Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To love...

found via the alarmingly beautiful Maggie May on Flux Capacitor

xxx elle

The light fantastic!

This gloriously simple chandelier born of a generous branch and a bare hanging light bulb, reminds me of my own 'branch' light, that hangs under the rietdak roof of my kitchen patio.

Here it is, all spruced up for a 60's party, resplendent in bright accents and coloured light bulbs!

Usually it is quite bare . I like the honest simplicity of its terracotta floors, reed ceiling and reclaimed wooden table.

Before I found my branch light, which was conjured up by my friend Jenny in her garden shop 'Grow', I fancied one like this, from High Thorn in Kwazulu Natal who do clever things with twigs and other natural resources.

With his creative project, Magpie, the ever charming Scott Hart goes one step further creating all manner of extraordinary things using scrap and recycled plastic bottles.

I have one of his lovely little light fittings in my kitchen at Boulders, from the early days before Scott set up shop in Barrydale.

It's really just an upside down bouquet of silk flowers embraced by a flock of tiny birds!

The Obama's put one of Magpie's chandeliers in their personal residence at The White House, so I know I am in good company.

I have also always loved these dramatic antler chandeliers from Hadeda, but the ceilings of my old house would groan under their considerable weight.

And they'd groan all the louder if they had to bear the earthy beauty of these 'mud' ball delights, created with hundreds of dried beads fashioned from mud by the clever people at 'Mud' in Ladybrand.

xxx elle

Monday, June 21, 2010

Twenty Ten!


After years of planning, and my incessant insistence, that it was all a terrible squandering of government resources the 2010 World cup is here!

And O the joy!

Even if it is as the doomsayers suggest, a naive illusion, the sense of unity and connectedness between all South Africans is palpable.

We are moved by the countless cars and homes festooned with South African flags, and there is a glorious feeling of national pride and patriotism. A welcome relief from the insecurity that so often festers when the like of Julius Malema and his ilk, dominate the newspaper headlines.

I think of the families that immigrate to countries like Britain or the United States of America. I think of how the children born of those immigrants are considered as fully British or American. And I wonder how many generations a 'white' man must live here before he is considered, if ever, truly African...

For now the colour of my skin seems irrelevant as I merge with my fellow countrymen, as a proud and delighted South African.

Viva Bafana Bafana Viva!

Steele and Mr Nielson better known as Sid, cavort with locals on the fan walk.

Our first Cape Town game: France versus Uruguay at the Cape Town Stadium, designed I might add by our friend Louis Karol's architectural firm.

The stadium is a beauty, and the crowd an infectious delight.

The vuvuzela's sound their relentless battle cry. I took ear plugs with to soften the onslaught but soon got used to the incessant buzz. The atmosphere was electrifying!

We had brilliant seats, even though the ticket purchasing system was a fiasco. Some of our cheaper tickets are better seated then our most expensive category 1 tickets. Fifa is a law unto itself, and their manipulation and control is dictatorial and mercenary in the extreme.

After the game, as we watch the stadium empty out, Steele displays his approval.

Then Steele and Mr Nielson better known as Sid, speak to the security guards that surround the pitch.

Within a few days they go on strike over a wage dispute.

Promised high remuneration they protest the paltry sums they are to be paid in reality. The Local Organising Committee ( LOC) and Fifa will be enriched by hundreds of millions, whilst as usual the poorest continue to be exploited.

They are soon dismissed, and the police step in countrywide to provide the security.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Any Morning

Just lying on the couch and being happy.
Only humming a little, the quiet sound in the head.
Trouble is busy elsewhere at the moment, it has
so much to do in the world.

People who might judge are mostly asleep, they can't
monitor you, all the time, and sometimes they forget.
When dawn flows over the hedge you can
get up and act busy.

Little corners like that, pieces of heaven
left lying around, can be picked up and saved.
People wont even see that you have them,
they are so light and easy to hide.

Later in the day you can act like the others.
You can shake your head. You can frown.

William Stafford

xxx elle

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Africa Nova

Our friends Alan and Carla, live in an extraordinary home in Midrand, Johannesburg.

They bought a perfectly ordinary house, and with the help of Sylvio Rech, Carla's architect brother( famous for his African lodges and hotels), they transformed it into a unique residence.

It is also a visually exciting space in which to display their ever growing collection of African Art.

Just outside the kitchen door are these beautiful carved posts from West Africa, that stand like silent guardians watching over the busy comings and goings of family and friends.

Unconventional use of angled walls, as well as colour and mosaic make the wide passages a visual feast.

And several built in alcoves, are home to tiny 'worlds' inhabited by Alan's cast of thousands of African figures, most are carved to be used in traditional rituals and daily african life.

Towers of African stools form interesting 'totems' against the passage walls, along with ceremonial figures and maize grinders that hold countless, exquisitely carved walking sticks and spears.

To enter this home; partake of it's wealth of culture and beauty, and better still sit down at Carla's scrubbed kitchen table for an Italian meal of some splendour, is to feel fully the joy of life amongst friends in lightest Africa.
xxx elle

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trophies of a kind...

I like trophies.

There, I've said it.

Sadly, I am not even referring to a well hidden penchant for coming first, discovered when I won the 100 meter sprint age twelve!

Alas, no, I am talking of course, of animal trophies.

Something, about the noble presence of a stuffed kudu gazing vacantly over the threshold, holds a strange and fascinating appeal. Throw in a few horns, bones and animal skins, and colonial life is conjured up in an instant. Even the most urban interior is lent an air of adventure and romance with some colonial accoutrement.

Still, much as I love the mournfully, glassy gaze of a prized kudu, my better self longs for a kinder alternative.

The bar at The Duchess of Wisbeach in Sea Point, has a cheerful cow on display, just the thing to amuse inebriated patrons!Frederique Morrel's heavenly vintage tapestry trophies, are a sublime temptation.

Whilst a fallow deer constructed in pale Mosaic by Canadian Michal Dillon, is an elegant possibility.

And who can resist, the illuminated majesty of Michael Methven's Big 5.

Ceramicist Shirley Finz adds a Shweshwe twist to her 'Bokkie' offering.
I can't help loving the way in which the relics of the bush, contextualise and situate our own human narrative into the wide open expanse that is Africa, the 'cradle of mankind'.

xxx elle