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Newsletter October 2011

Dear ALL

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Kathy Knox from Bedford in the Eastern Cape who is now a Fibreworks member.

  • Dates to Diarize
  • 3rd November -- Deadline for extra work for the Sandton Gallery exhibition to be sent to Jenny Hearn 011 783 8321. Read more later.
  • 11 - 25th November 2011 - Kimono Exhibition at Sandton Gallery
  • 12th January 2012 - closing date for entries for an Australian travelling exhibition
  • 28th February 2012 - closing date for Major Minors IV, see page 5.
  • 10 March 2012 - Submit good images of your best art work for the Fibreworks Promotional CD to Helga at More info in the December newsletter.
  • March 2012 Wakkerstroom Natural Fibre Fair
  • 25th - 28th April - West Coast Fibre Festival - Lamberts Bay, for more info contact Lana Odendaal tel.: 027 432 1769
  • 1 May 2012 - closing date for IQCA Challenge
  • May - Website information submission to Helga
  • 29 June - 3 July Quilt Indaba in Durban with a quilt exhibition entitled "Recycle, Revamp & Rework." More info next year.
  • July 2012 - Quilting in Clarens
  • 27 - 29th July - International Quilt Convention - Africa -
  • October/November 2012 Fibreworks VII Exhibition- to be advised once venue confirmed.

The next meeting will be the last meeting of the year. It will be held on:
Friday 18 Nov. 2011 9.30 for 10 am, at Sue Akerman's house: 30 Valbridge Rd; Pietermaritzburg; Tel. 0333 473 236

  • Minutes of Fibreworks AGM held at Helga's house on 1st October 2011.

Present: Sue Akerman, Helga Beaumont, Margaret Ruxton, Dana Biddle, Jeanette Gilks, Leonie Malherbe, Jenny Hearn, Jean Powell, Odette Tolksdorf, Carolyn Zelenka, Judy Breytenbach, Jutta Faulds and Annette McMaster.

Apologies: Rosalie Dace, Mariss Stevens, Liebet Shrand, Karen Arbeter, Margie Gough, Karen Wentworth, Kathy Harmer Fox, Celia de Villiers, Margie Garratt, Gillian Gerhardt, Margie Letts, Kim Tedder, Sheila Walwyn, Colleen Harris, Sally Scott, Santie McIntosh, Linda Jones and Fiona Kirkwood.

Odette Tolksdorf chaired the meeting. She welcomed everyone and in particular the members from other provinces - Dana Biddle and Jenny Hearn from Johannesburg. She also thanked Helga for having the meeting at her house.

2 Constitution:
Odette read out the few minor changes to the Fibreworks Constitution and Guidelines, and members at the meeting unanimously voted them in.
(If anyone would like a copy of the Fibreworks Constitution and Guidelines, please contact Helga.)

Annette McMaster brought up the matter of defining lapsed and non-exhibiting members. After much discussion, it was decided to shift this topic to the guide lines instead of keeping it in the Constitution. This will need further discussion at the AGM next year.

3 Office Bearers:
Carolyn Zelenka said that she was no longer eligible to chair Fibreworks due to ill health. Odette accepted the position of Chairman for one more year as Jeanette Gilks offered to help run the meetings. This was gratefully accepted. Margaret Ruxton is Treasurer once again, Helga Beaumont is Secretary, Jeanette Gilks is the Archivist and Dana Biddle will continue as Editor.
Odette thanked all the office bearers for the time and effort they have given to Fibreworks.

4 Newsletters:
Members are to be reminded that it is their duty to get news to Dana, the Newsletter Editor, to contribute to the quarterly newsletters.

5 Finance:
Margaret Ruxton's report with balance sheet was read out by Margaret. There is money in the bank and we will be using some of this for our exhibition next year in Gauteng. Any member wishing to see the balance sheets, please contact Margaret Ruxton.

6 Web Site:
Members are urged to read their own pages and to update them. At the moment only new members are doing that. New and updated information must be with Helga by end May so she can update the web site once a year.

Members are urged to watch out for scams - 3 people that we are aware of, have had a certain person trying to buy their work, and have been asked to send money to cover the money transfer. This is a scam so be aware. Remember a fool and his/her money are soon parted!

Members who have their own web sites are urged to make backup copies as some members' sites have been hacked.

Some members have questioned the value of having a web site, and we discussed this. For the committee it is certainly a time saver as requests from aspiring members and other interested parties are referred to the web site. It also adds credibility and gravitas to Fibreworks, and is used to advertise Fibreworks to galleries for upcoming exhibitions. In addition, members can refer people to the website to view their work.
SA Tourism contacted Helga through the Fibreworks website and they now have an article on their website about our Fibreworks group and about fibre arts in general.

7 Exhibitions:
Highlights of the excellent report-back sent by Sheila Walwyn on the Fibreworks Kimono exhibition at the Stellenbosch National Quilt Festival in July were read out. The report is also in this newsletter. Odette thanked Sheila for all the hard work that she did for the exhibition. The exhibition moved to Artisan in Durban and it was agreed that it looked very good in this venue. After successfully completing its run at Artisan, Jenny Hearn is taking the Kimonos on to the Sandton Gallery to be exhibited from 11 - 25 November.

Dana Biddle has space for a Fibreworks Major Minors IV exhibition at the IQC Africa in July 2012. A catalogue will also be launched - Jutta and Dana will get prices and quotes from printers. Deadline for work is end February 2012, with a 150 words mission statement. The size will again be 25 x 25cm. More information to follow, including information regarding teaching at the IQC, see the web site.

Jenny Hearn is investigating a venue for the Fibreworks VII exhibition in Gauteng for 2012. She will let us know when details are finalized.

Fibreworks needs a promotional CD for art galleries and art museums and Odette and Helga have offered to coordinate this. Members will be asked to send their best works, and about 20 will be selected to represent Fibreworks.

ArtSpace in Durban has asked us to consider exhibiting there next year. Once dates for Gauteng are finalized we can look at dates at Artspace.

8 General:
Annette McMaster and Sue Physick are exhibiting at the Tatham art gallery in Pietermartizburg. "About FACE" is a portrait exhibition by a group of artists On Friday 7 Oct.

Jean Powell thanked the committee for their hard work under the chairmanship of Odette.

Jeanette Gilks was given an honorary Fibreworks Award for her exceptional service and dedication to Fibreworks. Kathy Harmer Fox embroidered the centre of the Award and words that had been collected from the members were added around the centre. Here are a few words from Jeanette:

' Thank you all very much for this Award - I was taken completely by surprise! Quite delighted…'

Jeanette Gilks Award
Jeanette Gilks Award

The meeting ended at 12.45 pm.

After lunch the panel then assessed the work and documents submitted by 5 prospective new members. After much discussion, one new member was selected. Afterwards there was a discussion regarding the process and effectiveness of the panel selection. Since members not on the panel agreed with the decision of the panel, it was decided to repeat having a panel of 5 selectors next year.

Here is Sheila's report back on the Kimono Exhibition:


At the 2010 AGM the suggestion was made that we work towards a 2011 exhibition with kimonos as a theme and a title of 'Kimonos Unlimited' was chosen.
As the curator of the 2011 National Quilt Festival exhibition I was already exploring some options of satellite exhibitions, and immediately put forward a request that the Fibreworks exhibition be shown at the festival in Stellenbosch in July.

Entries were submitted by the following members:-
Elaine Barnard, Helga Beaumont, Lynette Douglas, Jeanette Gilks, Margee Gough,
Kathryn Harmer Fox, Jenny Hearn, Linda Jones, Gina Niederhumer (This work didn't go up to Durban as Gina wasn't keen for it to travel), Margaret Ruxton, Mariss Stevens and Karen Wentworth

Sheila Walwyn, Odette Tolksdorf, Dana Biddle and Carolyn Zelenka did not submit work in time for Stellenbosch, but did so for Durban.

I was very grateful to have helping hands, in the form of Helga Beaumont, Dana Biddle and Jane Zietsman to help hang the Fibreworks exhibits. With 300 competition quilts plus about 100 satellite exhibits, I had my hands very full.

As regards the exhibition space at Bloemhof School in Stellenbosch, I obviously had to give priority to all the festival competition quilts, and fit the satellite exhibitions around them as best I could; there was a time, in the course of the designing of the stand layouts, that I thought I wouldn't be able to accommodate any of the satellites.

So I appreciate that Fibreworks wasn't seen to best advantage at the back of a very large hall. I would have preferred to make a statement about the exhibition by hanging it completely separately in a featured booth as is the case at the huge Birmingham quilt festival, but this wasn't feasible in terms of costs and space. But there was nevertheless considerable interest and some enquiries about how to become a member.
The majority of viewers at a national quilt festival are themselves quilters and their friends and families, who are not generally in the market to buy textile work, and very few quilters put prices on their work. So we were not reaching the desired market of people who regularly attend art galleries with a view to enjoying and buying art works.
One item was sold, Margaret Ruxton's framed 'Fashion Pressure' for R1200.
Sadly, some of Jeanette's pieces, her little altered Major Minors catalogues, were taken. Thankfully they have all subsequently been retrieved, in response to a plea put out by Dana Biddle in the Stitches magazine, and through e-mails and her blog.

But this incident does raise the question of security and the choice of venue. I must confess that it never occurred to me that an artwork might be stolen, but these little pieces were very easy to pocket. We had teams of 'white glove' ladies on duty at festival but they couldn't possibly keep an eye on everything. Obviously there is far better vigilance in an art gallery but the curator needs to be aware that small items are vulnerable and should be displayed in a prominent place.

Perhaps we also need to check with all the members whether they prefer a nominated theme for the annual exhibition, or the freedom to work on whatever their current passion might be. I got the feeling that perhaps we didn't get as positive a response to this year's exhibition opportunity as we would have liked'

Sheila Walwyn
1 October 2011

Kimono Unlimited also had a successful run at the Artisan Gallery where both Jenny Hearn and Helga Beaumont sold a work.

  • Achievements:

Transcode Collaborative Piece

Celia de Villiers and Intuthuko Embroiderers

The collaborative piece created for TRANSCODE reveals the negotiation and dialogue between the traditional medium of stitching and the animations made for The Journey to Freedom Narratives. Intuthuko contributed the majority of the embroideries to the first Journey to Freedom Project, which won a FNB Vita Crafts Gold Award in 2004. The project consisted of two quilts and animated embroideries compiled in DVD format, which depict the struggle for freedom and reconciliation in South Africa.

The current collaboration engages with the theme of the labyrinth and knot. These are metaphors of rhythmic movement, continuous annulment and reconstruction. The stitch moves from the centre to the periphery and back, following the path of hand and heart. In a similar way, narrative construction is often circular instead of linear and can be likened to an intersected map. Experiencing a labyrinth brings about a loss of overall vision. Journeying through it simultaneously contains fear and the pleasure of acute use of the imagination in order to move towards a rational path and the rediscovery of a certain measure of order.
The stitched anecdotes and characters in the artwork branch out and intersect forming an interdisciplinary cartographical structure depicting our recent South African history, iconography, disorientation and eventual mediated knowledge.

  • From our members:
It was with sadness and regret that I read the letter from Fiberarts magazine (USA, Interweave Publishers) that the Summer 2011 issue was the last issue as it was no longer going to be published because "the support for Fiberarts has not been strong enough over the past several years to continue keeping it in circulation". Wow, I was shocked - I had no idea that there was not enough support for such a good magazine! Are there any other worthwhile magazines out there that have in-depth articles and all kinds of information about textile and fibre art around the world? - Odette Tolksdorf

  • Interesting Articles

This is recommended in my photography course on portraits. I thought you would be interested in this article on about your colour preferences and what it reveals about your personality. There's a free colour test and the results are really amazing. The link for the page is

  • Call for Entries
  • Kimono Unlimited Exhibition Sandton Gallery -
  • The gallery is huge and so there will be space for more work if anyone would like to send some. This does not have to be Kimono- related and must be with Jenny by 3 November 2011. Contact Jenny at, or phone her on 011 783 8321.
  • Woodstock Art Reef Project WARP, an environmental awareness platform in Cape Town, is crocheting a coral reef art installation. ALL welcome to participate.
  • IQCA Quilt Challenge - for Submission rules and guidelines, please visit
  • IQCA - request workshop submissions from our local teachers. More details of this, plus a downloadable application form are on the home page of our website.
  • Interesting websites
See the gorgeous stuff on the bokja web site, a small Beirut based Lebanese company

  • Quotes

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Steve Jobs

That's all for now! If you have any news for our next newsletter, please send it to we would love to hear from you!
Love Dana

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