Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CDP Trust

The CDP Trust is an NGO that works with refugees, orphaned children and abused women. They have created a programme called Arts For Advocacy where they use art to assist people to tell their stories, as well as create promotional material to create awareness for their plight.

A collection of their work is currently on display at Constitution Hill during the 16 Days Of Activism campaign.

They also teach people skills like fabric dyeing and screenprinting, that can be used to earn a living. They have not only succeeded in promoting healing and building awareness, they have also succeeded in building sustainability for thes people.

Women come to the centre and tell their stories. They feel heard, very often for the first time in their lives. They learn and share, and when they leave they are armed with new skills that they can use to make a living for themselves, so that they can grow out of their past experiences and begin new lives for themselves.

They work with paint, clay, fabric dye, mosaics, collages and other media to share their message with the world.

Pop in at Constitution Hill this week to see this astonishing collection of work.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards

Melanie

0835689150















Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sew Easy







I taught a class at the Sew Easy Head Office on Saturday and had an enormous amount of fun! The students produced such gorgeous T-shirts I just have to show them off. Consider the fact that these are all first attempts...














Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

































Monday, November 1, 2010

Magical Moments



I often work in the most magical places amongst the most magical people and last week was an exceptionally magical time for me. I worked with a small group of ladies who, between them, feed and care for more than 900 needy children in the townships.
Magical Moments is a volunteer-driven organisation that helps small, grass roots NGO's to co-ordinate their work in an effort to grow and thrive. Magical Moments goes into these organisations and and delivers Magical Moments to the children so that they may have some magical experiences of their own to build valuable memories of their childhood.
A Magical Moment can be as simple as eating their first ice cream. I grew up in a "previously advantaged" environment. We had ice cream in the fridge at home all the time. It is hard for me to imagine a life where a child has his first experience of real ice cream at the age of 7 or 8 years old. Imagine how magical it must be to experience that icy sensation for the first time, in an environment where food is scarce, fridges are unknown and very often there is not even a fresh water supply.
On the day that I did training in this particular home, where they feed hundreds of hungry children every day, there was not even water in the taps.
What is most magical to me, is the dedication of the volunteers who run these places. The selfless people who give of themselves to help those who are in dire need, no matter what the personal cost. Those who have the courage to do the job that few have the heart for, the time that others cannot justify.
I salute all of the unsung heros who work at the point of pain within our society. I salute your courage and your heart. I salute your giving nature.
Imagine, if you can, a world where such people are not a small minority, but rather the larger majority. A world where every person feels the responsibility of the group, instead of saying "This is not MY problem. I did not create this challenge so I have no reason to do anything to fix it."
Day by day we can each make the small internal changes necessary that will have sweeping external effects on society. If each one of us does a little more than is necessary, we can share the load and effect massive social change.
Thank you to Magical Moments for giving me a truly magical moment with your group.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Magical Feedback!



Today I received some magical feedback from one of my customers. It is moments like these that make all the work worthwhile...
"Through all the usual duties and extra honey collection, I tried your dye out on cheap items from Pep Stores. And I stood amazed about the deep, vibrant colours!!! This was also a learning experience as I folded one of the T-shirts wrong! I was so excited. I e-mailed my friends all over South Africa with the photos and they are all thrilled.
I first dyed the one dress and T-shirt turquoise and the following day I folded it and dyed it navy. The other dress and T-shirt I folded and dyed with Brights. The 2 little dresses are for my granddaughter and the Brights T-shirt is for her mother, my daughter. Last night when they phoned me after receiving the photos, Samantha (granddaughter, 2 years old) told me "Ouma, bllue! Blue!!"
Thanks for your book that introduced me to your colourful world. It opened amazing doors for me!"
Kathy Du Plessis
I wish I could bottle such magical moments. Thank you to all of YOU who embark on this beautiful journey with me. The experience is amplified by your voices.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brush Images



I recently did an interview with a successful young entrepreneur for a newspaper. Mosa Moketsi of TYT Construction has an awesome business and a very bright future. It did not seem right to write an article about this charismatic young lady, without some amazing pictures to go with it.
Lwazi Hlope of Brush Images Photography was there to help out. He took some really awesome pictures that really captured this vivacious young lady at her best.
Lwazi specialises in protraits and weddings, although he frequently does work for magazines as well. Currently he is working on pictures for a gardening magazine and he says that one day he would really like to take the pictures for a cookery book.
I am VERY impressed with his work and can recommend him to anybody.
Brush Images...making magical moments click.
0725169252
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kids Absolutely LOVE Dyecraft!



Why kids absolutely LOVE dyecraft...
  • They have to dress up in apron and gloves to do it.
  • It gets messy.
  • They see the colour wheel come to life.
  • They work with their hands.
  • It gives them a sense of achievement and self-worth.
  • It is a means of self-expression and uniqueness.
  • They LOVE the Wow Moment.
  • They get to wear what they have made...again and again...and again...
Dyecraft is a kids confidence-builder, and it is FUN!
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

mot selefi by Marle Drotsky



I always get VERY excited when I see what my students get up to.
Last year, Marle Drotsky attended my lino block making class to learn how to do her own print detail on her garments. She is an up-and-coming young fashion designer in Gauteng.
I popped in at SA Fashion Week Pop-Up Shops this weekend and was delighted to see how she has used the knowledge.
I just love her "Bokkie" design, and the way that she has detailed it with a screenprint and felted heart. She has used this on her childrens' wear to embellish tops and hats.
She also printed bows and roses using the technique.
SA Fashion Week is going from strength to strength and this year's Pop-Up Shop concept was a hit that I am sure will be repeated in years to come.
Well done Lucilla Booyse. You are an invaluable resource to the South African Fashion industry. Your event creates an amazing platform for young designers to get exposure to their target markets. I look forward to seeing what new innovation next year will bring?
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Maranatha Bana



Last week I had the most amazing time at Maranatha Bana in Pretoria North. I made rainbow spiral T-shirts with more than 150 kids, ranging from little ones all the way up to teenagers.

Maranatha Bana is a privately funded NGO that supports needy children in the local community through the intervention of a local church. They supply housing, food, education, sports facilities and other activities from which the children benefit.

I had the most amazing time there. The kids were SO excited about the shirts that they made that many of them decided to put them on and wear them when they were still sopping wet out of the rinse. It was quite an experience to hear their excited voices and see them all running around in their new T-shirts on the playground.

Even though I was absolutely exhausted when I got home that evening, I could not fall asleep. My head just kept spinning with all the happy little faces and rainbow bursts of colour from the day's fun activities.

Each time that I work in an NGO like this one, I look around me and realise how lucky I have been to have grown up with both of my parents in a supporting family environment.

Hats off to Maranatha Bana for taking care of these kids. You guys are doing an awesome job!

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards

Melanie

+27835689150


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nedbank Gives Back!



I had an incredible time at Nedbank last week. The Nedbank staff decided to have an event in which they "gave back" to their community.
They donated 100 white T-shirts to the activity. In four short hours, they transformed them with dye into unique clothing items.
Wow Moment after Wow Moment emerged from the dye and by the end of the day I had a pile of hand dyed T-shirts to deliver to Out Of The Box Skills Centre.
The kiddies T-shirts will go to the creche. The little ones will really enjoy getting a new T-shirt that is uniquely theirs.
The adult T-shirts will go via their sewing centre into their shop for sale. The proceeds will then go back into the centre.
This is a great concept for combining corporate social investment with your teambuilding activity and I look forward to doing more events of this kind in the future.
Thank you Nedbank! You guys rock!
Half way through the afternoon I wondered if we would ever finish the large pile of shirts waiting to be dyed. A handful of enthusiastic participants saw the challenge and got stuck in. I am totally impressed. Nedbank staff can certainly deliver on their promises.
I cannot wait to deliver the shirts to Out Of The Box once I have washed them out properly. I will give you feedback afterwards.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shibori



Do a Google search for the word "Shibori" and you will find hundreds of thousands of references to sites with pictures and descriptions of a process that looks very much like the craft that we know in the West as "tie dye".
Although the Hippies adopted it as their own symbol of individuality, the craft is far more ancient and it predates them by centuries. Dyeing cloth with decorative finishes is a national artform in Japan and they have used it there from the beginning of time to embellish their kimonos.
There is an International Shibori Symposium that takes place every year where textile enthusiasts gather to compare notes and marvel at the range of finishes that are possible using these techniques.
It is the art of "shaped resist dyeing" where patterns are formed by excluding dye from certain parts of the cloth by creating pressure between the layers of the cloth and the bindings.
The most beautiful definition that I found in my research called it "Slow Fiber - a thoughtful approach to 'the making of things' - a philosophy that is most plainly explained as 'being bound by an integrity of product'"
You can learn more about this ancient craft on the World Shibori Network on Facebook or at http://shiboriorg.wordpress.com/projects/slow-fiber
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Monday, August 30, 2010

Infinite Potential



One of the ladies who works with my dye, Vera Jonkers, sent me this gorgeous photo this week. She crush dyed the fabric in blues and sea greens before making up this lovely dress for her daughter for her matric dance.
The picture reminded me why I fell in love with the medium in the first place.
Dye and prints can turn a piece of white fabric into ANYTHING that you want it to be. Just think about it...ANYTHING.
Start with a piece of plain white cloth, close your eyes, and dream. Then open them and get to work to make the transformation. It is a truly magical journey.
It is the potential to turn plain white cloth into fashion garments for the catwalk, decor items and soft furnishings for the home, corporate gifts and clothing, props and sets for the theatre...
It also holds the potential to teach children about cause and effect, chemistry, physics, art and their own innate creativity. Adults can find an outlet to express themselves or a way to earn an income from their handwork.
Best of all, it is FUN!
Children and adults enjoy the process. It crosses the line between different age groups, different genders and different races. Cloth is a global language than everybody can speak, regardless of where they have come from, what they have learned or where they are going.
Sometimes, when I speak about cloth to corporate men in suits, they look at me skeptically and say "This has nothing to do with us. Fabric is for women and fashion designers." I ask them the simple question "Would you leave the house in the morning without your clothes?"
"Of course not!" is the defensive response.
Whether you realise it or not, every human being has a much closer association with fabric than they might acknowledge. It is a part of our daily lives. It is part of being human.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Thursday, August 19, 2010

METZ PRESS at HOBBY-X with Contemporary Dyecraft

We launched Contemporary Dyecraft at Hobby-X in March. Meet the authors behind the Metz Press books...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Performing Arts



Performing Arts and Visual Arts are closely linked. What would a theatre production be without the costumes and props, the coloured lighting, the make-up...?
I had the great privelege last weekend to attend Review Minimax at the State Threatre. Review Minimax is the brain-child of Sunet Wagner. She has a passion for the stage and has created this awesome platform where children at all levels can come and showcase their talents on a real stage, with a real audience and a very real production crew made up of some of the finest, most dedicated people in the entertainment industry.
More than 1300 students spilled across the stage in two days to present reviews, drama, dance, singing, comedy and acrobatics. Primary schools and high schools participated. Everybody is welcome. There is an Eistedford segment where the reviews are given advice by a team of Advisors and awarded trophies for the best performances. Then there is the Open Stage where anybody can perform in any way and just have fun. Kids came on for solo performances and others sang and danced in massive groups.
At the end, they all came on stage to do the Dance4Life dance. Dance4Life is a global organisation that is raising awareness about HIV and AIDS through dance interventions with the youth.
Learn more about these amazing organisations at
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hobby-X Feedback



I taught six classes in three days and it was fabulous! The students were SO enthusiastic I could not help but have a wonderful time.
They learned how to print with found objects that they can find around their home and I think that they returned home after the class with new eyes.
I also taught them how to make their own hand carved lino blocks for printing. Although I favour textiles, these stamps can be used to print on paper, card, wood, leather, pvc, candles and many other surfaces.
The ladies enjoyed playing with colour and especially liked printing on the hand dyed base cloth that I supplied.
In between classes I spent my time at the Metz Press stand promoting my book, Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press). It has been available for seven months now and I still enjoy signing copies for my fans.
A big "THANK YOU!" to the Hobby-X organisers for putting together another quality event, and to Owen Calverly from TuCats (Craftwise Magazine) for orchestrating the classes.
To those of you who participated, you rock! And to those of you who did not make it to the event, we hope to see you there next year.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review Minimax



Review Minimax is a performing arts extravaganza!
Sunet Wagner is passionate about the performing arts and she works tirelessly to assist school teachers with training tools that help them to teach students dance and drama at all levels.
Review Minimax is her way of making all of it real on the stage.
During August, primary and high school students will have the opportunity to showcase their talents on this platform at the State Theatre in Pretoria. Children will entertain the audience with singing, dancing and drama and will get the opportunity to perform on the BIG stage for a live audience.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any aspiring performer.
This is not a competition. Review Minimax is an open platform where kids can experience their dreams and receive positive feedback.
I will be one of the Advisors at the Review and I am honored to be part of this amazing event that has the potential to impact positively on childrens' lives.
For more information, contact Sunet at sunet@minimax.org.za
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contemporary Dyecraft



Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press) is selling very well and the feedback that we are getting so far is very positive. Here are some of the comments that we have received...
"I started reading my treasure last night. It is just like being with you in a class. Reading your book has really got my juices going again." Michelle Russell.
"May I say that it was love at first read! Congratulations, I am blown away and very excited." Patsy Hamilton.
"Thank you for your book----it is absolutely awesome! Received it today and honsetly know that it will be hugely inspiring and informative!" Basil and Liz, Square Tomato
If you would like to order your copy online, you have a variety of options. You can read more about it on the publisher's website at www.metzpress.co.za
You can order from:
Leisure Books www.leisurebooks.com
Red Pepper Books www.redpepperbooks.co.za
It is also available in North America from the Canadian Publisher, Firefly Books at www.fireflybooks.com/bookdetail&ean=9781554077298
Order your copy today and join in the fun! The DVD to support the book with more techniques will be available very soon. I will keep you posted as soon as I have stock in hand.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+2735689150

Monday, July 12, 2010

Squidoo - Another Free Resource

As an entrepreneur who started a business on a shoestring budget, I have explored almost every free resource for marketing available to man (and woman).

Squidoo is a fabulous place to begin with online content and a good training ground for those who want to learn the basics of building websites themselves. I have a couple of Squidoo pages that have served me well for some years now.

http://www.squidoo.com/TieDyeFabricsInFashion

This was my first Squidoo page where I wrote my first article about hand dyed fabrics in fashion, from my perspective. I have manufactured hand dyed fabrics for the South African fashion industry for some time and have always believed that the medium belongs to haute couture and not to the hippies, as is popularly believed.

http://www.squidoo.com/TheWowMoment

Every time I open a fresh tie dye, I experience a heart-stopping thrill to see the pattern unfold for the first time. I call it the Wow Moment. After 17 years of working with dye, the experience has not changed. The Wow Moment happens for me every time. Read more about it on this Squidoo page.

http://www.squidoo.com/KidsJustLoveTieDye

Of course, kids love the Wow Moment as well. Tie dye is also a valuable developmental tool for teaching kids. Learn some of the good reasons for teaching kids to tie dye on this Squidoo page.

Squidoo is an amazing resource. It is free, and it has great traction with Google. If you are looking for a place to start building your online presence, I can recommend Squidoo highly.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards

Melanie

+27835689150


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Slipstream On Facebook



Although a website is an essential tool for entrepreneurs, Facebook offers a convenient, free solution for getting your message out there. I also like the fact that it creates an interactive platform for my customers where we can chat and share experiences where a webpage is just a static brochure that shouts about what we do, but nobody can talk back. I prefer two-way communication and find myself working in Facebook far more often these days than on my website.
Facebook offers the opportunity to create a page for your business, much like a website. Take a look at mine at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Johannesburg-South-Africa/Slipstream-Fabric-Finishes/89726683342?ref=ts
I also have a Fan Page where my students get together to talk about what they have made and show off their latest pictures. You will find it at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Brummer-Fan-Club/266623571663?ref=ts
Finally, there is Colour SA, a group that I created for all colour enthusiasts who want to share their colourful experiences. You can find it at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6675658393
I would love to chat with you in one of these interactive places. If you have any colourful stories, experiences or pictures to share, please join us and help us to create a vibey, interesting space for everyone.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Sunday, June 27, 2010

That Dress!



Everybody loves that dress! Whenever I wear it somebody stops me to compliment me on it.

I made it for my book, Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press) and Ivan Naude (http://www.planetivan.com/) took this fabulous picture of it for me.

Do you know that it was dyed using only the three primary colours, yellow, magenta and turquoise? All the other colours that you see on the dress were blended on the cloth during the making. If you would like to make one for yourself, why not order your copy of Contemporary Dyecraft for the technique.

It is available through all the regualr channels, including Leisure Books, Kalahari and Amazon.

The dress was made for me by a talented young designer in Johannesburg called Yoriko Alty. Her label is Wild Fig. You can contact her on +27825652675 to order your designer garments or you can view the Facebook page under Wild Fig Clothing to see her latest collection.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards

Melanie

+27835689150

http://www.dyeandprints.co.za/


Monday, June 21, 2010

Colour Technicians Course



I taught this fabulous group of people this weekend at Oppi Stoep in Lyttleton, Pretoria.
We unpacked colour mixing with dye in great depth to build colour swatch charts that the students can use for their various activities.
The group was made up of clothing manufactureres, fashion designers, school teachers and craft enthusiasts who all wanted to learn how to mix their own colour rainbow.
While the methodology can be rather boring, the personalities in the group certainly were not, and we had a tremendous amount of fun. Just look at their hands! And the big smiles to go with them. It certainly looks as if everybody had fun.
Teaching is an amazing experience for me. I always leave a class feeling as if I have learned more than I have taught, and this class was no exception. This vibrant group of people are all so passionate about what they do, it excites me to think of what they are going to do with the tools that I gave them this past weekend.
Sunet Wagner (http://www.minimax.org.za/) is re-educating teachers in the Visual Arts so that they can teach kids about Dance, Drama, Singing and Crafts. She saw the colour wheel come alive this weekend and is taking her new knowledge to her holiday camp this week.
Bets and Cindy are school teachers and they are going to share their new rainbow experience with kids in their classes at school.
Elsa Young plans to empower rural women with what she learned.
Colleen Jack wants to build a Teambuilding experience that engages all five senses. Hopefully this class will help her with one of the elements that she needs.
Reiniette Katoff makes clothing and plans to use what she learned to batch dye garments and Wilco plans to add a fresh new twist to his underwear collection (Bone Wear).
Hanneke van Linge is re-inventing herself as a craft teacher. She is a serial entrepreneur who is looking for her next business.
Corrie van der Merwe came all the way from Lydenburg to have some fun. She is one of my most enthusiastic students and a gift in my life.
I cannot wait to see the ripples in the world that this weekend's activities are going to set off, and I am grateful to be part of such an amazing process.
Follow the link below to see the rest of the pictures on Facebook.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hobby-X Pretoria


There is a real treat coming up for all craft enthusiasts at the end of July. Hobby-X is coming to Pretoria and www.in2crafts.co.za is presenting an awesome opportunity at the show.


You can sign up to do four 90 minute classes each day during the show. You pay R500 and get all four classes and VIP treatment for one very special price. You get free entrance to the exhibition, a Goodie Bag, lunch, and all the materials for all four classes. There is a wide variety of classes to choose from, from papercraft, to mosaic, to jewellery, to pewter, to textile crafts and more! This is great value for money for a full day of crafting entertainment. Owen (Craftwise Magazine) has invited only the best craft Teechas to teach at this event so that you are assured of a high quality standard throughout.


I will be teaching two classes during the day. You can sign up for Printing With Found Objects in the morning and Lino Block Printing in the afternoon.


Would you like to make your own printed fabrics for quilting and crafting? Do you think that it is an expensive exercise to print your own fabrics? Let me show you how to make an infinite range of options using simple techniques and materials that you can find around your home. Learn to make prints on a shoestring budget.


Would you like to make your own hand carved stamps for printing on fabric and other surfaces? Do you think that it is difficult or expensive? Let me show you how to make your own stamps. It is easy and quick. This direct technique can have you printing in a very short time. These stamps can be used on fabric, card, leather, pvc, wood and many other surfaces.


There are a limited number of seats available and they are filling up fast. Sign up today at

http://tucats.co.za/in2crafts/


If you would like to pop in to talk to me or get your copy of my book signed, I will be in the Metz Press stand in between classes.www.metzpress.co.za
I look forward to seeing you there!
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

UFO's



UFO : Un Finished Object
Every crafter seems to have a few of them scattered around the house.
Human beings are full of ideas. We get caught up in a moment of inspiration and tear off to start a new project. It takes time to finish and we get bored. Then we are struck with a fresh idea and before we know it, the first project is forgotten and we are off at a tangent, making something else.
The worst thing a crafter can do is to actually count the UFO's. The list often gets so long that we become overwhelmed at the task of finishing all of them and we sink into depression at the thought of all the work we have to do to complete them!
The only cure for the growing pile of UFO's is to sit down and systematically tackle them one at a time. You will feel a small flash of victory as you complete each one, and that will fuel your energy to finish the next one.
This leaves you with the question, what does one do with all the fresh ideas that you get as you sit in that zen space working on the UFO's? The answer is simple. Go off and create! Yes, you are just making another UFO, to be added to the growing pile and finished at a later date. The point is, if you do not begin to act on a bright idea it is very often lost completely. We forget so easily.
All great work is created in chaos. Life is chaos, and, much like life, the creative process begins with wonder, then a period of tedium and routine follows, and then it ends with a great deal of satisfaction as you sit back and admire the beautiful thing that you have made of it.
If you are feeling inspired, start something new. If you have no new ideas, go and finish a UFO. Trust the process and have fun.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Never Give Up!

I have been an Entrepreneur for most of my adult life. My businesses have not always been successful, which got me thinking...
When does a business end? Whe does it shut down?
Is it when it is in a financially stretched state the the Entrepreneur cannot get out of? Is it at the point of liquidation? Is it when the business owes a whole lot of money to a whole lot of people?
If those were the criteria, I could have closed my company down many times. There were periods when I could have shut down every month at month end. Many entrepreneurs will beg, borrow, co-erce and convince whoever they need to to pull their business through such times. Those who survive to thrive will find any means to pull their "child" through the difficult times.
This said, when does a business end?
I believe that it happens in a moment, and there is only one cause. It happens in the moment when the Entrepreneur gives up, and says "I cannot do this anymore." The single biggest cause of businesses failing is that people give up.
It is tough. I cannot kid anybody and claim that it is easy to perservere. I do not blame people for giving up.
If you are an Entrepreneur and you want to build a successful business, the best piece of advice I can give you is to never give up. If you never give up, you will surely get there. Don't shut down the dream, look for another way, even if it does not seem that there can be a solution. Look for another way.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Lure Of Tankwa Town



When I went on leave I posted a comment on Facebook about how excited I was to be going to Tankwa. One of my friends responded and asked me to elaborate because on the satellite image there appears to be absolutely nothing there!
While this is true for most of the year (Tankwa is a nature reserve in the middle of the desert in the Karoo), once a year a small section of the area is transformed into a temporary tent city where a growing group of creative people gather to express themselves in whatever manner tickles their fancy.
AfrikaBurn is modelled on the American Burning Man event. Esentially it is a platform for self-expression. Anybody is welcome to attend and free to present any creative work, be it sculpture, performance art, music, dance, yoga, sport, painting, craft, lightshow or other interactive activity. At the heart of the event is a culture of gifting and every participant is encouraged to arrive with something to share with the group. The event offers a level playing field due to its strictly non-commercial nature. Branding, marketing and advertising are not allowed. The focus is not on commercial value, rather on the Arts as a gift to be shared with humanity.
Because of the harsh environmental conditions, it is also an exercise in “radical self-reliance”. You bring everything that you need to survive for the duration of the event, including water, and you take it all away with you again when you leave, including your garbage. The organisers have a strict “Leave No Trace” policy to which you agree when you buy your ticket. Participants are also encouraged to volunteer and many do. Volunteer duties range from meet and greet at the gate, to garbage and toilet clean-up.
The event culminates in a mass burning on the final night where most of the art installations and sculptures are burned to ash to honour nature and time as the great leveller of all human pursuits. By the end of the event there is only the open desert plain with vast skies and breathtaking views of distant mountains, with no trace of the carnival of creative mayhem that played out there for a few short days.
Many people ask me where my inspiration comes from throughout the year. The AfrikaBurn experience is enough to keep the creative juices flowing in abundance for a long time after the dust has settled.
Visit the AfrikaBurn Facebook page to see pictures of the event.
I hope to see you there next year!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thuthuzela Aid Community

There is a wonderful lady in my network who sent me this e-mail this week. Naz uses her spare time to do community work at Thuthuleza. She has spoken so elloquently, that I have decided to quote her verbatim...
"Winter is definitely creeping in....can you feel the chill as you wake up each morning? And it is ohhhhh sooo difficult to get out of my warm cozy bed. Out come the winter warmers, gloves, woolen scarves, woolly jerseys and heaters....yep the chill is here and so is winter guys.
Often when I feel the cold, I think of those who have so much less than I do and I wish I could do something to help them. Well this year guys we ARE doing something....are you going to join us???
We're getting together on the 29 May to do a collection for the children of Thuthuzela Aid Community. Thuthuzela is home to abandoned, abused, neglected & orphaned children. Lizzy cares for approx. 20 to 25 children at a time. They range from 5months to about 10 years. (Approx 10 of the children are babies). They are renting space in a building in Marlboro at the moment. (we're hoping to get another property for them, but this is proving quite a challenge). The home has two bedrooms, a kitchen and an office for the 20 or so children. They are constantly in need of nappies & daily necessities as Lizzy tries to run the home as best she can. Most of the help comes from public donations.
You're all invited to join us o the 29 May. We want to collect toys, books, clothing, baby blankets non- perishable food, nappies...anything you donate to the home will be greatly appreciated. More importantly come spend time with these beautiful, precious children. Lizzy has two new babies, Siphelele & Phumi just 5 months old. Join us in sharing a little warmth this winter. Just a hour or two of your time on the 29 May....my challenge to you...make it there! ( especially those who could not make the December drive ;o).

To All those who are continuously supporting us, SHUKRAN! A huge shukran to Warren, Lindsay & Econo - Heat in CTN who are delivering heaters to the orphanages. You guys ROCK!
Date: 29 May 2010 @ 14H00
Venue: Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre,
No 60 -5th Street, Marlboro, Sandton
RSVP: Naz
"All children are ours! Let’s make a difference!""

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saving The World's Water

When people ask me what my boyfriend does for a living, I am always proud to tell them that he is out saving the world!
My long relationship with dye means that I have used a lot of water over the years, and it became a pre-occupation for me. I am fascinated by it and deeply grateful for its amazing properties. I am constantly looking for better ways to use it in my work.
When I met Anton Louw five years ago, we spent some time exploring each other's fascination with it. We are both submerged in it in our daily lives and work environment. I was amazed a delighted when I learned exactly what it is that he does with it.
He works for a company called Radical Waters (www.radicalwaters.com). He builds machines that are doing away with the use of harmful chemicals like chlorine and caustic soda in industrial cleaning processes. Essentially, they split water into two streams. One stream has a positive electrical charge and the other has a negative electrical charge. It is still basically water. It is just electrically charged. One stream is called Anolyte, the other is called Catholyte.
The amazing thing about this water is that Anolyte completely destroys bacteria. Small single-celled organisms like bacteria hold themselves together with an electrical charge. When they come in contact with Anolyte, they simply disintegrate.
I was a little sceptical that such a simple solution could possibly work. If it is so simple, why is the whole world not using it? Then Anton brought home a drum full of Anolyte for me to try out. Five years later, I cannot imagine a life without Anolyte. I use it for everything.
I clean the toilet and bathroom with it. I clean the kitchen with it. When the cat next door visits to mark his territory, I spray it with a splash of Anolyte and the nasty smell dissipates. I wash my fresh fruit and vegetables with it. I clean wounds with it. My dog once had a nasty deep bite which healed clean in a few short days with regular application. When we go on camping trips to the desert, I wash with it every morning. There is always a spray bottle full of it nearby.
I LOVE Anolyte!
If you would like to learn more about the technology that is changing the world in a positive way, visit their website at www.radicalwaters.com
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
0835689150

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oppi Stoep



How often do you encounter old-fashioned hospitality in our rushed, commercial world?
I was introduced to Oppi Stoep some time back when I went there to teach a course for Minimax (http://www.minimax.org.za/) a few months back. Oppi Stoep is a wedding and conference venue in Centurion, Pretoria. It also serves as a music school and home for the Wiegandt family. Since then, I have returned several times, to teach, to enjoy concerts, to network, and most recently, to shoot an episode of Pasella for SABC2.
I have never ever been there that I have not enjoyed a generous plate of home cooked food. Whatever you need, just say the word and it is laid on for you. There is always a hot urn going with coffee and tea. Next to it is a jug of fresh cool fruit juice if that is your preference.
Johan is a fabulous cook and I return there for his food every chance I get.
I also enjoy the sound of the voices and piano in the background when there is a singing lesson going on in the background. Ina Wiegandt teaches singing to a number of professional and amateur singers and she has a wealth of experience that she shares with a similar generosity.
They truly have a way of making a person feel at home. This is proven by the fact that their busy bed and breakfast is regularly fully booked with people who return again and again to their environment.
The garden is beautiful, with pool, footbridge, green lawns and shady corners where you can sit and relax when you need to get away from the bustle of the world. They take their name from the large, covered stoep where they do most of their entertaining. It can accomodate a large wedding party with ease and it is a handy back-up when you would like to entertain outdoors and the weather will not play along.
I was so relieved to have it available for the shoot last week. We planned most of it outside, and then on the day we had overcast weather with variable light. In the end we pulled the shoot in under the covered roof of the stoep so that we could get the shoot finished in time.
It is now a regular venue for my craft classes. With plenty of tables and chairs, I simply phone ahead and let Johan know how many people I am expecting, and when I get there everything is set up and ready for me to teach. With the tiled floor underfoot I am able to teach dyeing and printing without having to worry too much about the mess.
If you are looking for a warm, hospitable venue for your event, I can recommend Oppi Stoep in a heartbeat. Contact Johan for bookings at onsin@iafrica.com
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards
Melanie
+27835689150