Workshops

Bags of Fun

With two festivals behind me and a month to recover, I am now feeling sufficiently revitalised to reflect on my July activities. July is always a busy time of the year for those of us involved in the National Arts Festival, but this year, apart from having an exhibition at The Highlander, I also took time out to travel to Port Elizabeth to teach my Bohemian Bag Workshop at the Siyadala- We Create National Quilt Festival, a biennial feast of all things quilt and textile related. It’s been a long time since I last taught at a national quilt festival, but it didn’t take long to get caught up in the excitement of women with a fabric passion (obsession), having fun!

The work on display at the main exhibition was breathtakingly exquisite, revealing hundreds of hours of painstaking work in each of the many creations. Although my textile work tends to break all the rules, I never fail to be impressed by those whose work keeps within the bounds of convention. When I stand in front of a king size bed quilt, frosted over with a million or more tiny, perfectly shaped and spaced stitches, I know that this is something to be impressed by, for it would be completely beyond my capability. If I were to have the pattern in front of me and see the work that lay ahead, I would give up before I even began. This is not to say I am not capable of hard work, it’s just that when I begin one of my large fibre wall hangings, I have no idea of what work lies ahead, which is why I keep on going. Each stitch, colour or seductive piece of cloth, beckons me forward with the potential of what it could become. I have no idea where I am going, but relinquish the need to know and enjoy the process of discovery. By the time the work is finished with me, I have given it hundreds of my hours, along with sweat and blood.

This perhaps is where the two approaches meet, for both types of fibre fanatics have a desire to make something beautiful and a willingness to devote time and hard work to see its completion. It’s how we go about it that makes us different. Generally traditional quilt makers are committed to working by the rules, which is why their work, so exquisite and precise, receives awards for its excellence. In many ways I think it’s more difficult to be rewarded for kicking dust and forging one’s own path. There are many more pitfalls in unchartered territory, so to hit the right balance and produce a work of art when one doesn’t have a rule book, is really quite an achievement. The art quilts on display were an example of this and the award winners deserved the accolades they received.

My workshop was one of those that didn’t have a kit, nor did it abide by any rules, and I was happy that it attracted those who were keen to play and explore new ways to express their personalities. The Bohemian Bag Workshop offers a perfect opportunity for participants to test their creative impulses in a space that is supportive of their efforts. The project is relatively small and manageable, so happily not overwhelming.

The 14 women who attended my class came very well prepared and it wasn’t long before surfaces were strewn with colourful cloth and there was a hum of happy machines. I have selected a few images from the two day workshop to give you a taste of the scene. You will see from the images that I have every reason to be happy with the outcome. It was a fabulous experience to work with this group and the fruits of their labour speak for themselves.

If you are interested in attending my next two-day workshop, to be held in my studio in Grahamstown, the dates for this event are Saturday 9th and 16th September 2017. I’d love to see you there!

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Open Tabs

I recently visited the optometrist, for what I thought was to be a routine check-up that would enable me to renew my drivers license. After flicking through A’s and D’s and upside down E’s, I was relieved to hear that things weren’t as bad as I expected, and engaged the doctor on the ins and outs of ageing and failing eyesight. I had so many questions that every time he started to speak, another question would pop into my mind. Eventually in desperation, he laughed, put his hands up and said I had too many tabs open and that I needed to put a hold on them so that he could attend to one question at a time. I was amused by his analogy, but appreciated him telling me so directly that this is what I do and as I left his consultation rooms, I felt I had just had an awakening.

Back in my studio a short while later, I stopped for a moment and observed the scene before me. Everywhere I looked were half finished projects, enticing piles of creative energy waiting for my attention. In that moment, I knew that my optometrist was right. I do have multiple tabs open, in the form of numerous projects going on at any one time, and I flit from one to the other like a butterfly gathering nectar. I’m sure a good psychologist would tell me the pitfalls of my process, but this is the way I love to work and the way I stay in the flow, I am never without something to do, and even when I am finishing off a project, the next idea is being born.

So since my visit to the good doctor, I have been examining my situation and been actively closing a few of the tabs that have been slowing down my system. I have finished the beading on a bag begun over a year ago,

A funky example of a bohemian bag

given my aloe a flower

One of a series of small ink drawings

 

and completed that winding road that leads me through the Eastern Cape landscape.

A recent work of a road less travelled

I have made the leaves for a sample bag that I will be using when I teach in Port Elizabeth next week

A sample bag for my Bohemian Bag workshop, which will be taught at the National Quilt Festival 2017 on 3rd and 4th July

and rustled up some flowers

Preparation for The Bohemian Bag Workshop, being taught in PE on 3rd and 4th July

I have taken the last of my paintings in for framing…

Country Road. Chalk Pastel. Sally Scott

Another Road, Another View. Chalk pastel. Sally Scott

…and I have also designed a poster for my Festival exhibition.

I will be showing a few of my recent works in a group exhibition at the National Arts Festival 2017. The exhibition opens 29th June and closes 9th July.

 

So that ticks a few things off the list and now that this blog post is written, another tab is about to be closed, but not before I invite you all to visit our exhibition at The Highlander between the 29th June and 9th July 2017.

 

Stay tuned for feedback on both the exhibition and the bag workshop. I suspect that by then a few more tabs will have opened.

 

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The Great Escape

Getting up on a Monday morning is always quite a challenge, but getting through a week of demanding deadlines, multiple chores, responsibilities, lists and crises, whilst dealing with an increasingly hostile climate of political and economic uncertainty, is enough to leave one feeling completely exhausted. It’s hardly surprising that so many people are stressed, confused, lost and wondering where their sanity has gone. Lets face it, the world is pretty chaotic right now, so it’s very difficult to be normal in a society where the word ‘normal’ is under attack.

So, what can I do about it? Well, for starters I can offer you a place to escape, even just for a few quiet hours, to give you a chance to recover, reflect, play and laugh a little…or a lot! My mission in this life is to spread some positivity, to help one gain some perspective by entering the realm of the creative. And creative is what I saw in the workshop I held in my Grahamstown studio a few weeks ago. I also saw relief, love, laughter, generosity and kindness. I saw women doing what comes naturally when taken out of their stressful environments. They were absorbed, happy and relaxed. They were connecting to a part of themselves that has been calling out for attention…their spirit and their soul.

If you click on the images below, you will get a glimpse into the experience…

So, if you feel you could do with one of these great escapes, I have another two-day workshop starting this coming Saturday 12th and 19th November and there is just one space left! If this is something you would like to do next year, please contact me to put your name on the mailing list. In my next post, I hope to bring you some images of the bags that were created in the 2016 workshops.

bohemian-bag-advert-siyadala-3

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Bags

As the first of my Bohemian Bag Workshops comes to a close, I have been reflecting upon my fascination with this humble little accessory. Where does my interest stem from and why is it that a beautifully beaded or embroidered bag can put a smile on my face and get my heart racing?

For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to beaded and embroidered bags and as a young girl growing up in Botswana, I remember being enthralled by the beaded leather pouches of the San, and recall with great clarity, seeing an exquisite example of one, framed upon a friend’s wall.

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An example of a beaded San pouch

These artifacts left an indelible mark on my psyche and much of my textile work has been inspired by these beautifully crafted, functional little artworks.  When I page through any of the lavishly illustrated African art coffee table books that stand upon my bookshelf, it is invariably the images of bags that attract me,  be they the sumptuous  leather camel bags of the Tuareg or the richly coloured, beaded medicine pouches of the Yoruba diviner.

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An example of a Tuareg camel bag

 

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The medicine pouch of a Yoruba diviner

Over the years I have gathered a small collection of my own, and amongst my most prized possessions is a small leather wallet with metal- studded tassels, typical of those worn by the men of the Fingo tribe of South Africa.

On a trip through the USA during the 1990’s, I was totally enthralled by Native American beadwork, and loaded my suitcase with books on the subject that I have looked at and been inspired by over and over again. The little pouches, with tassels and elaborate beaded patterns, never failing to excite me. At a pueblo I visited in New Mexico, I was able to acquire a small little pouch that now hangs upon my wall.

Then a trip to Sweden, took me through the museums of Stockholm and I discovered embroidered purses like I had never seen before.

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Swedish folk costume bag 1916

That set me off, and for the week that followed, my friend Janet and I sat at her dining room table, piled high with fabrics, felt and embroidery silks, creating our own little gems.

Women at work ... making bags

Women at work … making bags

Making bags in Sweden

Making bags in Sweden

And then I came upon gypsy bags, those colourful, quirky, assemblages of beads, buttons, tassels and trims, and knew that I just had to have one for myself, but as Grahamstown is not exactly a hippie hangout, I realized I would have to make my own…

My bohemian bag

My bohemian bag

That’s how the workshop was born and judging by the enthusiasm of my first group of bag making students, I can see there will be plenty more workshops to come.

So, what is it that makes a woman love a beautiful bag? Like shoes, many women are attracted to them like magnets. Is it because they carry our most precious possessions, our documents and money that prove who we are and give us the freedom to move through our daily lives? Possibly, but there is definitely something more, and it’s in the process of making one, that I discover a whole new layer of meaning. The process is both absorbing and healing, a kind of meditation that takes one away from the troubles of this world. But beware, it can also become addictive and often, whilst I’m working on one, there is another forming in my mind!

Over the years I have created numerous bags, pouches and purses, for a variety of different reasons and so for the purpose of this post, went digging in my archives to find a few to share. My bags are not always practical, but usually soulful, symbolic and tend to reflect the place, both emotional and geographical that I was in at the time I made them. If you click on the images below, you can enlarge and enjoy:

In my next post, I will bring you some of the action and outcomes from the first of the Bohemian Bag Workshops. I have another one planned for November, so if you feel like escaping the madness out there and joining us for two days of soothing, healing therapy, please let me know.

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Bohemian Bag Workshop

I will be holding a two-day creative sewing workshop in my Grahamstown art studio on Saturday 15th/22nd October 2016.

bohemian-bag-advert-siyadala-3

This workshop brings together my interest in fashion, design, sewing, beading, embroidery, applique and fabric manipulation, and combines it with my interest in people, their life stories and my belief that creativity can heal.

It is guaranteed to be a fun workshop, where you can make a bag or purse that can be as funky and over-the-top as you wish. It may be any size or shape and you can use whatever materials you wish. You can go crazy with embellishments and I will be there to teach you all the skills you need for the process.

With fashion trends currently being inspired by the 1960’s and 70’s hippie era, this is the perfect time to make yourself or someone else a trendy fashion accessory.

Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm

Cost: R680.00

Space will be limited, so sign up today for a workshop you will enjoy! I look forward to seeing you there.

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Art Journaling Workshop – April 2016

My posts have been a bit sparse this year, and I apologize for that, but with less than three months to go until the opening of our sibling exhibition at the National Arts Festival, my attention has been elsewhere. However, to keep me sane and balanced I have kept a selection of Saturday mornings open for group creativity, and in February this year we had the first of my Art Journaling Workshops. It was great fun and for those who attended, light relief from the pressure of work and everyday living. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning and an opportunity to fulfill those New Year resolutions “to be more creative this year”.

So what is art journaling, apart from being the latest craze to have hit the Western world?

Advert poster for workshop 3

First and foremost Art Journaling is a fun opportunity to relax and indulge in a bit of ‘me’ time.On the surface of it the process may appear to be child’s play, with fingers in paint, dollops of glue, snipping paper into pieces whilst playing with collage and pages of colourful writing, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is frivolous or meaningless, for below the surface of all this activity run currents of serious thought and great depths of meaning. The process is extremely therapeutic and the themes that participants explore, vary from personal issues that need to be dealt with, to experiences that want to be celebrated. Anything and everything is suitable subject for exploration, so family history, spirituality, miracles, faith, travels, adventures, observations, opinions, personal experiences and poetry are all fertile ground to explore.

The beauty of journaling is that it adds another dimension to the written word and offers a space where one can make one’s thoughts visible through drawings, paintings, scribbles, sketches, maps, photographs and an assortment of techniques that add impact to the imagery and allow for variation in colour and size of fonts and text. It’s a tactile process and allows for a sensory connection to the work. The direct, hands on creativity allows for insights to develop as the pages unfold, which often inspires more writing and desire for visual translation, and so the story goes…

Each designated Saturday morning, students arrive at my studio, enjoy tea and snacks in my abundant indigenous garden and then get down to work or play, whichever way one looks at it. They work on ‘pages’ that will eventually come together as a book, or they work in old books, breathing into them new life.

Our next Art Journaling session will be this next Saturday 16th April 2016, so if you are interested in joining this band of happy creatives, please contact me and book your place. There are only a couple of spaces left!

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Workshops for 2016

Welcome back to my Studio. It’s time to let you know what creative projects I have planned for 2016.

The big focus for the first half of the year will be on the exhibition that I will be having with my siblings, Nicky Rosselli and Anthony Stidolph (alias Stidy) at this years National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. I will be bringing you updates and more information on this exhibition soon.

Meanwhile, I have some exciting workshops lined up for 2016, the details of which are below.

Weekly Drawing Classes

Drawing ad with black outline

The drawing classes are held in the relaxed and informal space of my studio, and are specifically geared for students who have little or no previous experience, but who would like to learn to draw.

The course is well structured, with each session building on the one before and students never fail to learn very quickly, often amazed at what they find themselves capable of doing.

The classes are specifically about learning to see things clearly, and then becoming familiar with the various mediums, working with pencil, pen, ink wash, charcoal, pencil colour, chalk pastel, oil pastel, mixed media and collage. Once the basics are covered, we then explore themes, developing skills as we go.

There are numerous benefits to learning to draw, but it is the relaxing, therapeutic aspect that is most often commented upon. The groups are small and everyone works at their own pace in an atmosphere of mutual support.

Class options are:

Tuesday and Thursday evenings: 6-8pm

Friday Mornings: 10am – 12pm

There is a possibility of an afternoon class if there is sufficient demand.

Cost: R140 per session, paid in advance at the beginning of each month.

Space is limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Creative Art Journaling Workshops

Advert poster for workshop 3

Creative Art Journaling has become enormously popular in recent years, as it offers the individual a creative way to document thoughts, ideas, memories, experiences, observations and feelings using a combination of the written word and a variety of visual art techniques. These mini artwork pages can eventually come together as a book. Workshops will be held in my Studio on Saturday mornings 9.30am – 12pm on the following dates:

Sat 27th February

Sat 2nd April

Sat 28th May

Sat 30th July

Sat 3rd September

Sat 1st October

Sat 5th November

Cost: R220.00 per session

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Red Shoe Workshop

Red Shoe Poster with text-1

This is without doubt my most important workshop to date. I invite women of all ages into the safe and supportive environment of my Art Studio to share stories about their lives and to make soft shoes that reflect the journey they have taken.

Based loosely on “The Red Shoe” story by Hans Christian Anderson, the workshop allows one to assess and focus upon what is really important in one’s life. The process is fun, at times hilarious, but the results are always beautiful and profound. Born out of my own personal experience and understanding of suffering, the workshop is fluid, ever moving and changes according to the needs of the group with whom I am working.

The workshop is suitable for all skill levels and no prior sewing or shoe construction experience is needed, as what you don’t know, I will teach you. It’s a great chance to play and explore your creativity and each pair of shoes will be as individual as its maker.

To date almost 300 pairs of shoes have been made, by women from all walks of life. What I have learned is immeasurable, but the overriding lesson has been that despite our differences, we all understand what it is to be a woman.

Provisional dates for this 3-Day creative workshop, which is spread over 4 days are:

4th March: 2-5pm

5th March: 9am – 4pm

11th March: 2-5pm

12th March: 9am – 4pm

Cost: R990.00

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Bohemian Bags

Bohemian Bag Advertwith text

I am passionate about textiles and have had many years of experience working in the field of fibre art. This workshop brings together my interest in fashion, design, sewing, beading, embroidery, appliqué and fabric manipulation and combines it with my interest in people, their life stories and my belief that creativity can heal.

It is guaranteed to be a fun workshop where you can make a bag or purse that can be as funky and over-the-top as you wish it to be. It may be any size and any shape and you can use whatever materials you wish. You can go crazy with embellishments and I will be there to guide you and teach you any skills you may need for the process.

With fashion trends currently being inspired by the 1960’s and 70’s hippie era, this is the perfect time to make yourself or someone else a trendy fashion accessory.

This fun 2-day creative sewing workshop, held on the following days:

7th May: 9am – 4pm

14th May: 9am – 4pm

Cost: R660.00

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

For more information on all these workshops, please visit my website:

www.sallyscott.co.za

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Creative Art Journaling Workshop

I have a particular affection for the province of Limpopo, an area of South Africa that is steeped in history and bursting at the seams with its rich cultural heritage. It is one of the few places in the country where one can have the privilege of meeting local artists and crafters in their home villages, surrounded by their amazing hand crafts. In a world where the authentic is fast becoming something of the past, this area still has small pockets of authenticity, where mass consumerism hasn’t completely obliterated traditional craft art. My need for authenticity has drawn me back to this area several times over the past few years, and whilst I do see changes, the delight of traveling into rural Limpopo never fades. Without fail, after each of these visits, I have returned to my own home on the other side of the country, inspired, revitalised and ready to get back to my own creativity.

It was with this appreciation for the area in mind, that I decided to embark on a new creative project, one that combines my love of travel with my interest in the arts. I have been teaching drawing and fibre art for many years and last year added creative art journaling to the mix. So when Marcelle Bosch of Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge approached me about the possibility of organising an art journaling workshop in conjunction with the village tours they run, I jumped at the opportunity.

So, it is now with great pleasure that I invite you to join me on a four-day creative art journaling experience from 1st – 4th July 2015, at the Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge, which is situated at the foot of the magnificent Soutpansberg Mountains, near Louis Trichardt (Machado).

Final advert for Madi a Thavha workshop-outline 3

The four star luxury lodge is nestled in a magnificent natural environment with the comforting backdrop of the mountain. The rooms are comfortable and colourfully decorated with the work of Limpopo’s craft artists. Workshop participants will stay at the hotel and have all meals included.

The workshop will begin with a one day field trip out into the villages of the area, where, with the help of an experienced tour guide, we will explore markets, businesses and homesteads, famous for their wall paintings and get a glimpse into daily rural life. We will meet local artists and crafters, surrounded by their pots, sculptures, musical instruments and bead work, as well as travel through some very impressive scenery. The outing will give us a chance to talk to local people, take photographs and generally gather inspiration and material to use over the next three days, when I will take you through the process of visually documenting your experience.

Limpopo is famous for it's beautiful clay African pots

Limpopo is famous for it’s beautiful clay African pots

In the workshop you will spend your time creating a journal that visually expresses your response to our outing into the villages. We will use a variety of techniques and mediums, and for those who are insecure about their talents, I will provide basic instruction in drawing, painting and collage, with ideas to incorporate the written word. With the limited time available, it is unlikely that you will complete your journal, but it will certainly mark the beginning of a process that can keep you busy for many years to come.

Booking for the workshop has now opened, so if you are keen to come or need more information, please contact Marcelle at info@madiathavha.com

Please note that space is limited and booking closes on 31st May 2015.

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Images of the Self

When I set out in my career all those years ago, I had no idea that one day I would have the privilege of working with so many creatively talented young people, whose zest for life and willingness to tackle the various challenges I give them, is truly inspirational. I reflect on this as I watch this year’s group of Drama Masters students from Rhodes University exploring issues surrounding their image and identity. They take it seriously, they do what I ask and they do it well, and in the process they learn a lot, both about themselves and each other. What more could a teacher ask for? It is a perfect way for this new group, who will be working together for the next two years, to bond, understand and respect one another. (Click to enlarge the images)

The group are young, enthusiastic and have clearly done their homework, for the discussion that arises from the text I have asked them to read reveals that they have gone far below the surface. This is a good place to start, for this workshop requires that superficiality be left at the door. As the process begins, I watch the anxiety diminishing, as each of the students settles into their space and confronts the tasks before them. As always, the air of fun camaraderie permeates the room, ensuring that the rest will be plain sailing.

By the final day, with the work now finished, the students introduce and share their creations. It is a time of wonder as the others in the group get to hear the stories that surround the making of the shoes and have a chance to inspect them. It is clear that the soles that emerge from the workshop, are an accurate portrayal of the souls who conceived and produced them.

Once again, I am awed by the magic of creativity, in its ability to overtake a situation in ways that I could never have predicted. The group arrives, they are a little anxious for they have no idea what will be expected of them. The space, ambient and supportive is ready for them, as am I, although I too have no idea what will come from our meeting. But I have faith in these bright young souls before me and trust that the creative process will take them to the place where they need to be. This workshop never fails to surprise me. It just keeps getting better and stronger and more determined to touch the lives of young people who are on the brink of launching out into the world. It will help them, it will guide them and it will help them to know themselves. I can never predict what course the workshop will take, for each time it is different, depending upon the way the group unknowingly takes it. Like all good creative projects, it is an intangible force that carries us all along for the ride and leaves us in a better place than we were before the journey started.

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Come Journaling with Me

Spring is here… and with it comes a brand new workshop!

Advert poster for workshop 2olweb

The Art Journaling workshop brings together many of my interests, and promises to be a rich and rewarding experience. Like most of my workshops, this one has had a long gestation period… from the time I first got the idea to the moment I was ready to share it. There’s a great saying that “Artists don’t get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working — Stephen DeStaebler, and this has certainly been the case here. So it was with great joy and an enormous amount of relief that I opened the doors of my studio today and invited in nine very enthusiastic ladies for a morning of creative fun.

After months of dry, windy weather, that brought with it a swathe of devastating bush fires that smothered our city in smoke, yesterday saw us wrapped up in winter woolies, battling against the elements of gale force wind, ice and rain. This morning, however, I awoke to blue skies and the promise of a sunny day, which was a relief, for it’s always much better to have sunshine when going out to play! We had a wonderful day and I look forward to the next gathering in a little over a month.

There are four sessions in this introductory phase, which should be enough time to cover the basics. Throughout next year, I hope to continue the course, exploring new themes and techniques on a monthly basis. Anyone interested in joining us, should contact me for further information. I will be bringing you updates as we go.

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