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STITCHES & CLAY (article first published : 1999-11-22)

Stitches and Clay is a “must-see” exhibition featuring fine embroideries and the work of no less than 20 of South Africa’s top ceramic artists that opens at the Bayside Gallery at the BAT Centre at 18h00 on December 1. The “stitches” part of the exhibition will pay tribute to the 400 rural women of Letsitele in the Northern Province who comprise the Kaross Workers embroidery project.

Kaross Workers was inspired by artist, Irma van Rooyen who started the project in 1989. The members have employed their natural talent for embroidering their own traditional dress (minceka) onto designs influenced by local Venda and Tsonga sculptors and the motifs painted on the walls of the traditional homes.

“Their fine embroidery is done on 100% cotton fabric, Pingouin and Fiesta’s No 5 crochet cotton is used as the yarn to make a very fine product,” said Bayside Gallery curator, Sue Greenberg. “The “clay” component of this multi-media exhibition will be a showcase of contemporary work with a strong Afrocentric influence. “ Ann Marais will exhibit her smoke-fired and lustred pedestal platters from her African Continent series while Ian Garrett, who won this year’s Association of Potters of Southern Africa national premier award, will be showing his vessels inspired by traditional Zulu rural potters.”

Other exhibitors include Barbara Jackson, Karen Sinovich, Theo Ntuntwana, Bea Jaffray and KZN ceramists Rodney Blumenfeld, Barry Dibb, Martha Zettler and David Walters. “For the first time we are also featuring the work of Nesta Nala – a legend in her own lifetime – and that of three of her daughters who are all highly accomplished potters in their own right,” adds Sue. The exhibition, which will be officially opened by Tony Reilly of the British Council on December 1, runs until December 16.




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