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Newsletter December 2006

Dear ALL

Dates to diarise:

    Dear ALL

    Dates to diarise:

    NB There are THREE important exhibitions indicated here, TWO of them that OVERLAP in April 2007. The Fibreworks IV exhibition (or parts of it) is being exhibited in Pretoria, the Margate Fibreworks exhibition in the Margate Art Museum, KwaZulu-Natal south coast, and the TEN exhibition in Nova Constantia Cellars, Constantia, Cape Town. Please PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE DIFFERENT SUBMISSION DATES.

    The good news is that YOU DO NOT have to produce ANY NEW WORK for the Margate show or the Pretoria show. In Margate we will be exhibiting Major Minors II together with available Fibreworks IV work AND any other work we feel needs more exposure. So relax, if you felt a heart attack coming on! However, you WILL be expected to produce NEW work/s for the TEN exhibition in the Cape. It's now mid December so you have just over THREE MONTHS to produce something spectacular for the Constantia show. So get cracking with a proverbial GOOD DOLLOP of Christmas spirit…

  • 2 February Fibreworks meeting. 10:30 for 11 am. Sue Greenberg to speak to us. More on this later
  • 12 February Submission deadline for African Window. More on this later.
  • 19 February - 19 March Fibreworks IV at the African Window in Pretoria.
  • 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
  • 20 March Tuesday. Fibreworks IV plus other work couriered from Pretoria to Durban.
  • 20 March. Deadline for submitting the TITLES OF WORK that you intend to send to the Margate Fibreworks exhibition. Helga and I will be collating the paperwork. This will include Fibreworks IV. More on this exhibition later.
  • 23 March. Submission deadline of THE ACTUAL WORK for Margate Fibreworks exhibition. All work to be delivered to Odette Tolksdorf.
  • 24 March. Margate Fibreworks artwork collected from Odette Tolksdorf in Durban by The Margate Art Museum courier for Margate Fibreworks exhibition
  • 30 March Submission date for FibreworksTEN artworks. Deliver work to Sheila Walwyn at 3 Marne Ave, Claremont, 7708. More on this later
  • 3 April. Opening of Margate Fibreworks exhibition at Margate Art Museum - no official opening.
  • 7 April opening of TEN exhibition at Nova Constantia Cellars - Easter weekend!
  • April Cape Town workshops Rosalie/Jeanette/Odette
  • 28 April FibreworksTEN closes at Nova Constantia.
  • 29 April 'From Pulp to Fiction' closes at Tatham Art Gallery
  • 30 April Monday. Knockdown of TEN exhibition
  • 1st Tuesday May TEN work returned/ collected
  • 24 March - 2 May 2007 XCape. This extravaganza was discussed in the last newsletter.
  • 31 May Knockdown Margate Fibreworks exhibition
  • 1 / 2 June Margate Fibreworks artworks returned to Odette Tolksdorf in Durban

  • Next Meeting: 2 February 10:00 for 10:30am. Jeanette's home.
    Sue Greenberg, curator and owner of a successful commercial art gallery in Durban, will be giving us a talk on, 'Exhibiting the professional way: the How's and the What's, the Do's and the Don't's, seen from the perspective of the curator'. PLEASE make every effort to attend this important meeting and have some questions to ask. I'm sure Sue will confirm many things we already know - so I hope there will be lots of heads nodding - but there is ALWAYS an opportunity to learn something new, to be further informed.

    Meeting on 1st December. Although this was MOSTLY a Christmas Party, we did make some important decisions that will be incorporated into this newsletter.

    Members present: Carolyn Zelenka, Helga Beaumont, Odette Tolksdorf, Jeanette Gilks, Sue Akerman, Judy Breytenbach, Annette McMaster, Sue Physick, Jutta Faulds, Jean Powell, Margaret Ruxton, Kerry Landon, Sue Funston.

    Apologies: Santie MacIntosh, Margie Garratt, Rosalie Dace, Dana Biddle, Linda Jones and Jenny Hearn.

    Achievements of Members:

  • Jutta Faulds
  • I hoped to print Juliette Leeb du Toit's paper on Jutta in this newsletter, but have not received it from Juliette who is still busy with a few amendments to the document. Will keep you posted. Franci Cronje's opening address will also accompany this paper.

  • Roy Starke

  • Roy was the guest speaker at this year's Fine Art Embroidery Guild of South Africa. The title of his lecture, 'Contemporary embroidery and the artist's vision' was enthusiastically received by some 200 people in attendance. I will publish excerpts of his lecture in the next newsletter.

  • Annette MacMaster entered a Bernina competition and won!
  • Competition : The challenge was to design an A-5 size embroidered design using the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator). Designs were to be judged and selected pieces submitted to a panel of jurors.

    Result : The first prize of a Bernina Aurora (valued at R16 000,00) was won by Annette McMaster for her piece "Woman in Repose".

  • Jeanette Gilks
  • 'in my skin ' has been bought by the Empangeni Art Gallery

      Was that another year that just went zooming by? I barely had time to acknowledge 2006 before it was gone. It was a very busy year with two trips to the US. Once again I spent time traveling and teaching, looking and learning. May and June saw me traveling to the eastern US for 5 weeks and after a short break back home I went back to America in September and October for 6 weeks in the west. Sharing all the excitement and information would take far too long so I will give you short highlights

      Trip 1: May- June 2006

      I took several works from Major Minors to Quilting Arts magazine in Stow, Massachusetts. The editor Patricia Bolton was delighted and featured those works and an interview with me in the Fall issue. It was wonderful to have all our work so well received and appreciated.

      My slide lecture on contemporary South African textile and fibre work is always well-received, with huge interest being shown in the work wherever I went. Of course I take every opportunity I can to show and talk about South African work. It is pleasing that there are an increasing number of followers of both individual South African artists and the work in general.

      It was a privilege to teach for the second time at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus Ohio. This is a highly regarded conference that offers a range of classes and lectures in exciting cutting edge work. Not only are the students from around the world highly motivated, but it is always exhilarating to meet teachers from the faculty. This year they included Nancy Crow, Michael James, Judy James, Susan Shie, and Barbara Webster all of whom have strong bodies of work. My room mate was Barbara Webster who, like Michael James is making fascinating use of digital photography and printing with fibre reactive dyes, not printing inks. I will be back teaching at QSDS in 2007 with a requested exciting new design class. It is called Promises and Possibilities: Design in Action.

      Exhibitions are always a really important part of my traveling. This trip was no exception, including the QSDS Faculty Show, and an exciting exhibition of Extreme Textiles which featured the latest textile technology in medical, aeronautical and architectural textiles. Right next door was a wonderful exhibition of William Kentridge's work. On returning from the exhibition viewing, a significant number of my students chose the Kentridge show as their favourite, which was yet another example of how much good South African work is appreciated.

      A real high point was basket [r]evolution, an exhibition of contemporary basket making shown at one of my favorite art museums, the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. I thought I knew what a basket was, but I was blown away by seeing the innovative materials and forms today's basket makers are using to reinvent the medium. The idea of baskets and vessels as a non-functional art form saw a variety of work in surprising materials. Still clear in my mind are exquisite vessels made of paper, resin, wire, electroplated foil, pistachio shells, beads, tape measures, pencils, dollar bills and matches (called Money to Burn). My favourites were an astounding vessel made of hog skin and dried fish, complete with head, tail and fins, and one made of dried grapefruit peels! Check the website of this excellent museum at

      Halston Gallery showing a rich-coloured and textured selection of glass from various artists including the exciting work of Dale Chihuly.

      Surprise finds were delightful Northampton, Massachusetts where I found shops and galleries carrying fine crafts. Among these was the Michelson Gallery that shows original Dr Seuss paintings and sculptures, and the work of some of my favourite children's book illustrators such as Tomie de Paola and Maurice Sendak. What a delight.
      Group workshops and slide presentations took me to several venues in the east, namely East Walpole and Amherst in Massachusetts, Ithaca and Rochester, New York.

      Best Dressed Person? In all my traveling no one has equaled the man who joined the flight in Dakar. Even at 2am he was a stunning example of African elegance and style in his acid yellow head-to-foot outfit in African damask with soft leather shoes to match exactly. African textiles rock!

      Trip 2: September - October 2006
      Again I found myself airborne, this time to the American west for six weeks. I was based in Sandpoint, Idaho with the amazing Marty Bowne who drove me all over the west. We actually drove 3800 miles, which was more than when we drove across the entire United States in 2001! This time, other than talking about every subject under the sun, I was able to revel in the dramatic landscapes and continue one of my strange pastimes, photographing old falling down barns. What incredible skeletons those old structures have! What positives and negatives, what tension and texture in the lines, what history!

      The main purpose of this trip was to attend the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California where I taught workshops, presented a slide lecture on contemporary South African work, and exhibited 10 of my works in an exhibit I called Southern Voice. All were very well received. Trying to take 10 works from here (plus class materials plus a few clothes for 6 weeks) was quite a problem but I managed to borrow back a number I had previously sold in America, and reduce my clothes to 5 garments!

      This festival is the largest after Houston and is attended by thousands of people looking, buying, learning and talking. I will be back there teaching next year. I was delighted when Margie Letts turned up to say hullo.

      My room mate was Gloria Loughman, known to many South African quilters. It was absolutely wonderful to share with someone else from the southern hemisphere who drank real tea, wanted the windows open and the TV off!

      Among the satellite exhibitions were numerous quilts from the World Quilt and Textile competition. It was interesting to see work from unusual places like Italy, Spain and the Nordic countries. Sadly this year the South African showing was a bit disappointing. Please please send work for this event to Odette Tolksdorf next year. She is the local representative and will give you details on how to enter. Prize money is good.

      Teaching also took me to Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Spokane (Washington) and Kalispell (Montana). Again it was good to meet up with old friends and students and meet new people.

      In Portland I had a real treat in visiting Powell's Books, supposedly the biggest bookstore in the US. Room after room of books was an almost excruciating pleasure! This is a must for book worms!

      Two days driving along part of the Columbia River to go from Portland to Sandpoint enabled Marty and I to indulge in another common interest, that of investigating the geology of the area. The western United States is extremely rich in diverse geological structures and shows fascinating remnants of its 20 million years of violent volcanic eruptions, lava and mud flows, glaciation and the raging Great Missoula Flood.

      In contrast, mile after mile of gently rolling hills covered in undulating lines of golden-ochre stubble after the harvest had me feeling as if I was driving through a Kuba cloth. In the evening the gold of the hills seemed to magically vibrate with the blue sky. This area, called The Palouse, is named after "buffalo grass" in one of the Native American languages and is Washington State's main wheat growing region.

      Staying and teaching in Kalispell, Montana was a real treat. My hostess rides a Harley,(so we went to a Harley-Davidson dinner on our first night there), drives a flat-bed truck, wields a mean chainsaw, runs a successful quilt shop business and manages to make really nice quilts! What an amazing woman! Her home has to have a bear- proof fence and she can no longer feed the birds as the bears would come right up onto the deck! The view of the snow-covered mountains from her deck was beautiful enough to almost be a cliché.

      The mountains, rivers and lakes of Montana and Idaho, especially in the fall, are truly exquisite. Could it be that I feel a piece of fibre work coming on?

      A real highlight of this trip was seeing and feeling a piece of the earth's mantle thrown up in one of the earth's tumultuous upheavals. An experience that was utterly breath-taking.

      Finally, I am home paying attention to husband, hearth and home and catching up with all those people I miss so much while I'm traveling. I also have a chance now to digest and assimilate all that information and the ideas that flooded over me as I traveled trailing bulging suitcases and strands of thread. To do this crazy amount of traveling, I know absolutely that I have to be passionate about what I do, I am happy to be here and that traveling is not for sissies.

      Thanks Rosalie - what wonderful experiences! Thank you for sharing.

  • Fibreworks Contract

  • We all agreed that it was now time for Fibreworks to have a Contract of Agreement with galleries in which we exhibit our work. This agreement, signed by both a Fibreworks and the Gallery representative, will ensure that ALL parties are clear about their duties and responsibilities. I am constructing the Contract so as to obviate the seemingly endless and often boring administrative tasks that coordinating any successful exhibition involves, thereby giving us MORE TIME TO WORK ON OUR WORK. Everyone I speak to that has been involved in orchestrating exhibitions has felt the WEIGHT of the administration involved and I'm sure that this document will streamline channels of communication. I want to thank Sue Greenberg - who runs her successful Bayside Gallery in Durban - for her modifications to the document I put to her. She sees the document from a gallery's perspective. Good. Incidentally, Sue is the one who got me thinking about a Contract because she tells me that some galleries are not wholly trustworthy. Good grief! We cannot afford to be naive. Thanks also to Margie Garratt's input, who, as usual, is ALWAYS there to help when something needs to be done. The document still needs some tweaking, but you will all see it shortly.

  • Fibreworks web site:
  • and

    Thanks to all of you who took the time to email/ telephone with your compliments regarding the website. Complaints with the website that have to be sorted out are to be expected. Compliments are not expected so they come with great delight. Thank you.

  • Subs and exhibition hanging fees

  • Please note that the SUBS HAVE BEEN INCREASED TO R150 per annum. This WAS printed in the last newsletter! Some people have been depositing only R100 for 2007 Subscriptions. I am sure some of you WILL feel morally inclined to rectify the problem, especially in this good season of Cheerfulness.

    We have also decided that we need to charge a hanging fee for every exhibition. MEMBERS WILL NOW BE REQUIRED TO PAY R100 FOR EVERY EXHIBITION, irrespective of the number of works submitted. If some of you are starting to think this is a bit hectic, consider the following:

    We need to make Fibreworks pay its way. The catalogues brought in money which has helped with running expenses these last few years. With three exhibitions planned for next year, however, we need more income to cover costs. Some of these costs include: gallery costs, courier costs, opening night costs, and of course there are ALWAYS hidden costs in the hanging of any exhibition that are OVER AND ABOVE the exhibition venue costs. In addition there is also the cost of the annual web site hosting fee.

    Many of us spend HOURS OF TIME coordinating the running and well being of the WHOLE group. We do enjoy this but no one is paid to do the job! As we are ALL responsible for the financial costs of member's shows, asking you for a hanging fee is not unreasonable.

    Remember too that Fibreworks does NOT take commission on works that are sold.

  • Major Minors II:

  • The exhibition will be exhibited at the Margate Art Museum April/ May 2006 and will then be dismantled. New owners will get their purchases, and you will get your work back.

  • Fibreworks IV: African Window Pretoria
  • Curator: Christo Rabie
    Contact no: Jenny Hearn 011 783 8321

    Jenny has the CD on Fibreworks IV ready. Contact her to purchase it at R100, payable to Jenny.

    Thanks to Jenny Hearn the show in Pretoria is on track! Jenny has requested that more work be sent to her by the 12th March if it is available. The African Window is a big gallery. This refers particularly to those who sold work at Ustairs@Bamboo.

    She will oversee the transportation and hanging of the Fibreworks IV at the gallery. Please contact Jenny if you have any queries.

    Jenny will be doing the walkabouts during the exhibition. She has asked that you send her more information on your work - in particular the story behind the work, and the techniques used. The public are always interested to know how our art works are constructed.

    She is also handling the advertising for the exhibition. She needs e-mail addresses - more on this later.

    At the end of the exhibition Jenny and her team will pack up the exhibition and send it by courier to Odette for the Margate exhibition. Thanks Jenny for all the hard work on our behalf.

  • Margate Art Museum:

  • Our meeting on the 29th November with Craig Huey, the curator, was very fruitful. Six of us went down. The gallery is big and light and square and we all broke into wide, bright smiles as we viewed the Jabulisa exhibition there. Marvellous! Here are the gallery facts:

    The gallery will hang the work
    Work need not be for sale. If it is, the gallery will mark up the work by 20%. Bear this in mind when you price your work. We will be supplying the gallery with a ARTIST'S ASKING PRICE
    The work will be insured whilst exhibited in the gallery and also for the trips to and from Durban. Works NFS will be insured for the Artist's Asking Price
    The work does not have to be virgin work, so if you have some excellent work that's a little older, consider sending it along
    Craig Huey will be jurying the work AFTER it is collected from Odette's on the Saturday 24 March. Any work not selected will be stored at the gallery till the end of the exhibition and will be returned with the rest of the exhibition. It will be safe
    Major Minors II will feature in this show and it will NOT be juried.
    The gallery will send out invitations at no cost to us. As they snail mail invitations we will be giving them some MM I coloured postcards to add a bit of colour to their flyer-type invites. They have an extensive list.
    We will send the gallery the postal addresses of our invitations list so they can send the invites off on our behalf. No cost to us. If you have people on the KZN south coast that need an invite, let me or Helga know.
    We will send them Fibreworks information for the press
    There will not be an official opening
    April is a good time for tourists and loads of children from the local schools pay regular visits to the gallery
    This exhibition venue will cost us NOTHING. Good. The hanging fees we receive from all of you who participate in this show will help to subsidise the venue in Pretoria - R3650 and Nova Constantia, R3000!

  • Fibreworks TEN

  • After sending out the last newsletter Sheila Walwyn contacted me right away and is keen to help with the running of the TEN exhibition. So did Margs Garratt. Who are the Fibreworks members who live in the more southerly regions of the Western Cape? Contact Sheila and Margs and find out how you can help. Let's make this exhibition a Real Cracker…

    Sheila Walwyn's contact details: 021 683 5497 cell: 082 887 8266.
    Margs Garratt 021 794 4667.

    Sheila will collect the work and then transport it to Nova Constantia where it will be stored. Please make sure that ALL art works are hand ready and that there are instructions if the work is complicated to display. She is happy to 'coerce' some of her quilting friends on her committee to help with the hanging! Good!

    Sheila is making all kinds of enquiries and will keep me posted on events. Margie Garratt is happy to conduct walkabouts provided she has knowledge of the work.

  • e-mail address list:

  • We are putting together an email address list and we would like to get it up and running promptly. It will grow and grow and grow… Please e-mail Theresa email the emails of ANY people you feel ought to get invites to our exhibitions. We want to make this database COMPREHENVIVE as possible. Theresa is ALREADY busy with this job - thanks to Margs Garratt. Think about overseas people/ galleries too. Let's spread the net far and wide! We can always eliminate names/institutions later. Put your thinking caps on NOW, UNDERNEATH the Father Christmas cap…

    Please indicate WHERE the people live as we may sort the addresses into the provinces. Also indicate who is a VIP. This is important as they will get ALL our invitations irrespective of where they live. Think of people in educational institutions as well as the rich and famous! Think of corporate organizations too. All will help.

  • Trans Cape / X-Cape exhibition. Cape Town:
  • website:

    Odette Tolksdorf has her head buried in this portfolio and will shortly be coming up for air! Thanks Rosalie for your text input. Odette and Helga have put together a presentation that is both visually and verbally stimulating. We will inform you of the success of the proposal in the next newsletter.

    It's never too late to thank people. Thanks to all who MAKE THE TIME to help Fibreworks in ways that they can.

    Love you lots, Jeanette

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