Sunday, June 15, 2014


The name STRANDLOPER is an Afrikaans word meaning "beach walker". It is a term for San-derived people who lived by hunting and gathering along the sea shores of Southern Africa from prehistoric times until the second millennium AD. The term has been extended to refer to present day beach combers.

While we were on holiday in the eastern cape we came across many middens. One of them was particularly old and high. It formed a bank covered with grass but a landslide had ripped the bank open to reveal  layer upon layer of shells at eye level. I did a little research and came across this post about Strandloper middens.

"... these piles of shells are often thousands of years old, and represent the last signs left by the Strandloper people, who belonged to the larger communities of either San or the Khoikhoi.... "

"The women would find some place in the dunes that was protected from the wind, and transform it into the family kitchen. They would shuck the shells and often prepare the food here as well. Pottery shards found at the midden sites indicate items of Stone Age crockery." - Chris Marais

After our holiday  I was inspired to carve a Strandloper to remind me of the blissful days spent gathering pebbles and driftwood on wild beaches.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Having been inspired by Billy Collins and an artist who loves hats I couldn't resist blogging  about the two of them. The artist is John Caple. 

I'm captivated by his mysterious paintings. There's a stillness about them that appeals to me.

Mary Miers wrote a charming article about him here. She interviewed him in his sitting room, darkened by half-pulled curtains and lit by candles. This and the fact that he paints at night in the lamplight made me think of the Billy Collins poem about Goya who fashioned a hat with candles around the brim to wear when painting at night.

Photo from the 1999 film Goya en Burdeos

CANDLE HAT by Billy Collins

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work at night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
he laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in," he would say, "I was painting myself",
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.

Oh my hat  ~ An expression of extreme emotion, used by those who retain the presence of mind to avoid causing offence by saying "Oh my God".    -   Urban Dictionary

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I'm pleased to announce that my work can now be found at a beautiful gallery in the Uk.

The present exhibition @
Fillingdon Farm, Piddington, High Wicombe

opened on 31st May
and continues through to
28th June

The 300 year old beamed barn provides a modern yet historical setting for paintings and ceramics, whilst the sculptures look striking against the backdrop of the rolling Chiltern Hills of Buckinghamshire.

Meet Debs Digby, charming owner of Fillingdon Fine Art. I was lucky enough to meet Debs this year during her annual visit to Africa.  She breezed in to our home like a breath of fresh air and by the time she breezed out again I was totally under her spell. Debs takes great pride in personally meeting all the artists to discuss their art and what inspires them.  
Click for website here