Oustok - Jongstok: A contemporary craft exhibition

You are cordially invited to “Oustok- Jongstok”, a visual dialogue between a ceramicist grandmother and a contemporary jeweller granddaughter. Find out more details about the exhibition here.

After two years abroad, I am returning to exhibit in and visit a place that has played a significant role in shaping who I am today: Brandwag (not to be confused with the other Brandwag, even closer to Stellenbosch), a little farm nestled between the vineyards on the exact spot where the sandy dunes of the Cape Flats meet the first boulders of the Cape Granite Suite (of which Paarl Mountain is the most well-known example). My grandparents bought this place in the 1980’s when they relocated from the Free State.

A glimpse of my beloved Brandwag.

A glimpse of my beloved Brandwag.

Although tiny compared to its neighbours, Brandwag offered enough space to serve as a diverse learning ground for myself and my brother. We only lived on the farm itself for about six years, but frequent visits allowed us to stay intimately acquainted with the farm environment and its natural cycles. Now, it harbours the memories of countless childhood and adolescent adventures, stories of discovering and becoming, of watching things grow and nurturing them and watching them fade again.

 Here, we watched my grandmother throw pots in her workshop and followed her around the house to observe the daily tasks of an experienced farm manager. We played in the garden under the large oaks, picked fruit, hid in the reeds, watched the sheep with their adorable, feeble-legged new-born lambs, gave new, made-up names to the wildflowers. We watched everything dance in unison as the seasons faded into each other, we became part of that rhythm. Above all, it is here on this farm and in that time of my life, I believe, that I learned the importance of two things: of making with our hands, and of acquiescing to the power of nature.

Time passing.

Time passing.

The vineyards there serve as the most prominent markers of time passing – rusted leaves slowly corroding into nakedness in winter, then an explosion of lime green in spring, followed by a darkening of greens everywhere and mutating of leaves into large, weathered things, and finally those ripe grapes, stickiness on sultry summer afternoons.

I will be showing contemporary jewellery accompanied by watercolour and ink paintings that attempt to capture a dream-like, paradisiacal space within nature.

I will be showing contemporary jewellery accompanied by watercolour and ink paintings that attempt to capture a dream-like, paradisiacal space within nature.

One hill of cabernet sauvignon was planted when I was born, and in vineyard terms, it is quite old. Many farmers will rip an almost thirty-year-old vineyard out to make space for younger vines that can perhaps yield a more profitable harvest. But what does more profitable really mean? More grapes, more money? Perhaps yes, but not better quality. It is often the oldest vineyards that produce grapes of the most outstanding quality, though they may gradually become fewer each year. I always feel a pang of sadness when I see yet another pile of torn-out, twisted roots on the side of a ploughed and bare vineyard, just good enough for fire wood now.  

The vineyard is not just a thing to be used, harvested, depleted. It is an environment, an eco-system that shelters whole life cycles, short ones and immeasurably long ones, cycles in field-mouse-time and cycles in geological time. When I stand there, in the middle of the vineyard, I myself feel part of a large and moving and circular force, I feel sheltered. I feel energised by this life force that gives and takes and moves.

Our 1990 vineyard of cabernet sauvignon turning the colour of rust and amber and rubies in autumn.

Our 1990 vineyard of cabernet sauvignon turning the colour of rust and amber and rubies in autumn.

To celebrate our living and our making, I am showing my newest collection of contemporary jewellery and watercolour paintings alongside my grandmother, Konstanze Harms’, timeless ceramics. Both our work reflects a deep respect for nature, a love of organic forms and a devotion to meticulous, time-consuming craftsmanship.

A kiln packed to the brim with unglazed ceramics by Konstanze Harms.

A kiln packed to the brim with unglazed ceramics by Konstanze Harms.

Large ceramic bowls by Konstanze Harms in the slanted evening sun.

Large ceramic bowls by Konstanze Harms in the slanted evening sun.

You are invited to join us for a glass of wine and a talk by Rosa Krüger at the opening on September 14th at 16:00. You are of course welcome to bring friends and partners, just please let us know if you are planning to come so we can accommodate everyone in terms of parking and beverages (Tel:021 881 3435 or info@norakovats.com).

The exhibition will run from the 15th to the 21st of September, be opened daily between 11:00 and 18:00, and end with a Finissage coffee and tea gathering – for all those that couldn’t make it to the opening – on the 21st at 16:00. You can find a map of the location here (coordinates: 33°58'35.4"S 18°44'59.8"E).

Looking forward to your visit!

Spring Explosion. Wall art/painting. Enamel on copper, black freshwater pearls, nylon, mixed gemstones, watercolour, ink, Fabriono paper.

Spring Explosion. Wall art/painting. Enamel on copper, black freshwater pearls, nylon, mixed gemstones, watercolour, ink, Fabriono paper.