Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Trails

Hmm, haven't had one of these posts in a while... this beautiful sunset over the Masai Mara in Kenya, thanks to my very talented bro-in-law.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Jo'burg Man

Recently while enjoying browsing through old Elle Decor magazines from South Africa, I found something I had fallen in love with the first time I saw it.

The artwork is a collaboration between photographers Dale Yudelman and Arlene Amaler-Raviv. For some reason I find it thoroughly arresting... anything I've found online says that the work is meant to explore the individual as s/he experiences the city in every day life.

Here it is again, with another from the same body of work. There is something about the hugeness of the man as he goes unnoticed through the landscape.

(Scanned in image from Elle Decoration Autumn Issue 2006, the apartment of Kamran Khavari.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Overlooking Cape Town from the apartment of Kamran Khavari, as seen in Elle Decoration Autumn Issue 2006.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Blog Community

Ah, today I am feeling the love. Gotta love tagging... See my victims' responses at

pallazzo to do
and sprayglue

Go check it out... and read some of their posts, they are all super sites.

In the spirit of blogging, I was recently inspired by Skinny and Lena Corwin's spoon displays. Not sure mine are so beautifully displayed, but I had to share 'em.

The large salad serving spoons on the top and bottom are Carol Boyes spoons. I love Carol Boyes' work so much that my bridesmaids got sugar spoons from her collection when I got married. Each spoon has it's own identity, and I thought they'd be a wonderful way to celebrate each woman's uniqueness but also her being part of a group of my very, very bestest friends. The butter knife (I know, I know, cheating!!) is also Carol Boyes, and also the olive spoon (left, with holes). The knife and fork are from a wedding present from my grandparents-in-law. They were given a bone-handle and silver set for their wedding that they didn't use (they were given two sets) so they gave me and L ours for our wedding. It's always great to use those utensils so far from home and feel a connection over space and time. The little lady is hard to see, she is dressed as a typical South African woman would be, with her head wrapped. Lastly is my little meerkat sugar spoon. I don't use him anymore because he started to bend, but he is just darling.

Thanks everyone for being up for tagging! I did learn some interesting things about you!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Ah, seems I have been tagged... thanks Carolyn! So, I get to share some things about me you may not know...

I love to swim. I would swim all day, if I could...
this may not be too much of a surprise if you've seen the picture on my profile, but I'm a bit of a doggie person (ha! understatement!)...
I'm slightly obsessed with pattern, rhythm, shape in visuals (see my lovely fence, above)...
My signature baking "dish" is orange pound cake, a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. It's seriously loads of work, but OH so worth it...
Chocolate is my downfall...
After growing up 5 hours away from the ocean and now having lived next to it for a few years, I don't think I could ever live far away from it again...
I recently got my first job as a graphic designer after making a career u-turn 2 years ago. Yipppeee! Still one more year of night-classes but this stuff is just too much fun!...
Tea is my favourite drink. Good ol' British breakfast and rooibos...
One of the most inspiring designers around, in my opinion, is Marian Bantjes.

Okay, who to tag? Because I'm kind of new to this, I'm afraid all my favourites are tagged already, but I'll send it along anyway.

skinny laminx
She wears shwe shwe
pallazzo to do
angry chicken
oh joy!
Sakura Snow

Friday, August 24, 2007

Inspiration from the North

A fellow South African is very busy up North. She lives in Toronto and she designs fun, pretty, delicious stationery and patterns for other things. Her name is Carolyn and you can see more of her lovely things on her blog.

You can find more of her work on other sites:

I MUST get my hands on those birds!!

SA Design in the News

This week on, Johannesburg Fashion week was featured because it was staged in Soweto. The website said, "Johannesburg Fashion Week held its first show in the mostly black township of Soweto, challenging the stereotype that fashion is for affluent whites."

Funny, I always thought people who aren't affluent have more interesting fashion sense cos they can't just go to the mall and buy some expensive label. They can't just lean on what's at their fingertips... know what I mean? What do you think? Do you have to buy expensive labels to be fashionable?

Anyway, I've chosen my favourites from the photos on the bbc site for you... the guy is David Tlale, a SA designer who recently showed at Paris Fashion week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Gift

From my Dad, from Malawi... years and years ago. I still love it.

Happy birthday for yesterday, Dad!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Juice Blender

If you read yesterday's post on iJusi, you may be interested in the graphic design studio that started it all. Their real work isn't too shabby, either. These are some of their logos...

I like Garth Walker's take on stuff. Here is his bio on the Design Indaba website, where he was a MC.

"Garth Walker started Orange Juice Design in Durban in 1995, designing for many of South Africa's best known brands. However, his interest in "what makes me an African" is the work he is best know for.

Beginning in the late 80s, Garth began to document the 'world around him' with an emphasis on 'street design', and the then emerging graphic styles of Durban's pavement traders. The collection now numbers some 5000 images of everything from Hair Salon fabric banners to granite 'biker' gravestones from every corner of South Africa."

Sounds like fun. I've just started my first graphic design job... and maybe one day I can do something as exciting and as real as this.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I am loving ijusi, a publication from South African graphic design studio, Orange Juice Design.

iJusi is a play on words. Sometimes English words are "Zulufied" to deal with new concepts... anyway, linguistics aside, this stuff is juicy. Started by OJ design founder, Garth Walker, the publication is printed twice a year, and each issue has its own theme, although the overriding focus is "I am an African..." The issues have views, images, interviews, wild design. I love it. It's really just good ol' design running riot, no frills, no hesitations. I wish I had me a good ol' fashioned hard copy. But the web will do for now. Take a few moments and take a stroll... you can go to the spaza shop* and look at old issues. Truly a feast for the eyes. The highlight, of course, will be the gemsbok with the flame shooting out its butt while the pages load. Enjoy.

PS: Since writing a draft of this post, I emailed and got a response from Garth. Seems the only way to get a copy of the magazine is to go to their office and pick one up. Hmm. I wonder which one of my family members I will dispatch on that mission?

*a spaza shop is an informal business, usually in urban areas... the "Seven-Eleven" of informal settlements.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Indaba: A Project

Brand the Beloved Country: A play on the title of Cry, the Beloved Country, and a project for a few ad agencies to rebrand South Africa... show it in all its glory. Well, how does one represent an entire nation? A nation as diverse, talented, be-oo-tiful, and dazzling as South Africa?

Ask Switch Design...

Two Tone...

and HKLM.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Viva Women

Today is Women's Day in South Africa. In celebration of the day, I have chosen to post a little something about Miriam Makeba, Mama Afrika.

I recently started listening to her music, and love it. You can read more about her, and her courageous life, here, but this is a snippet:

"Miriam Makeba began her lifelong struggle at the age of two weeks when she served a sixmonth jail term with her mother. As a girl in South Africa, she worked as a domestic servant for white families. By her teens she had got involved in the progressive jazz scene and was pursuing a singing career.

In 1960, while on tour in the US, Makeba was denied a visa to return home for her mother's funeral. The white South African Government then cancelled her citizenship to punish her for speaking out against apartheid at the United Nations. A defiant Makeba was thrust into the position of being black South Africa's de facto ambassador to the Western world, where she earned the moniker 'Mama Africa'. Her call for an end to apartheid became increasingly powerful, particularly after the Sharpeville massacres, and her recordings were banned in South Africa."

Music counts as design, doesn't it?

Indaba: A Conference

A while back I mentioned Design Indaba* and that I would one day explain who they are... for those uninitiated, Design Indaba is a collaberation of creative types in South Africa. Associated with it is a magazine, a conference, and lots of other interesting projects. And the motivation behind it? According to Ravi Naidoo, the founder of Design Indaba, after ten years of democratic rule, South Africa has become a hotbed of creative activity: "The story is this: when cultures and people that were forcibly separated under apartheid come together, it’s like a tectonic shift. Sparks are flying."

The conference is held every year, and everyone gets together to talk about design, see design, listen to talks about design... sounds like fun to me. I haven't yet been, and although I've heard mixed reviews, it is very much on my to-do list. Besides international speakers like Jasper Morrison, Tobias Frere-Jones, Neville Brody, Brian Eno and the like, local trail-blazers are also featured. Ones I wish I had seen are Zapiro (South African cartoonist) and Maira Koutsoudakis. Many of these speakers hold workshops and pass on their knowledge.

The Expo is a showcase of SA design that runs alongside the conference. Craft, fashion, jewellry, graphic design, film, new media, publishing, product design, decor and more are displayed for visitors (are you tired yet?)

Throughout the year, while everyone waits on tenderhooks for the next Indaba, a magazine is published. It is one of my favourite web reads... I get to catch up on design issues in South Africa, but also the rest of the world, whether it has to do with music, film, graphic design, art, whatever!

The folks at Design Indaba don't seem to sleep, because besides all this, they launch projects that explore South African design. I quite enjoyed a previous project, Brand the Beloved Country, where agencies were invited to submit a brand campaign for the country. No easy feat, but the results were quite inspiring! I'll share those with you tomorrow.

In the meantime, treat yourself to an interesting podcast. This is Ravi Naidoo, chatting about the Indaba. Sorry about the sound, Ravi talks fast and it's sometimes difficult to hear what he says.

*Indaba is Zulu, and means "issue" or "subject".

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Very exciting stuff… I recently rediscovered, a fantastic blog by Swedish industrial designer Anna,who is situated in Boston just like me. Her blog is lovely, she shares info about her native Sweden, things that inspire her, and the design that we all know and love from that region of the world.

I know I've read some of it before, because I read Anna's entry about how houses in Sweden are red at some point, and I find it completely fascinating and have since bored plenty of friends with the story.

I love that she has some of her industrial design work on the blog, like her shoes for Converse. You can read more about Anna here. is kind of the Swedish version of what I'd like southofthesahara to be. Something to aim for when my blog grows up. Thanks Anna.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Little Bird

A while back I was reading Skinny's blog, and I saw her recent purchase.

I am a birder, one of those people who go on safari and while everyone else is oohing and aahing a pride of lions, my eyes are up to the trees, checking out the bee-eaters, or fish eagle. I just can never get enough of their colors, shapes, sizes and personalities.

I love this scultpure. It is by a Zimbabwean sculptor, Benard Nkanjo, and you can see more of his work at the gallery in Cape Town that represents him. They also carry other work; paintings, and ceramics, but I think the sculptures are the real lure of the website. A little out my price range, but just wonderful to behold.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Package in the Post!

Don't you love it when you get something great in the post? Last weekend I got a surprise package from my friend Ros, who lives in South Africa.

It was filled with ideas, people, products, colour, texture... a feast for the eyes.

Highlights for me were the Coca-Cola crates, as my husband and I already bought a crate from the Brimfield Antiques show this year, in yellow. It's so cool to see the South African version. I will definitely post a picture of ours next week. Also a favourite was the stainless-steel cutlery on the plate. It reminds me of the bone-handle cutlery that I got for my wedding gift from my husband's grandparents. They had received the cutlery set 50 years before for their wedding, but because they already had a set, they didn't use them. Essentially, we got a wonderful set of vintage cutlery that had never been used, and had strong personal meaning for us... that too, next week.

A really nice thing for me in the package was a shot of Ros' work in a local magazine, Food & Home Entertaining. It's so good to see some of her work, because obviously living in Boston, I don't get to share her day to day life. Ros says of this, "Don't you love the shell canvases in the background? I ran around doing lots of shopping for this table!" Sounds like fun, and looks wonderful.

The last thing that I will mention from my package before I run off to read through it all again, is the postcard from DT Designs.

I wish these guys had a website, I'd be ordering new fabric every week! Can you see these gorgeous colours, textures and images on pillows, bags, t-shirts? What would you like to see them as? Ros has them as cushions on her couch. The cream-coloured ones at the back are made up in their fabric.

PS: on a side note, check out Ros' photography, from her travels. I am lucky enough to own some of that work and it's hanging on my wall. More next week!

Retro British

One of my favourite blogs is apparently nothing, which features the work of another very talented South African, Lorissa. I just love the solidness of her images, if you know what I mean. Last week's Salt was gorgeous, but this week's blast from the past is just divine.

Lorissa went to the Blenheim Palace Air Show, and this is what she saw... "it was a great event - a lot of amazing planes. there were some folks dressed circa 1940's which was a lot of fun. i loved this little girl's outfit with her flag."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Colour and Light

A very talented friend of mine paints. He paints beautifully. I love the colours, the light, the movement, that you see in his paintings. Thank you, Henri, for sharing these with me.

This is Joyous In the Future: A Time After Mugabe.


From Henri's website, "This one On Top of Signal Hill captures the special light of summer in Cape Town. "

And, my personal favourite, Looking onto Victorian Cottages in Green Point, South Africa. Pity that one's sold.

You can enjoy more of Henri Carrara's paintings on his website.