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Newsletter November 2007

Dear ALL

Dates to diarise

  • November 12 Beadex Proposal Deadline. More on this later
  • Friday 7 December, Christmas Lunch at Helga's. More on this later.
  • July Sometime thereafter 2008 Fibreworks V. Venue to be confirmed.

  • Next Meeting: 7 December, Christmas Lunch at Helga's - 11 for 11.30 am.

    A short meeting followed by a Christmas lunch. Helga is away from 26 November so RSVP before then if you can, and tell her what you would like to bring.

  • Retreat at Sewula Lodge 11 - 16 October 2007.

  • Thank you once again, Santie and Graham, for the generosity of Sewula Lodge, its water-full gorge, thatched cottages and wonderful walks with friends, wild-life, histories and memory. There are so many layers of time embedded there amongst the rocks, trees and ragged paths. These retreats have become a legend for many of us. It was special to share with Cape members - Sheila Walwyn, Sally Scott and Margs Garratt. Thanks to everyone who made the time to be there and the effort to prepare slides-shows, papier-mache demos, breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

  • AGM Meeting at Sewula Lodge

  • Members present: Sue Stevenson, Sally Scott, Margie Garratt, Jeanette Gilks, Rosalie Dace, Sue Physick, Sue Akerman, Jean Powell, Judy Breytenbach, Santie McIntosh, Helga Beaumont, Margaret Ruxton, Sheila Walwyn, Jenny Hearn, Jutta Faulds

    Apologies: Odette Tolksdorf, Annette McMaster, Carolyn Zelenka, Leonie Malherbe. Kerry Langdon, Linda Jones, Ute Gilles, Margaret Letts, Kim Tedder, Dana Biddle, Carolyn Code, Karen Arbeter, Sue Funston.

Here is a report back on discussions at our AGM at the Sewula Lodge plus a sprinkling of other information:


Sue Stevenson is keeping the archives for us. One of the jobs she has undertaken has been to file an ADDITIONAL set of newsletters. (I have one set). As I have written all the Fibreworks newsletters since the inception of the group in 1997, I consequently have a full compliment of the correspondence that has gone out to members over the years.

The newsletters have recorded all the important events, dates and correspondence and we now have a pretty good history of our thinking and what we have done. Some of the Fibreworks documents pertaining to the group's membership procedure, assessment of work and so on have undergone some evolutionary changes. For example, the latest Document of Intent that was amended in June this year now states that prospective members will have their work assessed by the whole Fibreworks group every October, at our AGM. We all agreed to this at the 2005 AGM. (Interestingly, the part of the Document of Intent pertaining to our biennial national show and what Fibreworks members do regionally has not altered in ten years!)

I have passed along a wealth of information to Sue, so please feel free to contact her if you are keen to find more information on Fibreworks past or you have information/photo's for her. She is doing a great job of cross-referencing information for us. Thank you, Sue! My hope is that the Fibreworks newsletters keep us all informed; so please read them and digest them THOROUGHLY before you choose to delete or forget them. Better still, keep them.

CV's. We need TWO CV's from people: A detailed, long one for Sue Stevenson and a VERY SHORT one for the file that we exhibit at our National shows. This file has been available at various national exhibitions in the past and has proved popular with the public. They are very keen to read a SHORT PARAGRAPH on each one of us so keep THIS information brief.


There was some discussion at Sewula regarding the when and where of national exhibitions. The decision was taken to stick to the Document of Intent and for members to exhibit nationally every two years. Fibreworks TEN was an extraordinary exhibition showcasing our artworks to celebrate ten years of existence.

Fibreworks V National exhibition 2008

We do not have a venue at this stage. We decided that we would try a themed show this time: MARK IN (G) TIME for our national exhibition. There are a million ways of interpreting this title. See what you can do…

  1. National exhibitions. In order to streamline operations/spread the load and speed up the AGM meeting, I divided up the tasks that need to be done during any national show and made them various peoples' responsibilities. These are laid out below. They will provide the working documents that will be used in compiling our Contract of Agreement (between Fibreworks exhibitors and the gallery). I have spoken about this document before in previous newsletters and it is STILL in draft form, but discussing the responsibilities of different parties at the AGM this year was one way of getting YOUR input on various issues. Thanks. I intend the document to be fair to all concerned and democratic. I will keep you posted on its development. If you feel that something important has been omitted form the information below, please let Helga know.

    Artists' Responsibilities:

    - Submission of information by the DUE DATE. This is specified in the 'Dates to Diarise' part of the newsletters. This includes
    - Your updated CV and any personal press cuttings to Sue Stevenson, if applicable. Remember Sue can only archive what she has been given by you.
    - Your shortened updated CV to Fibreworks exhibitions co-coordinator, if applicable. This will be placed in the Fibreworks File that accompanies any national show.
    - Completed ENTRY FORM to the Fibreworks exhibitions coordinator/curator. Helga and I have tried to include EVERYTHING that we need to know about you and your work on ONE FORM. It is printed at the end of the newsletter:

    You are also responsible for submitting the actual work by the due date.

    Here is how we have defined your work as a Hang Ready:

    - Professionally packed. This packaging could be used when the work is returned to you
    - Work signed and dated. Front or back
    - A appropriate hanging mechanism that works with no fuss
    - Clear instructions regarding the hanging mechanisms/display

    NB if the work /paperwork is late, the Fibreworks coordinator/curator reserves the right to exclude it from the show.

    Fibreworks coordinator/curator responsibilities:

    - liaising with Fibreworks treasurer and Fibreworks publicity officers, local and national
    - liaising with the gallery curator
    - signing of Contract of Agreement Form with gallery curator
    - submission of Artists' Participation and Insurance Form/Sold works Form to gallery for their office use
    - submission of participating artists list to gallery for display in the gallery
    - submission of whole exhibition's mission statement as well as individual artists' mission statements for display in the gallery
    - supplying the Visitors Book if need be. Email addresses NB. This book is an important contact list
    - supplying an updated Fibreworks File of participating artists to the gallery. This contains BRIEF and COLOURFUL and up to date information on Fibreworks individuals and the group, including website info. Again, this file is only as good as the information it receives form the artists themselves.

    Gallery curator's responsibilities: (The curator could be the Fibreworks coordinator).

    - liaising with the Fibreworks coordinator. Signing of the Contract of Agreement.
    - liaising with press and local Fibreworks publicity officer
    - hanging the art work and lighting the gallery appropriately
    - displaying the individual artists' mission statements next to their work
    - displaying overall exhibition's mission statement next to list of participating artists
    - displaying the Fibreworks File for the public
    - filling in the Sold Work Form
    - depositing any monies into the Fibreworks account within three weeks of the exhibition knockdown

    Fibreworks local publicity officer's responsibilities

    - liaising with Danna Biddle who is happy to be the national publicity coordinator. She needs information 3 MONTHS before the show for it to be published in any magazines e.g. art southafrica
    - designing the email invitation
    - emailing the invite to everyone on the members list, the complimentary members list and everyone else in the local area about two weeks before the opening of the show
    - writing the national exhibition's overall rationale and sending it to the local press. You need to give them times and dates, together with some GOOD images of peoples work. (400 kb is fine). Artists in their studio make good images too. Images do NOT have to be of the works on the show. Similar work is fine. If YOU are the publicity person, send YOUR work. If you don't send images, the press is unlikely to respond.
    - liaising with the national press such as the Mail and Guardian. Again you will need to send good images.
    - liaising with the gallery curator after the show on its success and failures. Distinguish between fact and opinion.
    - report back Fibreworks coordinator

  2. Travelling Exhibitions It was decided that we would not have a travelling show next year. When they resume, however, it was decided that buyers would take possession of their bought work at the end of the exhibition at that particular venue. Artists would be paid at the same time. Exhibiting artists would therefore have to have additional artworks available for the remaining tour. The catalogue would not necessarily feature all the works on show.

  3. Regional Exhibitions Regional Fibreworks shows are responsible for their own expenses i.e. the hiring of venues, costs of opening nights etc. Members' subs - R150 - go towards covering the costs of national exhibitions and national travelling shows. Regional shows give the individual, local participants greater status: one is part of a group of ten, perhaps, as opposed to a possible group of fifty. Regional shows may also be seen as less daunting than national shows. Regional shows promote independence and cohesion amongst members within the provinces and are good opportunities to spread the word about Fibreworks. If anything should emerge from a regional show that would benefit Fibreworks as a whole or be of particular interest to the group (such as one of your pieces of work being bought for the permanent collection of the MOMA in New York or the Tate Modern in London ), please report back and I will print it in the newsletter!


The web site has been updated! Please check your page and let Helga know if there is anything incorrect. Quite a few pages are incomplete and Helga asked at the AGM for artists' support in filling in the required information. It makes is much easier if YOU supply Helga with the information she requires. She does not want to chase you!

Every page has the same format - a photograph of the artwork with
Description - no more than 150 words


We all welcome Rukaiya Essa and Ingrid Piprek to Fibreworks! Thanks for your interest and clearly felt enthusiasm in the submission of your work. We look forward to your new voices.

Membership is still R150 per year, payable before April 2008. PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you put your name on the deposit slip. Margaret Ruxton cannot guess who you are!

If you would like a copy or the standardized letter we send out to successful applicants, please get into touch with Helga. Unsuccessful applicants get a carefully phrased letter composed from the distillation of comments made at the AGM. Parts of this letter too, follow a standardized format. The standardized parts of this letter too are available on request.

Please find attached an updated membership list AND the complimentary membership list for your records. If there is anyone who you think should be on the complimentary list please let Helga know. These people automatically receive information about us. A complimentary member does not pay subs, but they do not exhibit either. If they choose to exhibit with us, they are eligible for subs. I think this is fair.

We continue to update our mailing lists. Thanks to Visitors Books at our various exhibitions and the work of Theresa, Margie Garratt's right-hand-woman at Nova Constantia, we are beginning to build a comprehensive 'Friends of Fibreworks' email address list. PLEASE forward the email addresses of interested parties to Theresa. Remember to let Theresa know WHERE the person lives. We envisage an address list that will be grouped according to geographic areas and if/when there is Fibreworks exhibition in that area, the people there will get invitations.

In the recent past, people interested in joining Fibreworks were sent FOUR forms together with a covering letter:

- Submission requirements for prospective members
- Fibreworks Document of Intent
- A short, updated history of Fibreworks
- Latest newsletter

It was decided at the AGM that in future we will send them an ADDITIONAL paragraph on the nature of 'fibre' to clear up misconceptions and somewhat limited understandings of the term. It appears that a number of people have a fairly narrow definition of 'fibreart': fibreart equals quilts and/or art quilts i.e. SEWN stuff! Of course fibre artworks DO include quilts and/or art quilts that are sewn, but NOT exclusively so. We want to entice and hopefully catch the paper-mache artists, the collagers, the 3D workers in found (natural) fibres, etc. Rosalie Dace has offered to write the paragraph and it will be printed in the December newsletter. I look forward to a broad definition of the 'fibre' term.


Margaret Ruxton, treasurer, told us that our bank balance is positive. This is nice to know, considering that we still have Major Minors II catalogues to sell. Please continue to sell them at any opportunity that arises. The slow but inexorable dribble of this money into our account is a constant reminder that the catalogue route was a worthy route to take.


Jeanette Gilks - chairman-, Helga Beaumont - secretary- and Margaret Ruxton - treasurer- were all unanimously re-elected.


There was some discussion on the pricing of work and whether our artworks are too expensive. Not many works sold during the exhibitions this year. No consensus was reached and pricing of artworks remains a personal matter. The professional presentation of slides was also discussed. Artists must ensure that ALL slides of their work are finely focused and that the slides avoid busy inappropriate backgrounds.

Below is a proposal that Jeanette Bartlett has put together for Beadex 2008. She compiled this information after a meeting with Helga, Margaret Ruxton and me. (I include her preamble, to put you in the picture). I am SURE some of you who enjoy working with beads in your work will find this exciting. If you are interested, but feel that some of the points in this proposal need to be modified/clarified, CONTACT JEANETTE ASAP. Look carefully at the conditions of entry. She is keen to hear your opinion before she submits the final proposal to Beadex. Her contact details are at the END of the document.

"I have become an enthusiastic bead artist and in May this year I entered a few of my beaded art jewellery pieces into the 2007 Beadex Competition and Exhibition which was held at the Sandton ICC. I befriended the organisers and in further stimulating discussions with the senior co-ordinator, a proposal came from them to introduce a quilt leg as in a quilt art category, embellished with beads, and whether such an addition could become a regular and permanent feature at future "Beadex" Bead Art Exhibitions.

"To this end, I have been asked to investigate whether such a possibility could be realised and on what basis it could be executed.

"The idea is that a special "Beaded Quilt Category" would be included at the annual "Beadex Exhibition" to be held at the Sandton ICC. This Event is organised and funded by Thebe Exhibitions and Events. Also look at "

Proposal to Beadex

1 Fibreworks comprises a multi-racial group of fibre artists, mostly women, living all over South Africa. In some cases ex-South Africans now reside overseas.

2 Basis of Artwork Entry:

The artist enters the artwork and pays an entry fee of R…..…..(suggestion :R100), with the option to sell the artwork. If so, the participant states an asking price,
Beadex adds a % commission - plus vat if applicable -
and undertakes to carry the courier and insurance costs of the artwork back to the maker or buyer after the exhibition if the work is not sold, or to the buyer.
The artwork must be couriered to the exhibiting venue (Beadex address in Sandton) at the maker's expense.

3 Conditions re the artwork and exhibition:

The Beadex Exhibition & Events Co-ordinator's condition (rule) at this point is that the entry must be embellished with Beads.

3.1 Definition of a "Bead" :
An object - any size - with a hole in it, made of glass, metal, acryl, bone,
wood, clay, paper machè, washers from the toolbox, or other hand made 'beads'

3.2 To what % must the surface of the fibre artwork be embellished with beads
described in 3.1?
Is 'at least 5%' acceptable?

3.3 To what extent must the artwork be embellished with 'conventional beads'
Is 'at least 5%'acceptable?

To re-cap: At least 10% of the surface - or hanging from the surface - of the
artwork must be embellished with any kind of 'bead' ?

3.4 Format of the artwork
The medium for the artwork is a 'free choice of fabrics or fibre' and can be
exhibited in the format of a wall mounted hanging, three dimensional art work,
free standing or suspended from the ceiling, wearable - and not so wearable art.

3.5 The artwork must be submitted as a 'ready for hanging' entry with clear
exhibiting instructions. Beadex will stage the exhibits.

4. In the Case of a Competition Category, questions put to Beadex are:

4.1 If judges are nominated, will it be acceptable to Beadex that a list of names
are provided by Fibreworks from which Beadex can select? or
4.2 No competition and judging at all ?
4.3 It is understood that Beadex will be responsible for the remuneration of the
judges ?
4.4 If prizes are awarded, what are we looking at? Monetary prizes are a strong
incentive for participants.

5 Teaching Workshops and Marketing Stalls - many Fibreworks artists are esteemed
teachers and can be invited to teach or offer demonstrations.

Conditions: The workshop must include beads in the embellishments

Thank you for your time.
Jeanette Bartlett
031 73 61328
083 7970007

Lots of Love. See you all at the Christmas party.

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