Wakkerstroom’s annual Arts and Crafts Ramble a colourful experience

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The recent long weekend saw a jam-packed weekend of events in Wakkerstroom, at the annual Arts & Crafts Ramble.

The opening and street fire, on Friday evening, June 14, is fast becoming a tradition and was held outside the Hotel Conference room. The venue where exhibitors, artists and visitors to Wakkerstroom all gathered, to network, and enjoy the wide selection of ‘street’ food that was available.

Lizelle Servulo of Volksrust performed, as a taster for her show to be held on Monday. Lizelle entered three songs in Talent Africa and received three gold awards. An amazing achievement, especially as she now heads to Talent America later in the week, preparing to hit the big stage in New York.

Following Lizelle Servulo’s act, the audience joined the guest artist from Johannesburg, Chrisél van der Merwe for a walk-about her exhibition entitled ‘Layered Landscapes’.

Chrisél explained how she grew up in a very small town, and how the smells, sounds and sights of Wakkerstroom brought back wonderful, vivid memories of her childhood. Chrisél received her BA Honours Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria in 2016 Cum-laude and was selected as a Sasol New Signatures finalist in both 2016 and 2017.

She participated in several group exhibitions at the ABSA Art Gallery in Johannesburg and was selected as a Top 100 finalist for the ABSA L’atelier Art Competition. She had three solo projects in 2018 and was selected as finalist and runner-up of the Young Female Residency Award with The Project Space.

Chrisél explains how her work is very experimental in nature and about the multiple mediums she works in, including printmaking, sculpting, painting and installation. Through diverse media with additions of bronze and construction materials, Chrisél presents a world of surfaces constructed in her controlled-accidental environments.

The widest array of Arts and Crafts workshops and demos ran in Wakkerstroom for four days.

Many visitors could not believe the selection, and many were hard-pressed to choose which of the 35 courses to do. With some courses overflowing with enthusiastic crafters, those who had not pre-booked had to be turned away.

Sandy Bondonno at the perspective drawing course by Mark Devenney.

Happy crafters made belts, pottery plates, mosaicked items, felt, art journals, crocheted pots, wire insects, and even decorated cupcakes or cakes. The happy budding artists learnt how to draw from still life, in perspective, cartoons, and portraits.

The Mystery Craft Tea this year included the use of scissors, cardboard, a fork, a needle, string and wool; and was a mystery until the end. Soon it was to be found to be ‘weaving’. Students were also treated to tasty sweet treats made by the Dana Diens-sentrum, as they enjoyed their interesting morning creating crafts.

Bianca Kritzinger during the mystery craft tea.

The arts and crafts exhibitors were set up in two halls which included a wide variety from wirework to knitted woollen items, wildlife to painting and drawing, photography to woodwork, sewing/crochet to sketches, miniatures to pottery and scrapbooking to honey.

One exhibit which attracted a lot of attention was a knitting exhibition, created by Jane Harley. The exhibit showcasing lace knitting using various natural yarns including silk, linen, bamboo, cotton, alpaca, cashmere and merino.

Other stands included the suppliers of scrapbooking and canvas materials from exhibitors from Johannesburg.
Guests enjoying some of the exhibits.

Apart from the eye-catching exhibition, ‘She wore a Bonnet’ at Ijuba Gallery, other local artists Frances Kendall and Mark Devenney opened their home studios. Welcoming all interested public, and they were happy to answer all questions about their art.

The children’s art competition entries of ‘Nguni cow’s’ were a delight, too many. Especially as the Wakkerstroom children were not given reference pictures. Their drawings were done entirely from memory and the heart. Chrisel van der Merwe and Mark Kotze announced the prize winners.

Thereafter, Kristi Garland announced the winners of the Wakkerstroom Bird Club Sandy Twomey Memorial Photography competition and the name of the Bird Club’s new mascot – the secretary bird – Lord Fluffybottom!

There was also a fantastic performance by the Lotto funded Marimba band from eSizameleni.

Other highlights of the event included first time exhibitors.
Adrian van der Walt.

Hailing from Newcastle, Adrian van der Walt (otherwise known as Addy) is passionate about drawing in charcoal. His striking stand at the Papillon venue created a lot of interest and as with the other stands.

Other first time exhibitors were three Wakkerstroomers from the Craft Development Program. An initiative whose aim is to assist people in the area in creating self-sustainable businesses.

Victor Nathi Zwane, has been doing melamine work creating cabinets, kitchens, chests of drawers, and cupboards. He has been assisted with numerous tools and mentoring, especially as he moves into bigger built-ins and wooden products. Victor has also been able to provide piece-meal work to other youngsters, who are paid on completion of the job.

Nonhlanhla Kumalo does sewing and has been assisted with a flat-bed sewing machine and canvas material. From this, she has been making covers for outdoor tables or sunbeds. As well as door sausages and bags that are strong enough for school books. She has also been given décor sample fabrics. From this, she has made a number of other items, including pencil bags, door stops, oven gloves and cushion covers,

Bonginkosi Tsotetsi, otherwise known as Para-dice, has been creating custom designs on T-shirts, caps, bags and sneakers. He has been assisted with a variety of fabric paints, T-shirts. He also received art tutoring by Mark Devenney, a local businessman and artist. While Bongikosi is ready to paint anything, his passion lies painting people’s stories. As well as custom design art for his customers or their club or family.

The Craft Development Program has access to a number of raw materials. But it is always looking for people who have a craft, which could be turned into a business.

Organisers of the program are also looking for mentors. Individuals who have a few hours a month to give to guide the candidates. If you know anyone who fits this description, please get them to contact us on info@dekotzenhof.co.za or 083 452 3363.

Members of the Uthaka Gospel Choir performed a few songs from their repertoire of gospel, traditional and choral songs.

The WMF (Wakkerstroom Music Festival) under 30s then took to the stage for the first time. The guests thoroughly enjoying the performance.

The next Art & Craft Ramble will open on the 12 June 2020. Don’t miss this artistic extravaganza next time. Diarize the date now! For all enquiries contact 083 452 3363 or info@dekotzenhof.co.za.

Robin Atawell watches Mrcus van der Hooven during the belt making workshop.
Participants enjoying a felt making class.
Beatrix Ballard ran the journaling workshop during the event.
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