and quills. Often her work also includes materials used in rural traditional decorative practice such as glass beads, safety pins, fragments of locally made woven grass baskets and guinea fowl feathers. Ultimately her use of materials is dictated by her need to realise what she envisions for each work.

'Using methods and skills which have long been regarded as 'domestic' and taking them to something unexpected is something I find challenging and exciting. In my teaching I try to generate some of those feelings of excitement and discovery in others.'

Faulds' work has broken other quilting boundaries as well, in that most of her work is non-functional, non-utilitarian and they often function as wall hangings and installations. As have others in the international sphere, Faulds is outspoken, constantly challenging local judges of quilting exhibitions, suggesting they extend their assessment criteria and parameters to embrace current international practice associated with the 'art quilt', fabric sculpture and wall hangings. Such challenges are sometimes met, and this reflects an ongoing debate within such circles between traditionalists and innovators.

Due to the materials used, as well as her association with quilting, Jutta Faulds was for many years subject to an intrinsic marginalisation. Her work was at first largely displayed within the context of women's quilt shows and fibre art sculpture as well as in venues such as the Midlands Arts and Crafts Society centre in Pietermaritzburg (where she teaches and is a founder member).

Gradually many aspects of previously marginalized women's creativity have over the years entered into the visual vocabularies of artists in KwaZulu-Natal, such as stitching and embroidery in the work of figures such as Hennie Stroebel and more recently Andrew Verster, reflecting growing trends abroad. Faulds' work has consequently increasingly been embraced within the visual arts context, with the result that she now exhibits in a variety of contexts, such as art galleries, quilting and sculpture exhibitions, wearable art parades art and craft displays and art competitions.

Artistic development
Faulds is a founder member of the Midlands Arts and Crafts Association (MACS).
She has also over the years befriended artists such as Gert Swart, Henry Davies, Jinny Heath (and others from the Centre for Visual Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and David Gush. All three except for Heath, are sculptors who have encouraged her to pursue her use of cloth as a three dimensional expressive vehicle.

As part of her contribution to the functioning of MACS, Faulds has developed several instruction courses in fabric production, dyeing, 'wild knitting' , fabric projects, felt making and dyeing, as well as in the organisation and facilitation of various other art related workshops. A central aspect in Faulds' work and instruction is to encourage expression and originality both in conception and in the deploying of various materials in creative processes.
Faulds' significance in South Africa requires further study. She is one of an important body of women who use creativity usually relegated to women's domestic sphere in works that challenged mainstream art practice.

It is particularly apt that Jutta Faulds is exhibiting in the Jack Heath Gallery at the Centre for Visual Art, (formerly the Fine Arts Department) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as it is here that her work was first seen (and initially rebuffed) and where she also worked subsequently together with fellow MACS members for several years. It is with sincere appreciation that we welcome her into the realms where she deservedly belongs as a fellow artist.

Juliette Leeb-du Toit

Jutta Faulds and Joan Hoole interview with Juliette Leeb-du Toit and Amanda Johannson, July 2006.
Jutta Faulds interviewed by Juliette Leeb-du Toit, August 2006.
Jutta Faulds interview with Juliette Leeb-du Toit, September 2006.
Tempelhoff, L. An investigation into the art of Jutta Faulds (1989-1993) in relation to the arts/crafts debate. Unpublished Honours paper for the Natal Technikon,1996
Barraclough Jutta Faulds in a Feminist context, 2000.
Mc Morris, P and Kile, M The Art Quilt. The Quilt Digest Press, San Francisco, 1986

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