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Newsletter October 2011

Dear ALL

First of all, congratulations and a warm welcome to Colleen Harris and Margee Gough who are now members of Fibreworks.

Dates to Diarize
26 November, visit Ammazulu Palace, Christmas lunch at Helga's 12 pm.
December 15 2010 - Deadline for VI International Biennial of Textile Art - Mexico 2011 (all categories)
February 15 2011 - Deadline for VI International Biennial of Textile Art - Mexico 2011 - Collaborative Textiles-REDES (Nets) ONLY
February 15 2011- Deadline for Fantastic Fibers 2011 Competition
March 31 2011 - Deadline for entry form and payment for SA National Quilt Festival
April 29 2011 - Deadline to register your interest in one of the competitions at Festival of Quilts 2011 (Birmingham NEC)
May 1 2011 - Deadline for delivery of quilts for SA National Quilt Festival
World Textile Art Organization XALAPA, MEXICO CITY and OAXACA Mexico
31 May Deadline for Fibreworks Kimono exhibition. More on this later.
July 1 - 7 2011 - SA National Quilt Festival
August 11- 14 2011 - Festival of Quilts 2011 - Birmingham NEC
2-7 October 2011 - 11th Southern Hemisphere Felting Convergence 2011 which will be held in Bunbury Western Australia.

Next meeting: Friday 26 November 10am:
26 November: visit to the Ammazulu Palace at 20 Windsor Road Kloof 10:00am to 12:00, from there to Helga's with food for our end of year lunch. Please note that lunch is at Helga's, not Jeanette. We have quite a lot to discuss so try and be at Helga's by 12.

Ammazulu Palace apart from being an amazing building and Zulu museum has an indigenous garden and a stunning view over the Kloof Gorge. It will cost you R50, which includes coffee and biscuits - this money goes to the owner Peter Amm's charity.


Present: Sue Akerman, Helga Beaumont, Rosalie Dace, Jeanette Gilks, Leonie Malherbe, Santie McIntosh, Sue Physick, Jean Powell, Odette Tolksdorf, Kim Tedder, Sheila Walwyn, Carolyn Zelenka.

Apologies: Lynette Douglas, Ute Gilles, Mariss Stevens, Jenny Hearn, Liebet Shrand, Karen Arbeter, Karen Wentworth, Kathy Harmer Fox, Celia de Villiers, Judy Breytenbach, Jutta Faulds, Margie Garratt, Gillian Gerhardt, Margie Letts, Linda Jones and Dana Biddle.

Odette Tolksdorf chaired the meeting. She welcomed everyone and in particular the members from other provinces - Kim Tedder from Johannesburg, Sheila Walwyn and Santie McIntosh from Cape Town.

A big thank you to Santie McIntosh for hosting the AGM at Sewula once again, we were all thrilled to be back there again.

Office Bearers:
A long discussion ensued as to who was going to chair Fibreworks next year. The suggestion was accepted that there would be a 'shadow' for every office bearer so that the 'shadow' person could easily take over the position if necessary. . It was also suggested that office bearers hold their position for at least two years in order to maintain continuity. These points will be included in the Guidelines and raised again at the 2011 AGM. It was agreed that it was important to share the load of running Fibreworks and that team work is essential.

Odette accepted the position as Chairman for one more year, and Caroline Zelenka is vice chair - taking over in 2011. This would give continuity to the office running Fibreworks, thereby ensuring continuity.

Margaret Ruxton is Treasurer once again and Helga Beaumont Secretary. Since Sue Stevenson has resigned, Jeanette has agreed to be the Archivist. Dana Biddle will continue as Editor. It was stressed how important it is to have the secretary at a meeting to take minutes for Dana to write the newsletters. Dana will be "shadowing" Helga.

Dana would need information for the 2011 newsletters by the following dates:
28 February, 31 May, 31 July and 30 September.
Members are to be reminded that it is their duty to get news to Dana by these dates so she can compile the quarterly newsletters.

It was agreed that there are still some points that need to be raised, discussed and possibly altered in our Constitution and Guidelines. The changes discussed will be made to these two documents and they will be discussed, again, at the 2011 AGM.

Membership criteria:
Members suggested that the Membership criteria to be changed to a submission of only 10 pieces and no more than 10. Two or three actual art works are to be sent and 10 art works as photographs or on a CD or DVD.

Margaret Ruxton's report with balance sheet was read out by Helga as Margaret could not be present. If any members would like a copy, please contact Margaret or Helga.

Web Site:
Members are urged to read their own pages and to update them. The information must be with Helga by end May so she can update the web site once a year.
Helga to investigate getting someone else to run the web site as she and Rod would like to hand it over to someone else.
Carolyn Zelenka mentioned that the Midlands Meander has a new person doing their website and she could approach them.

Sheila Walwyn gave her report back on the Fibreworks exhibition at ArtB in July. (see below) Jeanette read Jo-Anne Duggan's opening address (see below).

Sheila will see if she can get back Leonie's questionnaire about the success of the exhibition from the gallery. As there was a change over to a new curator, it seems not likely.

There was much discussion as to why our works did not sell well; whether the pricing was too high or too low, whether the bad economic climate had anything to do with it, or the works not liked enough. We need to do more about marketing. The four works that did sell were small works. Odette and Rosalie felt that Fibreworks' work was of a high standard, and that the lack of sales was not a reflection on the quality. The overseas market was also depressed, although they were selling - but they do have a much bigger market than what we have here.
Santie read out some of the comments from the Visitors' book at the ArtB Gallery in Bellville - "verstommend", "puik", "briljant"!.

It was agreed that lamppost advertising posters should be in bold colours that could be seen in the street.

Odette thanked Sheila for all the hard work that she did for the exhibition. With Margie's accident, Sheila had to step up and she did. Well done, Sheila. Also a big thank you for delivering works back to so many Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal members.

There is a CD available of the exhibition. If anyone wants a copy the cost will be R25, paid into the Fibreworks account. Add R10 if you want the CD posted. Please let Helga know by 15 November so it can be available for the Christmas meeting.

Kim Tedder suggested we look at the University of Johannesburg as they have 2 beautiful galleries. Kim is moving to Cape Town so she could not be involved in approaching the galleries.

Jean Powell suggested an exhibition on Kimonos, and everyone was very enthusiastic. Sheila Walwyn suggested it as a satellite exhibition of the SAQG National exhibition in Stellenbosch next year in July. Work has to be with Sheila in CT by 31 May. We also discussed the possibility of showing the work at Artisan in Durban. Read more on this later.

Margie Garratt is getting better all the time. Much delight was expressed at the meeting and we all wish her the speediest of recovery.

Kim T felt more members from other provinces should make the effort to attend the AGM as not only are important issues discussed, but it is a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with other members.

Carolyn Z is opening a gallery on the Midlands Meander in Rosetta at Easter 2011. She has been accepted as a "Living Artist" on the Meander, and offered her gallery for meetings, possibly the next AGM as well. She wants to promote textile arts.

Odette suggested exhibiting work in the UK at The Festival of Quilts or/and The Knitting and Stitching Show.

The meeting was ended.

Art B at the Bellville Library in CAPE TOWN 14 JULY - 4 AUGUST 2010

Fibreworks VI combined with ceramic artist Joy Savage and glass artist Ingrid de Haast, and invitational weaver, Norma Ordman, under the joint exhibition title of 'Voyages of Discovery'.
It was decided to use the Art.b gallery in Bellville which is a wonderful venue from the point of view of space and lighting. They don't charge the exhibitor a fee, but take a 30% commission on sales.
On the downside, being a gallery with municipal sponsorship and municipal employees who do not appear to be particularly clued up on art matters, I felt that there was never anyone on duty who had a particular interest in talking to visitors and being able to engage with them about the works on display. Especially with fibre art, there is a constant need to inform and educate the public - perhaps a walkabout would have been a good idea but I didn't get the feeling that there would have been much of a response.
Perhaps the more central Cape Town area would have been better, but I don't know if there are any galleries who would be willing to take on textile art. But we need to ask.

Surprisingly the gallery doesn't have an email list and only works with a postal list of about 300. We had to provide the invitations, they supplied envelopes and we had to pay for the postage.

300 stamps at R2.40 each R720.00

The invitations were designed by Odette and Amanda Helga's daughter, and Margie Garratt very kindly donated the paper and printing costs for the invitations. Her p.a. Nicky Lloyd supervised the process which was very time consuming because of the complexity and colour of the design.
All the Fibreworks members were encouraged to contribute to an email list compiled by Nicky and sent to Helga. This list should be constantly added to in order to broaden our public exposure. Perhaps members could be reminded in the newsletters to let Helga have any additional addresses.

The gallery made contact with the daily newspapers, as well as the local community papers, one of which featured two of Odette's pieces in colour on the front page which was great. Art.b also did an interview with a local Afrikaans radio station. It was Fibreworks' responsibility to contact magazines, which Odette did. I saw a paragraph in Garden and Home with a photo of Sally Scott's 'Nyimba'.
We decided to display 100 A2 posters, 50 in the Claremont area of the southern suburbs and 50 in the Bellville area, and we employed someone to obtain the required stickers and municipal permission and physically hang the posters.

100 Posters at R30 each plus vat R3420.00
Distribution of posters at R9 each R900.00
Municipal charges at R5 each, R2 of which returnable deposit R500.00

The poster colours were black and white with blue, and Odette and I agreed that the blue colour was not effective - it tended to get lost amongst the sky and trees. I think bright red/orange/yellow would probably have been better. The Cape Town municipality sets very strict parameters with regard to size and style of font used and they insisted on a mock-up first for approval. The printers kindly donated a photocopy for this purpose, but some unnecessary running around can be avoided if we are aware of these little headaches in advance. It would be worth asking for their guidelines in advance of the designing process.
Posters are a costly, but I think necessary, part of budgeting for an exhibition, and it's quite difficult to know how many are needed. My feeling is that more were needed, but concentrated in the area closer to the venue. One also needs to ensure that the person hanging them doesn't place them too high up - some of ours were at giraffe-level with others below them. Lost.

Collection of art works
On the whole, the collection and storage of art works went well, even if some items had me staggering a bit with 2m long boxes! I kept a careful record of whether stuff arrived by post office or courier, in what packaging it arrived and what specific hanging instructions there were and ensured that it was stored carefully behind closed doors and flat on a bed if necessary.(Roy Starke doesn't need to know that my cat had a little snuggle on the back of his quilt when the door was not properly closed one morning). I did find it an enormous responsibility to look after peoples' treasured art works - I've had a burst water pipe spoil one of my quilts before.

I'm hugely indebted to Liebet Shrand, Gina Niederhumer and Astrid McLeod (ex-pa of Margie's) for helping me with the hanging of the exhibition. We gelled very well in our thinking of what should go where and I was very happy with the overall look of the display.
I know some galleries prefer to do the hanging themselves, but in this case I think we had more expertise than was available from the gallery, and they were obviously more than pleased for us to handle the job. We did the bulk of the job in one day and I spent another afternoon 'tweaking' and labelling.

Coffees and lunches for hanging team R157.00
Hardware for additional laths R34.04

The typing out of the labels was another very time-consuming job kindly done by Nicky. She and I did a good deal of cross-over proofreading, but some errors still occurred. For instance, Norma Ordman's name was incorrectly spelt and, as luck would have it, she and her husband were there on opening night. Check, check and re-check. One should try to get the labels done well in advance, we left it a bit late.

Lamination of labels R82.35

The gallery suggested we cater for between 100 and 150 for the opening function. In fact we had in the region of 85 attending, which wasn't too bad considering that it was cold and rainy. Consequently there was a certain degree of wastage. I think one should always err on the conservative side and too bad if the food runs out. People shouldn't expect to have a free supper. The caterer provided a good spread of interesting foods, but we could perhaps have kept it simpler and less expensive.
Joy Savage arranged for a dozen bottles of Kleine Zalze wine to be donated, 6 red and 6 white, and we used another 4 red and 6 white, plus fruit juice.

Catering by I. V-S. Catering and supplies, affiliated to the gallery R2500.00
Wine and juice R369.64

Four works were sold
'Gateway Ghana II' by Sue Physick
'Soft Bling II' by Margaret Ruxton
Two of 'Four Quartets' by Gillian Gerhardt

Takedown and return
I did takedown by myself with some assistance from the gallery staff and Lubi Koorts spent the following morning helping me parcel up work. Fortunately Mike and I were planning a trip to Durban and then home via East London and Grahams town, so we could return the majority of the artworks by car.

Return via post office, paid for by Fibreworks R265.65
Return via courier, to be reclaimed by Fibreworks from members
Tolksdorf R158.00
Tedder R165.00
Starke R150.00

Thank you Sheila for a concise report back on the exhibition.


Somewhere in our parliament hangs an ancient Chinese map. It's unusual because apart from a clearly identifiable image of the African continent, it includes a finely drawn giraffe - an animal not usually associated with China. So, what's the story behind this?

In fourteen hundred and something Chinese explorers set off on a voyage of discovery. They went beyond the boundaries of the known world, taking with them precious goods: finely woven silk, printed cotton, ceramics, gold, silver, copper and perfumes to present as gifts or exchange for exotic products with the people they encountered in hitherto unknown territories.

Reaching the east coast of Africa the Chinese encountered amazing animals eg. lions, golden spotted leopards, strange camel-like birds or ostriches. Most exciting of all was the giraffe, which, despite its pair of horns, they likened to the fabled unicorn, an animal associated with an age of exceptional peace and prosperity, and surely a suitable gift, and a fitting omen for their emperor they thought. Indeed, when the giraffe was presented, together with a celestial horse, which we call a zebra, and a celestial stag, which we know as a gemsbok, the court officials bowed low in awe before these divine creatures and congratulated the explorers on their extraordinary finds.

Explorers, as they criss-crossed the world, until just about every corner had been mapped and named, created journals that told the story of their voyages. They drew maps to chart their way home again, recorded the landmarks and the wondrous sights they saw, not just so that they would remember them, but also so that they would have something to show the people back home.

Just like the artists whose works we see here tonight.

And, while the explorers of old set off into uncharted territory, going off the map, so to speak, to the areas where later map makers noted critically 'here be dragons,' the artists whose work we see here tonight tell us of other kinds of voyages.

So, let's think a bit about voyages of discovery.

Some voyages take us across the world, to far off continents and place where we find combinations of colours, textures, shapes, smells, sounds and tastes that gives each place a unique character and make it different from the place we call home - lookout for Gateway into Ghana on this exhibition.

Some voyages take us into the complicated sea of people, where we find friends or make enemies; explore what we have in common with others or negotiate difference. See if you can spot This too, and other works which deal with interpersonal relationships on these walls.

Some voyages take us deep into our own hearts, minds and souls, where we may, if we are lucky, find serenity as we come to terms with the paths our lives have taken, or battle the most dangerous dragons of all; those that keep us awake in the small hours of the night. As I walked through this exhibition earlier today I wondered what experiences had resulted in works such as, Life or Joy or Go with Flow or Quest on display here tonight.

Some voyages take us back in time, to a real or imagined past, or forward to an idyllic future - keep your eyes open for Towards Infinity

For all the artists whose work is on exhibition tonight, the voyage quite clearly involved a creative journey, an exploration of shapes, forms and colours and processes through which they've captured an image of the world, or expressed their thoughts, feelings or dreams - and which takes them to places they've never been before.

Not everyone can be a voyager or an artist. Both require a degree of courage and stamina, an appetite for risk, a bountiful imagination, a highly developed sense of curiosity and the confidence to venture forth boldly into unseen territory. And, it helps if you have the right people to accompany you on your travels too as these artists well know.

Fibreworks VI is the product of a group of people who have voyaged together for over a decade giving each other the support, encouragement and inspiration to break new ground: sewing, quilting, weaving, embroidering and shaping the records of their personal journeys, their dreams, aspirations and rich imaginings for us to see.

And the making of each work must have been a wonderful voyage of discovery too as each artist mapped their route, chose their vehicle and set off in search of something new.

Look too at the way in which Joy Savage has shaped, marked, stamped and coloured clay to create vessels that capture the spirit of the physical world, the shifting tectonic plates beneath our feet, the shapes and patterns that characterize the cultural production of the continents.

And Ingrid de Haast's glass works which mark a new milestone in a creative career that has spanned a number of different materials and processes and give full reign to an indomitable spirit of exploration.

For me though, and I must admit to being biased, because Jeanette is one of the people I have known for most of my life, the altered book Keeping in Touch, - a compilation of work by 60 individual artists and four community groups -epitomizes the finest voyage of discovery; moving from the known to the unknown, from the past to the present, it's a process and a record but it's even more than that and as the new world must have been to our Chinese explorers, it's an object of wonder, contemplation and inspiration and I like the way in which its companion piece, Documenting Keeping in Touch mirrors the explorers journals too.

Maybe one day someone will come across this book and, wondering as I did about the giraffe on the Chines map, discover the story of the artists who came together in this time and place, bringing the fruits of their journeys together for our delight.

It is my pleasure to declare this exhibition open. Enjoy!

Exhibition 2011:

Kimono exhibition:

It was decided at the AGM at Sewula that we would work towards a 2011 exhibition with 'Kimonos' as a theme.

Two exhibition venues have already been earmarked; first, the National Quilt Festival in Cape Town in July, where 'Kimonos' will be a satellite exhibition alongside the competition quilts, and then the Artisan gallery in Durban in September.

The scope is broad in terms of fibre used, and the format can be anything from a wall hanging to a more three-dimensional or wearable art item. You might like to consider the African aspect or the 'Alive with Colour' festival theme as possible inspirations, but the ethos of the kimono should be at the core of your thinking. More information on kimonos in the next newsletter. Carolyn Zelenka has a pattern if anyone wants it.

Sheila Walwyn needs the work by 31 May. Contact or 021-6835497 with queries.

Call for Entries

1. VI International Biennial of Textile Art - Mexico 2011
World Textile Art Organization
May 16 - 31, 2011

See previous newsletter for more information.

2. Fantastic Fibers 2011

Based in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - Online submission Deadline is February 15th at midnight, and all accepted entries will be announced through the website by February 21st.

3. SA National Quilt Festival 2011

The Good Hope Quilters' Guild
invites you to the 16th South African National Quilt Festival
to be held at the Bloemhof Girls' School in Stellenbosch
from the 1 - 7 July, 2011.

Visit the web site on for more details.

4. Festival of Quilts 2011 - Birmingham NEC UK

The competition entries form a huge part of the Festival of Quilts and attract around 1,000 entries. How can you run a quilt festival without quilts?!
In 2010, we received entries from all over the globe including the Bahamas, Brunei and the Falkland Islands! So get on to the web site and check it out!



1. The South African National Quilt Festival - see above for details.

2. Festival of Quilts 2011 - Birmingham NEC, UK,
the leading quilt show in Europe

Dates for 2011: 11th to 14th August

The Festival of Quilts (organised with the support of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles) has earned a reputation over the past eight years as the largest, most inspiring quilting event in Europe - with good reason! The Festival of Quilts boasts a host of gallery exhibitions from leading international artists and groups; the list for 2011 will be announced in February/March.
Over 250 companies will be selling all those hard-to-find patchwork and quilting supplies, so bring your shopping bags! We also offer The Quilt Academy with a stunning programme of nearly 100 master classes, workshops and lectures, and the Quick & Easy workshops provide another 100 plus sessions aimed at beginners. The full schedule should be available in February/March 2011.

3. 11th Southern Hemisphere Felting Convergence Bunbury 2011
Felt Convergence Bunbury

Interesting websites/information:

1. Youtube - search for safashion showroom KiCo - Cornelia Robinson's art work features in it.

3. Message from Carolyn Zelenka:

" Dear Fibreworkers,
I live on top of a hill, on a small farm in the beautiful Natal Midlands. I was recently invited to join the Midlands Meander Association as a "Living Artist" showing my studio and dye house to the public. I have already had a number of people viewing my work, which has given me the opportunity to discuss fibre art with them. The next step is to build a gallery devoted to the fibre arts, which I hope to be ready by next Easter 2011. The gallery, named Silk Tree Hill, will be aimed to showcase the fibre arts and will be available to Fibreworks' artists to exhibit their work all year round. As far as I know it will be the only fibre arts gallery in Southern Africa so its very exciting. I will keep you all posted as the building work progresses. Should you wish to connect me, my new email address is "

That's all for now! If you have any news for our next newsletter please send it to We would like to particularly focus on the achievements of members.

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