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Projects Women I've Shot

Commercial Commission
For Soil For Life (NGO)

I shot the 2018 campaign for NGO Soil For Life which was founded by my (amazing) mother Pat Featherstone. Although the campaign included many male gardeners I’ve just included the projects which originated with women (for the sake of this all-female blog).

Soil For Life run workshops and courses both at their headquarter gardens in Constantia and around the poorer areas in Cape Town where they train both young and old how to grow their own food.

The images shown here are a representation of gardens in Lavender Hill, Delft and Phillipi.

From their website:

We believe EVERYONE has the potential to grow nutritious food, with whatever resources they have available.

Since we started in 2002 we have helped thousands of people in resource poor communities to develop productive and sustainable home food gardens.

We have also shared valuable information about health and nutrition and provided them with the knowledge and tools to live healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives.

Growing People

We believe in growing people and endeavour to provide employment and further training opportunities. Several of our ‘graduates’ have become Soil for Life trainers and field workers.

Our Train the Trainer programme started in 2012 to extend our reach and impact. This two year course broadens the knowledge and skills of our most outstanding home gardeners, enabling them to become assistant trainers and support other gardeners in their communities.

Growing Income

We’ve seen over the years how some people become very interested in specific aspects of food gardening, such as growing seedlings, making compost or growing vegetables.

We provide mentoring, training and support as needed so they can explore these areas on a deeper level and potentially generate income. We have a flexible process to enable home gardeners to further develop their skills in areas that interest them, or where they have identified a gap in the market.

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Categories
Projects Women I've Shot

Women Who Create
This is Anna-Tina Schaal

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind there work.

Swiss-born Anna-Tina, a creator deluxe, moved to Paris after school to study fashion design and ended up living and working in the French capital for 7 years. She met her now husband in Key West, Florida, whilst on holiday and never left Africa again after she visited him in his home country Namibia the following year. With their two children, aged 5 and 8, they live in Woodstock, Cape Town now. We are dear friends.

There is never a dull moment in our lives: juggling the demands of kids, our home, my business and our social life; it keeps us rather entertained.

Anna-Tina loves making things with her hands and what started out as a hobby of hand-made gifts for her friends, has turned into a small business. She makes big high-quality handmade blankets, cot blankets and ladies clutch bags.

Every piece is an original, unique in its colour, textures and fabric combination.

Besides selling online via Instagram and Facebook I’ve also participated in Kamersvol.com in Cape Town and in Johannesburg over the last years. The best thing about my business is that my hobby and passion became my work and I feel privileged for that. Juggling the business with my family’s activities and everyday errands and still trying to find time for myself is the biggest challenge.

I’d describe Anna-Tina as passionate, a perfectionist, a highly creative being and a real “do-er”. Not just does she make each of her products to the best quality and with the highest of standards but she also somehow finds the time to make things like pasta from scratch and cook bread with her kids on a daily basis.

She’s a wonder women.

You can find her website “Anna-Tina Original” right here.

And you can find Anna-Tina’s Instagram feed here for all her latest makes and inspiration.

Now for a Q&A:

Why do you create?

I create because I have to, to be a happy person…

Do you have pet peeves?

It drives me mad if people don’t do things properly and with care.

Your worst trait?

I guess I drive people crazy because I expect them to do things with great care, attention to detail and to the absolute best of their abilities.

What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?

To sneak out for a morning in the ocean

What do you think is overrated?

Ugly expensive things…

On what occasion do you lie?

When I have to deal with authorities I don’t trust. So often their rules don’t make any sense to me!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Why?

When and where are/where you happiest?

Somewhere warm by the ocean.

What is your most treasured possession?

My children (even if they are not a possession really).

What do you do to help put you into your optimal creative space?

I start doing and that brings me there.

What does your (physical) creative space look like?

Currently and mostly an organised mess.

What do you get huge satisfaction out of doing apart from your primary creative outlet?

To be in the ocean to clean my head and then to clean up the mess (in my house):  to create order and a beautiful space.

When creating what is your biggest frustration?

Having to deal with admin that is attached to most creative processes.

When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the experience?

Peace and happiness.

The above is a new range of super handy up-cycled zipper ‘pouches’, they’re similar to her clutch bags except these are much more low-key and great to stash things away in an organisational manner in your cluttered handbag. They’re all made with 100% off-cuts from her blanket making business, so cool!

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Categories
Projects Women I've Shot

Women Who Create
This is Michaela Younge

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind there work.

I’ve followed Michaela’s work for a while as I find it intriguing, another world but also our own. I met her for the first time when I invited her into my studio to participate in Women Who Create.

She brought with her soft clouds of colourful, loose merino wool (which we used in her portrait), one of her complex, beautiful and completed pieces and a dangerous looking felting needle.

Michaela Younge is a South African artist born in Cape Town in 1993. After high school, Michaela attended the Michaelis School of Fine Art, where her father lectured in the Sculpture department. She graduated in 2015 receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction. While at Michaelis, she primarily worked in the mediums of sculpture and print, however, after graduating she began working with wool, constructing felt tableaux depicting scenes of the everyday, the violent and the bizarre.

Her works are created by needle felting merino wool into textiles as well as found fabrics, such as old curtains and tapestries. The works are textural and are characterised by colourful, busy scenes that often play with perspective. Michaela is interested in the absurdity of everyday life, often finding humour in theatrical scenes of violence or through a comedy of errors. These scenes invite a closer look at human relationships and interactions – sometimes skewering the subjects in the process.

Below is a Proust-like interview with Michaela:

Why do you create?

Art-making is generally exciting, and expressive, and making money from something like that is rewarding, so I guess I create because I get pleasure from it.

What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?

“Decorasie” type objects, second-hand toys, ceramics, clothes.

Your greatest fear?

Alien abduction, going under anaesthetic but it doesn’t work and you’re just paralysed.

What defines your idea of happiness?

Watching BBC with my mom next to the heater is pretty good.

What do you think is overrated?

Pasta; everybody seems to love it, but let’s be honest it’s just long pieces of cooked flour and egg! I’m not saying it’s terrible, cause it can be good, I just think its overrated.

On what occasion do you lie?

If there was no benefit in telling the truth, and the truth was really a massive sack of awful.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Using expletives, such as “fucking”, “bloody” and the word “wow”.

When and where are/where you happiest?

Having a drink on Bakoven Beach in the late afternoon on a hot summer’s day.

What is your most treasured possession?

My grandmother’s ring, gifted to me by my mother.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Apparently I give very good hugs, but that’s not useful in the time of Corona! A friend said that I get excited by things or going places some people wouldn’t, and I always have a story from it.

What do you do to help put you into your optimal creative space?

If the weather is bad, I have to have a hot water bottle as I find being cold very distracting, and a hot water bottle has the placebo effect of making my concentration better.

What does your (physical) creative space look like?

I work off a big desk, with a large lamp and I always have to have a pencil and some paper, especially if I’m talking on the phone as I get pre-emptively nervous that I may have to take notes at any point. Then there are two large boxes of colourful merino wool on the floor, and a lint roller.

What do you get huge satisfaction out of doing apart from your primary creative outlet?

I’ve been using pencil crayons and khoki pens and doing more drawings, and I’ve been experimenting with resin which is a hot mess but I love it.

When creating what is your biggest frustration?

Balancing admin, chores and creative work. I have to set aside time for emails as they give me a lot of stress!

When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the experience?

“Quiet” or “quick”.

You can find Michaela’s Instagram profile here.

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Categories
Projects Women I've Shot

Women Who Create
This is Olivié Keck

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind there work.

I met Olivié in about 2015 in ceramics class at Frank Joubert art school in Cape Town. She was busy, at that time, working on the giant piece below: “Script Kitty”. It probably stands about 65 cm high. I nervously helped her carry the kitty into the kiln for its very last firing in 2016. It’s beautiful.

Olivié is a drawer, an illustrator and a ceramicist. She also does prints and creative collaborations. I love that she describes herself as a ‘mass romantic’.

From Olivié:

“I relish loud colours, juxtaposing ideas, jumbled associations and subverting expectations. There’s a ‘pleasure spiked with pain’ feeling about the work I make. This is a sensation I feel captures my experience of the world. Humans are never fully in one attitude; and I’d like to think my work echoes both the severity and the humor in this sentiment.”

Olivié Keck (b.1989) lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She received her BFA from The Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2011.

 “Keck’s work is a contemporary homage to the ‘commonplace’ narratives that her subjects portray. She relishes loud colours, graphic forms, juxtaposing ideas, parody and subverting expectations. The aesthetics of her work commemorates the theatre of human experience, whilst echoing her fascination with popular culture, intimacy and contemporary story-telling.”

Below is a Proust-like interview with Olivié:

Why do you create?

I create because I see in pictures what I can’t explain in words.

What is your motto? 

‘Sometimes you gotta risk it for a biscuit’ 

What is your most treasured possession?

I treasure all the things in my home that have been handmade or given to me by friends and loved ones. All the memories imbued in objects that surround me with the sensation of being connected to people. They are my little flagships of joy spotted all over my home.

My art collection is especially close to my heart. Some of the artworks that adorn my walls include pieces by Jean De Wet, Mia Chaplin, Danielle Clough, Andrew Sutherland and Cecil Skotnes. All of which I consider amazing artists and special humans.

My postcard collection. I love a gift shop keepsake and I have always loved keeping postcards from places I’ve visited, art museums with artworks I love or weird little nooks in the world I’ve discovered. I have a huge wall of postcards I’ve collected or have been sent by friends on their travels. It’s a bit of a cliché I guess, but it’s my personal 2D museum.

A quilt made by my mother, which is very special to me and has all the nurturing and wholesome characteristics I associate with her.

When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the experience?

Compulsive.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I’m a bit of a hoarder especially when it comes to art materials. I think it’s a compulsion that is both my best and my worst trait.

Sometimes I’m happy that I hold on to things and try to find a use for them or try to use every last bit, but it means I always have bits and pieces of stuff everywhere which can get overwhelming. I also hate wasting stuff, so I think that’s why I keep every last drop, which makes me every bit as frustrating to live with as you are imagining.

What do you get huge satisfaction out of doing apart from your primary creative outlet?

Weirdly I find cleaning quite therapeutic. I know most people hate it, but I find it to be an act of renewal. Like getting to start over – a reset button. There is something deeply cathartic in getting out the vacuum and sucking up all the dusky residue of yesterday’s ‘you’.  Sometimes if I’m feeling stuck on a creative problem I’ll get out a cloth, wipe down a surface or a floor just to unlock that dopamine of accomplishment.

I really enjoy gardening and planting vegetables. Nature is an inspiration and because I grew up in a farm-like setting, working in the garden always takes me back to being a kid planting things with my mother.

Puzzle making is another satisfying activity that feels trivial but fills me with moment-to moment thrills. It is a great activity to do alone or with a friend. During the quarantine of Covid-19 it has really taken a hold of me. I can spend hours and hours on it. Looking through this list it seems like I’m getting ready for retirement, just need to get into bingo and I’m made!

Do you have pet peeves?

My industry pet peeve, if I’m being REALLY candid, maybe too candid, I find it frustrating how some people, not all, but some, automatically expect discounts when purchasing artwork. It’s a major bug bear for me.

I know it’s not just me, it happens frequently to artists all over. It seems to be an accepted industry standard in the art arena. Like there’s some golden rule stating that artists’ always overvalue their work by at least 10% and therefore one should never pay the asking price. Purchasing an artwork with a conditional discount is like giving someone a compliment and an insult at the same time.

It’s different if it’s a frequent buyer, someone that has supported your career time and again, if the person has earnt that privilege, but when a fresh kid on the block wants to haggle – that’s straight up shameless.

Personally, I think it undermines any artist’s self-worth and the role of the artist as a legitimate profession in society. It’s a trope that rewards misers and I wish people wouldn’t do it. There I said it out loud. If you didn’t know, now you know.

What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?

Hands-down this title goes to my two Italian greyhounds, Wendy Horsecraft and Avon Barksdale. They are ridiculous creatures, I’m not even sure they are dogs…sometimes I think they might be proof aliens exist. But damn I love them and lavish them unashamedly.

Your greatest fear?

Being homeless and destitute. I have a distinct memory of this fear manifesting as a young kid when my dad past away. I felt for the first time that I could lose someone or some huge facet of my life overnight. I remember this feeling being really intense for years, I would have nightmares about it all the time. Horrible situations of destitution. I have this sensation less as an adult but every now and then I still have waves of this deep-seated anxiety come up for me in conscious and subconscious states.

What do you think is overrated?

Celebrity Culture. Our society is so obsessed with celebrities or becoming a celebrity. A country like America is probably the best example of how this phenomenon, this obsession, has wreaked their society and warped their value system.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I say the word ‘crazy’ and ‘wild’ a lot as emphatic words. I annoy myself with it, because it feels like I don’t use enough adjectives in my speech. It’s my fall-back exclamation phrase, but it’s become such a habit. It’s my verbal crutch.

What does your (physical) creative space look like?

My studio has a bit of a split personality. I have different areas for different moods. I have a desk on both sides of the room and a large window that looks out over the mountain and the lagoon  next to my house. I feel very lucky to have such a tranquil and light space to work in.

The walls of my studio are filled with sketches and scribbled ideas or spark notes on paper and inspirational references. I have some of my work that I’ve kept up on walls to keep me company. There are pockets of colour and pattern everywhere and a picture rail that I curate with work I am busy making or have made.

My dogs are always in my studio while I work. They love lying on my couch in the sun that comes in through the windows and in winter the heater keeps us all warm.

What defines your idea of happiness?

I think I am living my idea of happiness right now. I work hard, but I am free to make the things I want to and keep my own hours. I’ve arrived at a really special time in my life where I have the support of an amazingly talented network of friends and loved ones that help me navigate my creative and emotional challenges. I feel at peace with my process and the kind of artist I think I am. I feel lucky every day I get to be an artist. I think it’s important not to see happiness as a place you’ll arrive at one day, happiness is more what you make of it and I try to enjoy the moment to moment as much as possible.

Keck’s solo exhibitions included; ‘False Priest’ (2014) at Commune1, ‘Selfie Fulfilling Prophecy’ (2016) at David Krut Projects, ‘The Lure’ (2018) at Chandler House ,‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ (2019) at CIRCA/Everard Read and ‘In Bloom’(2020) with 131A Gallery. Keck has attended two international art residences; The Kala Art Institute (2016 Berkeley/USA) and The Frans Masereel Centrum (2017 Antwerp/Belgium). She has exhibited internationally with No Man’s Art Gallery in Tehran and The Kala Art Institute in Berkeley/USA. Her work has been featured numerous times at art fairs such as CTAF, JAF and Turbine Art Fair.

Find her Instagram profile here.

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