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Newsletter October 2008

Dear ALL

Dates to diarise:

  • Nov 2008: Doll exhibition. More on this later from Dana Biddle
  • 2009 More 25X25 cm artworks needed for Rosalie! More on this later under Achievements of Members
  • 2009 October AGM to be held at Linda Jones's home in Plettenberg Bay. Hope some of the Cape members can attend this time.
  • 2010 Fibreworks VI July/ August Cape Town, Bellville gallery.

Date of next meeting: Friday 12 December: Christmas Party meeting! Time: 11 am at Helga's. Bring a plate to celebrate the end of 2008!

New Fibreworks members:

Congratulations and welcome to Gill Gerhardt, Corina Lemmer, Kathryn Fox and Gina Niederhumer! They are our newest members to Fibreworks.

Achievements of members:

  • Odette Tolksdorf


The South African Quilters Guild Pro Dedicate award for 2008 was awarded to Odette Tolksdorf "for outstanding service and in recognition of her dedication to the promotion of the art of quilt making in South Africa since 1987. We pay tribute to this South African quilter for her vision of promoting our textile artists beyond our borders and lifting textile art to a professional level."

Well done, Odette. What an honour! Thanks too for the always steady and cheerful friendship. It's reassuring to have someone like you on the team.

Margie Garratt was a previous SAQG Pro Dedicate award winner in 2006. Margie, you never gave me this information! I got it from Odette…

There were numerous Fibreworks winners at the Quilt Festival. We congratulate Sue Akerman, Elaine Barnard, Jeanette Gilks, Jenny Hearn, Annette McMaster, Paul Schutte, Sue Stevenson and Sheila Walwyn.

  • Sue Akerman had her work juried into Quilt National. Congratulations! This prestigious show has a full colour catalogue that is published by Lark books.

  • Rosalie Dace

Rosalie is presently roaming around the USA giving lectures, slide shows and teaching at various prestigious quilting expos. Ten of us have works on an exhibition she is taking around with her. The Americans particularly enjoy the TEXTURE in our work. Thanks for the work you do for us in the States! Rosalie has asked that we make some more Major Minors for an exhibition in Rochester, New York. Kind of unofficial Major Minors III, but there will not be a catalogue. As curator of the show she reserves the right to take the work she likes/wants. Remember our work will be packed in a suitcase so keep things flattish and unbreakable. I will keep you posted on this show.

  • TAGG (Textile Art Group Gauteng)

Here's some news from Helga who has been in Gauteng for the last two months or so

"This week I was invited by Kim Tedder and Jenny Hearn to the monthly TAGG meeting in Olivedale in Jozzi. Various Fibreworks members belong to TAGG - Carolyn Kode and Margie Letts were there as well as Kim and Jenny of course. Roy Starke (another Fibreworks member) was the guest speaker.

The meeting started with a welcome from Marina Sijalis, the chairman, and then everyone at the meeting was invited to show their work, or to discuss problems with their work or they demonstrated new techniques learnt or promoted new books. Since it was their first meeting since the National Quilt Show in September there were many prize winning quilts on show which made for an interesting meeting. Roy's work added greatly to this wonderful display.

  • Roy Starke and Jenny Hearn

Roy and Jenny have been invited to exhibit in Japan in 2011! Both of them have to exhibit ten wall hangings - Roy has been working for three and a half years, and has made 16 quilts. He brought 5 of them to show us, and they are wonderful! Roy spoke with great enthusiasm about his work - "just do it" was his advice, "don't worry about whether the quilt stitches are so many per inch! - get going, time is short."

Thank you to Jenny and Kim (and Roy of course) for a memorable morning!"

  • Doll Exhibition submission of images extended to Friday 7 November

  • Dana sent me this to be included in the newsletter:
    "We are thinking about having an exhibition of art dolls late next year. I have spoken to a couple of galleries and they are keen but want to see images of the type of dolls I'm talking about first as this hasn't been done before. If you have some photos of dolls you have made, please could you send me a few so I can show them a range of styles and not just my own .
    If you know of anyone else who makes ART dolls please ask them to send me some photos too. They can be in any medium, fibre, clay, wood, metal ... and may be work that has already found a new owner as they don't have to be the work you may want to submit for the exhibition. I need them by 4th November.
    As soon as we have a confirmed venue, I'll let everyone know all the details."


    Present: Jean Powell, Dana Biddle, Rosalie Dace, Jeanette Gilks, Linda Jones, Santie McIntosh, Leonie Malherbe, Annette McMaster, Sue Physick, Sue Stevenson, Odette Tolksdorf, Carolyn Zelenka

    Apologies: Sue Akerman, Jutta Faulds, Kerry Landon, Margie Garratt, Sally Scott, Jenny Hearn, Judy Breytenbach, Ute Giles.

    Helga Beaumont was also away as she had a death in the family, so thank you Sue Stevenson for kindly offering to doing the minutes.

    • Fibreworks V National members exhibition at artSpace:

    • Despite very positive comments from Karen Bradtke the curator of artSPACE Durban gallery and members of the public, some of whom made a point of writing to the gallery in appreciation of the exhibition, there were a couple of Fibreworks members who felt unhappy with the show. Their grievances were duly noted at the AGM and before presenting the discussion that ensued from the correspondence, I want to put on record the following points:

      Issues and problems associated with handling a group exhibition:

      After the knockdown of Fibreworks IV at Bamboo Gallery (2006) in Johannesburg Jenny Hearn and the JHB team submitted a document with some very important and helpful recommendations regarding the hanging of future exhibitions. Sheila Walwyn and the Cape Town members involved in the hanging of the TEN exhibition (2007) submitted a similar document, highlighting further considerations. Pertinent points of these documents were incorporated in a subsequent newsletter. Hereunder are some additional issues and lessons to be learned. They include:
      • The experience of overseeing the whole gallery picture as opposed to the viewpoint of a single participating member. Creating the best 'big picture' in the gallery space by deciding what looks best where can be both an exhilarating and exhausting experience.

      • Having the aesthetic responsibility of the whole exhibition resting on your team's shoulders. Establishing a powerful overall show and at the same time trying to give every participating member an equally good viewing can be difficult and is not always possible. This can be especially stressful when one knows all the participants and their work personally. Ideally, therefore, it would be better if the gallery had its own hanging committee (and some galleries do) but most often this is not the case. Nor do many gallery owners care to become involved in jurying the work submitted.

      • Keeping calm when circumstances beyond your control create very tight hanging schedules. Accepting that sometimes there is no time to change hanging arrangements. One should endeavour to keep calm and not assign blame when the vision of the exhibition space becomes somewhat compromised as a result of events that are nobody's fault.

      • Accepting the fact that there will always be somebody who will not be happy with the position of their work in the exhibition.

      • Remembering that you too have probably felt like this person at least once in the past and remembering that this feeling soon passes the more you exhibit.

      • Working co operatively and efficiently with a team and abiding by team decisions. This means realizing that on another day another team might hang the show quite differently but not necessarily better.

      • Realizing the physical and time-consuming work that mounting and dismantling a big show entails. It's tiring packing up works into and out of cars, shunting them (on sheets) around the gallery floor, moving heavy plinths, drilling holes and moving up and down ladders. Hanging the work can also be very time-consuming, especially if the gallery's policy states that the artists themselves are responsible for the hanging and dismantling, or if the gallery is far from your home. Hanging and dismantling invariably involves a number of trips to the gallery. Dismantling the show is also time consuming. Aside from the physical removal of the work from the gallery, there is managing the packaging up and returning of work to artists who lie further afield.

      • Realizing the time consuming job that all the administration of the exhibition involves. This includes the design of the exhibition invite, liaising with the gallery and local press and liaising with all the participating artists regarding the particulars of their work. The submission dates of administrative information are early and insisted upon because many exhibitors still fail to submit either their work or the paperwork on time.

      There is the old adage that if one cannot deal with the difficulties of the job or the position one ought not to take it on. I agree with this. However, few people ever offer to take on time consuming, responsible, difficult jobs - even when they are paid to do so! It's much easier and less stressful to sit on the ringside and watch the show than to conduct it. Nor are the people who end up doing the difficult, time consuming, responsible jobs necessarily better at doing it than anyone else. My suggestion is that all Fibreworks members volunteer to become involved with some aspect of hanging the members' exhibition.

      As there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the aims and intentions of the Fibreworks group, I would like to draw everyone's attention, yet again, to our Document of Intent:

    • To promote textile/fibre art as a serious art form and to establish a group committed to this ideal.
    • To hold a national biennial exhibition. This may form part of a national convention/AGM.
    • To hold an annual AGM / national convention. Assessment of prospective members' work by all members present will form part of the AGM.
    • To generate interaction, new challenges and critical input.
    • To hold regional retreats organized by individual members.
    • To circulate a quarterly newsletter which will include important information of interest to the group as a whole, for example, future exhibition dates and venues, updates on exhibitions/events, achievements of members, edited minutes from Fibreworks meetings and illuminating / controversial articles submitted by members themselves.

    • Clearly, we are NOT a guild. We do NOT have any teaching, educating and/or mentorship responsibilities towards either other members of the group or members of the public. We are a free association of self directed artists who have chosen to exhibit together (and who happen to work predominantly in fibre and textile related materials).

      The subject of juried exhibitions reared its head yet again, and yet again, provoked heated debate. There appears to be three camps of thinking:

      • People who think that the National Members' exhibition should be juried. The persons chosen to jury would be democratically selected from a short list of qualified jurors that had been democratically selected by the Fibreworks membership. This would reassure all members that the jurors finally selected were up to the job;
      • People who thought that the National Members' exhibition should not be juried;
      • People whose views fell somewhere in between these two extremes i.e. they were in favour of some kind of selection process.

      Other questions that arose included the following:

      How many jurors? Ought there to be a Fibreworks member present at the jurying? Every member to be guaranteed at least one acceptance? Additional works submitted by members can then be juried? Additional works to be juried by the Fibreworks members who are hanging the work?

      We finally decided that we would conduct a survey amongst the whole membership, but in order to compose a range of questions we need input from you first. How do YOU PERSONALLY feel about jurying? If you feel strongly either way, let us have your thoughts. NB THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONG IDEAS ON THIS MATTER - JUST DIFFERENT OPINIONS! I would simply like to gauge these differences of opinion and share them with everyone. That's all, at this stage. Please let us have your thoughts on the matter - what YOU would like to see happening at the National exhibitions. (What happens at exhibitions at regional level is up to the regions).

    • Fibreworks VI:

    • I have booked the artB gallery in Belville for July/August 2010 and I will be sending down a CD of our work and some Major Minor catalogues for their records.

    • Finance:
    • 'Thanks Margaret for keeping us financially balanced', words written by Sue Stevenson in the minutes and I admit that I couldn't have said this in a better way! Many years ago, when we first embarked on the first Major Minors and we were in the red, I daresay we were financially IMbalanced! Please make sure that your name is on the bank deposit slips when you make any payment.

      Thanks Margaret for continuing to keep all our money sufficient, efficient, safe.

    • The Website:
    • This is paid up and up to date. Please remember it is YOUR web site as it has your work on it. If you want changes made, e-mail Helga by May of each year. Once a year she and Rod work on it and they will make the changes as requested.

    • Office Bearers:
    • I will step down from Chairing the Fibreworks group in October 2009 and will discontinue writing the newsletters. As most of the meetings take place here in the Durban region and most of us live here, I suggest that someone in the Durban area takes on the job. Please contact Helga or me if you are interested in this position or have any suggestions.

      Helga will stay on as secretary to give continuity, as will Margaret as Treasurer.


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