Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Inner Child

Teaching or training human beings is a huge responsibility. In South Africa, with its massive skills shortage, that responsibility is even greater.
Do you even know where to begin?

When I started out I had no clue myself. I was aware that a giant space existed, and I was not sure which part of it to tackle first or how. I did know for certain that I wanted to become part of the solution and not be part of the groaning masses who bemoan the problem without lifting a finger to change the situation.

Teaching adults is often complicated by the socialisation and experiences in their childhood. I am always fascinated when I teach young children to see their capacity to explore and be spontaneous. Why is that same hunger for exploration not present in the adult? Could it be because some adult voice once said to the adventurous child “That is wrong”... or worse still, did they laugh and tell the child “That will NEVER work!”?
We are all so eager to please as kids that we very soon learn how to guage a response before putting it all out there, for fear of ridicule or being singled out for our “different” way of thinking.
I believe that the inner child is alive in every human being. Perhaps that inner child is hiding in the shadows, making sure that nobody suspects it is there. Perhaps that child has simply learned to remain silent and quite still.
What a pity when that is also the place where innovation and creativity live. In business, creativity and innovation are the prized tools of top entrepreneurs, yet we stifle any sign of these skills in teenagers for fear that they might turn out to be “different” or “bohemian”.
At the core of my teaching methodology lies the notion that every piece of creative expression is perfect and beautiful. It comes from a very personal place deep inside the person. As such, it should be honored as a window into that human spirit. All work that emerges from that place is perfect, even in its “imperfections”.
I have found that, using this methodology, kids and adults can produce amazing things. When all the constraints are removed and they are free to express themselves, without fear of ridicule, the flame of creativity ignites and lights up their eyes and they shine from the inside.
Is your inner child hiding in a corner? Is it almost smothered under the heavy blanket of socialisation?
No wonder some people struggle to find innovative answers to the challenges that they face. No wonder so many people feel trapped in their circumstances. I have taken this methodology into a variety of spaces with amazing results.
To find out more go to
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free The Orange

I know you are all waiting for feedback from Hobby-X. The reason I have kept you waiting is because we are preparing something very special for you. Steven Hall from Free The Orange is producing a quality video of the event for us so that you can enjoy actual footage that captures the excitement and buzz of the event, instead of just seeing still photographs.
Free The Orange provides a complete solution in producing video communication tools.Founded in 2002 in Johannesburg South Africa, Free the Orange is a hybrid: One part Advertising Agency, one part film Production Company and one part Post-Production facility.

By combining a unique blend of advertising and video production services Free the Orange delivers audio visual communication tools that include television commercials, corporate videos, presentation videos and viral videos. By working with a production crew that operates like a special forces unit our clients are assured of personalised service from initiation to completion of a project on time at an affordable price.
Steven is at the top of his game and I cannot wait to see what he has made for us. The Hobby-X footage will include interviews with Wilsia Metz, my amazing publisher, and some of the writers who were in the stand that weekend signing books for their fans.
In the mean time, you can learn more about Free The Orange from their website at
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Monday, March 22, 2010

Giant Chocolate Easter Bunny

This story landed in my mailbox this week and I just had to share it with you.
I met Winnie and Mark from Crafty Corner a couple of years back. When they first started Crafty Corner, Winnie mentioned to me that it was a bit of a "sideline" for them. Two years later it has turned into a monster! Literally.
These two intrepid personalities started with recycle crafts, and then branched into everything else. There is not a project they will not tackle.
This year they were approached by Duracell to produce the world's largest solid chocolate Easter bunny for the Guiness Book Of Records. This is a brief that would have left me cold. The Crafty Corner team took it on, and completed the ambitious project in a few short days.
The giant bunny is 3,82 meters high, and weighs 3,014 tons. How did they do it?
"Our first challenge was to find a supplier who would supply 3 tons of chocolate at short notice. Through our network of contacts, Chris from Gold Reef Chocolates came to the rescue, and before we knew it, we were flooded under a mountain of chocolate.
The chocolate came in 400g slabs, and to make a giant chocolate bunny with these would have been virtually impossible. Enter Chris. We asked Chris and his team at Gold Reef Chocolates to rescue us. The slabs were melted into solid bricks weighing in at 6,5kg each and individually packaged by Gold Reef Chocolates in strict accordance with our country’s health regulations, giving us something we could really work with.

With the chocolate sorted, Mark Fruhauf set about designing a giant chocolate bunny that would be solid, as well as meet the strict regulations in order for this to be recognized as an official world record. Our sculptor created an internal steel frame to provide extra stability for safety’s sake, after all, if this toppled over, it would bring a whole new meaning to the term “death by chocolate!”
With a solid design and a mountain of chocolate to work with, the Crafty Corner team set about creating a giant mound of chocolate. As the giant bunny had to be solid, we had to physically melt the blocks with a blowtorch and stick them together. Once we had completed a very rough “robot” looking bunny from the blocks weighing about 2.5 tons, the sculpting team then set about shaping the blocks. As we sculpted, we collected the flying chips and added them to trays of melted chocolate to make up a chocolate “plaster paste” which was then used to form the detail of the bunny. This process allowed us to add the additional 500Kg that was what we needed to make the 3014kg total in the end.

The entire process took from Monday morning 15th April 2010 to Thursday when Duracell gave the sign off at 16:00 18th March 2010.

Almost lost in the entire story is how the entire bunny is resting on a tiny scale supplied by Scale Tronic Services that is being used to display the final weight to the public and for our record keepers.

We all had a blast and kept each other awake with jokes, loads or moral support and WATER. Now all that remains to be seen is…. what shall we do next?"
The Duracell Easter Bunny is currently on display at Sandton City in the fountain court until 27 March 2010. Pop in an have a look at this record breaking bunny.
Well done Crafty Corner! You guys never cease to amaze and astound!
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Craft Routes

Over the past few months I have been promoting dye and prints at the Craft Routes stores in Pretoria North. Sue Peddle is a strong, independent entrepreneur who has taken her love for the arts and crafts, and developed world class retail stores from her vision.
She started out in stained glass. She created commissioned stained glass windows for the homes of the rich and famous. All creative entrepreneurs eventually realise at some point that they have only so many hours in their day for custom work, and that they need to find something that is replicable if they are to survive and truly thrive. At this point in her career, Sue decided to build her first Arts & Crafts retail store.
Retail is not for sissies. It comes with heavy financial risks, and when Sue approached the shopping centre management for the first time, they were sceptical of her success. How did an independent, and a mere woman at that, plan to survive in this male-dominated corporate world?
Her early days in retail came with unexpected challenges. A couple of weeks after she opened her store in the Kolonnade Centre, the roof came crashing in, literally. When she shared the experience with me, she explained how it had sounded as if a freight train was tearing through the centre. It was a frightening experience which would have put many people off completely. If I had been in her shoes at that time, I imagine I would have taken it as a sign to get the hell out of the retail business. Customers were slow to return to the centre after the cave-in, for fear of their lives, and business was slow to pick up in her new store.
Sue is a tough business woman with a determination to succeed against any odds, and she stuck to her dreams. Today she has two stores, one in Kolonnade and one in Wonderpark. They are situated to the North of Pretoria and many people from outlying areas come to her shops for their art supplies. Initially she stocked mainly stained glass supplies, because that is where her passion was born. Later she branched out into other crafts and today you can get almost anything that you need to fuel your creative passions from her well-stocked shelves. Scrapbooking, decoupage, fabric painting, watercolours, cardmaking, mosaic, quilting, dyeing, lino printing, fine art, sketching...Sue has it all. A Craft Routes store truly is a one-stop solution for any artist or crafter. Her selection of books is impressive and anybody wanting to self-teach will find what they need to get started in her collection.
She has regular demonstrations and classes in her stores by industry experts for those who want to see how it is done, and a friendly team of knowledgable merchandisors to help you find what you need. Look out for her distinctive blue and green colours the next time you are in Kollonade or Wonderpark shopping centres and pop in to pick up your art and craft supplies.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Monday, March 8, 2010


I sit down to write this blog today with a deep sense of gratitude in my heart. I spent four whirlwind days at Hobby-X promoting Contemporary Dyecraft with my publisher, Wilsia Metz. It was just the most amazing experience of my life!
I am deeply grateful to all the people who made it such a special experience.
First, I must thank Wilsia Metz. It has been a great privelege to work with such a professional publisher. The quality of her books is impecable and her efficiency is makes it an absolute pleasure to work with her.
It was fabulous to meet my fellow authors under her umbrella. Fransie Snyman, Sandy Griffiths, Tracy Boomer, Di van Niekerk and Retha van der Walt... thank you all for your contribution to the weekend. You were a super team to work with.
I must also thank all of my customers and supporters who popped into the stand to say hello. I was especially excited to see how many of you have tried out the techniques in my book already. The young man in the picture came all the way from Louis Trichaardt to show me what he had made, using the book as a guide. Money cannot buy such an experience.
Thank you to Owen and Sharon Calverly from Craftwise and Stitches Magazines for their ongoing support for the Metz Press brand.
Thank you to Steven Hall from Free The Orange, and Kim from Trinitas for coming to the event to shoot some footage for our records. It is going to be awesome to have a dvd of this wonderful event for our archives.
Thank you to our fellow-traders. Your smiles and laughter carried us through a long event.
Thank you to the organisers of the event. Hobby-X is the premier event for the Craft industry in South Africa and we look forward to it every year. I am sure that many people will agree with me that Hobby-X 2010 was the best one yet.
All the excitement has left me buzzing (and quite exhausted) and I am going to take a few days to regroup.
Thanks again! It would not have been the same if there were not so many fabulous creative people to share it with.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards