Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Earth is Watching Us

Still, the dark red, orange, umber, or mineral landscape is stretched before us like the foreshadowing of a vision. [...] The burnished terracotta of the pots reflects the light [...]. The texture of each vessel’s surface is equal to our own. For the earth is watching us....

Nimrod Liane (poet and philosopher, born in Chad 1959)

At the moment, running to the end of March, you can see an exhibit of African bowls woven from 18 carat gold. Inspired by traditional African bowls, and literally bringing the craft to a fine art, Threads of Africa is a collaborative that allows weavers to support their families by creating these unique pieces. Some go for as high as R300 000 (with the current South African Rand to US Dollar exchange rate, that's about $37 500).

The exhibit is in Cape Town, at the Gold of Africa Barbier Mueller Museum.

The traditional of pot making in Africa goes back a long way. These are what they look like... the first images are pots from South Africa, and the second from other countries.

These pots were the starting point for the gold bowls. A template of sorts was made, and then used to form the gold around. The gold is so pure it becomes brittle quickly (as you'll know if you watched the video) so the ceramic pot is a structure to help build the shape. The artists not only use gold, but copper, silver, brass and shakudo (shakudo is a mix of gold and copper... I had to look it up!)

Mgongo Ngubane weaving at his home.

Bracelets are also part of the Threads of Africa project. You can see how they are traditionally worn for a wedding (perhaps I should've said bracelets and anklets.

I know a South African university bought six bowls for thank you gifts to prominent donors, but gosh, wish I could have something like this in my home. I lurve stuff like this.

Thank you again to David for bringing this to my attention, it is certainly right up my street. If you'd like to read more please go here. There is lots of interesting history and other delicious info and facts to enjoy.

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