Seek With New Eyes – Session #3: Art, Craft & Design

Our CrackerJack Speakers

ART, CRAFT & DESIGN

Open a window into South Africa’s dynamic creative zone and upcoming talent.
Connect with hand-picked trailblazers whose exciting products are both art and craft.
Hear from designers breaking new ground. Find out about collaborative success stories that inspire.
Hear from captivating dream-weavers about what makes the creative and artistic forces ”unstoppable”.

FÉE HALSTED 

Fée is the heart and the vision behind Ardmore, South Africa’s most successful ceramics studio, where more than 50 artists draw on their Zulu traditions, folklore, history and nature for inspiration. Imaginative, vibrant, and dramatic are just some hallmarks of the objets d’art prized by collectors, galleries and museums throughout the world.

Her book Ardmore – We are because of others, tells the extraordinary story of this famous studio – from its humble beginnings in a poverty-stricken corner of South Africa to its fame as a producer of exceptional and irresistible objets d’art prized by collectors, galleries and museums throughout the world.

It was Fée’s partnership with Bonnie Ntshalintshali that brought their combined talent to the attention of art critics and collectors alike. Their work broke the mould of ceramic conventions. No traditional techniques were used. They developed their style by pure ingenuity, thrift and chance. This culminated in the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1990’s, the first time that an artistic partnership was recognised, and the first local award for a black artist.

Recently Fée was tasked with the incredible job of translating Ardmore’s much sought-after ceramic work into a new visual language – a textile range of silk scarves for Hermès, and ranges of fabric and furniture design, as well as tableware.

Fée continues to nurture and guide every person, oversee every piece, cajole and support every individual whose life is tied into Ardmore.
Set on a remote farm in the rolling hillsides of rural KwaZulu-Natal, it’s where the exquisitely handcrafted and highly detailed figurative works and functional ware are created.

DAX HOLDING 

 

Mungo is a family-owned firm that creates heirloom-quality woven goods.
Ethical trading and integrity underpin its philosophy. Its ethos behind creating sustainable homeware textiles is to use the art of weaving in a contemporary manner to create quality products for people to treasure.

It has deep roots. Founder and master weaver Stuart Holding works alongside a team of over 80 people, his designer daughter Tessa, and son Dax, current MD.
Mungo’s byline is ‘’quality fabric, woven with integrity’’. The Holding family believe strongly that what they create, and how they create it, will filter down to the end-user and help to improve the world we live in.

As a part of their trace-ability objective, they are very particular about sourcing quality natural fibres. Because when people understand where something comes from and how it is made, they value it more, which encourages conscious purchasing decisions.
Walking its talk, Mungo is South Africa’s first textile weaving mill to receive the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.

Dax will share the history behind the name, and how the business embodies the word ‘mungo’ – making something useful from something discarded.
In this case, it was two antique looms destined for the scrapyard before being artfully restored to former glory, that are still going strong in The Mungo Mill.

Into the second generation, the family’s foundational values remain the same – to produce beautifully designed homeware textiles, woven with care for their community and the environment.

STRIJDOM VAN DER MERWE

 

Strijdom is a land artist who has always been taken by the magnificence of the sprawling landscape. He is best known for using whatever materials he can lay his hands on site to create his artwork.

Materials of choice include water, sand, rocks, pebbles, wood, stone, and rocks.
He usually shapes these materials into geometrically attractive art that contrasts and complements the surrounding at the same time.
He reckons that visual recording is always what we are left with, but should remind us of the experience – the journey of making the art.

His work has been featured in many collections and galleries throughout South Africa and around the world.  ccording to Strijdom, Nature is his biggest inspiration.
Creating land art is a process of working with the natural environment/world by using what is found on site and then shaping these elements into geometrical forms until it gradually integrates with the natural environment again.

Unlike other artists who create preconceived art, he says it’s only when you are immersed in nature that ideas and techniques for creating the art take shape in your mind.
So even when creating his work, he recognizes the fragility of beauty and what it means to the big picture. In many of his works, the installation is not permanent but only functional for the duration of a certain event.

He’s exhibited and been commissioned across the globe. He’s a recipient of the Medal of Honour from the South African Academy of Arts and Science, the Prince Claus Grant in Amsterdam, the Jackson Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and nominee for the Daimler Chrysler award for sculpture in Public Spaces.

He co-curated GNAP (Global Nomadic Art Project) in 2015 &2016 in South Korea, as well as the Exhibition of 30 Nature Artists in the World 2015 also in South Korea. And he co-founded the pioneering South African Land Art Biennale

 

 

 

For more on creativity, see Trevyn McGowan in ‘The Big Picture’
& watch ‘Meet The Makers’