Posts Tagged With: Grahamstown

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.


Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, Landscapes, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


In two weeks time the sleepy hollow of Grahamstown will be rocked by the National Arts Festival once again. This  year I am joining forces with my talented siblings, brother Anthony and sister Nicky, both accomplished artists, to bring what we hope will be an interesting exhibition of our work. We come from a big family of pioneering stock and have had an amazingly rich, though somewhat off-beat upbringing. There is much that I could tell you, but will leave it to my eloquent brother to explain a little of the background to our exhibition…

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“Artists Anthony Stidolph, Sally Scott and Nicky Rosselli grew up in a large family of seven children in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). While they were all still relatively young, their father, an experienced airline pilot and free ranging spirit who had served with distinction in various bomber squadrons during the war, suddenly decided that the life he had really been born for was that of a farmer.

Acting, as he invariably did, on such ill-thought out impulses he quit his job, cashed in his life savings, bought a battered old Land-Rover and proceeded to relocate the entire family, lock, stock and barrel, to one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Zimbabwe’s Nyanga Mountains.

Although the area proved ill-suited for agriculture and the farm was never a financial success it was a wonderful place to grow up.

Bordered on the east by the great wall of the Nyanga mountain range, the landscape seemed to possess an uplifting, transcendental, almost spiritual quality; it’s beauty penetrated the soul. Every now and again, in life, one comes across a place which for some mysterious reason exerts a deep personal attraction and the farm did just that for all three children.

It provided them with some of their richest childhood memories and would go on to play a pivotal role in their subsequent artistic, spiritual and emotional development. It was here that their love for nature, for places still regarded as wild, came from.

Moving to South Africa, albeit at different times and in pursuit of slightly varying goals, the three siblings mutual passion for landscape would continue to nourish and sustain them, each, in their own way, endeavouring to observe and capture the scenery that has inspired them over the years without pretence or posture.

Always something of a humourist, Anthony would choose to go into the field of political cartooning, where he worked for The Witness newspaper under the nom-de-guerre “Stidy” for almost 26-years, while his sister Sally’s early interest in batik work would later transform itself into a distinguished career in Fabric Art (and, in turn, pastel work) which would see her win several international awards for her innovative pieces. Nicky, very much the family afterthought, also inherited her mother’s artistic genes (the other four family members chose to follow more scientific paths) establishing an early reputation as a highly talented and original  artist and etcher while, at the same time, opening and running her own Art Gallery with her husband John.

Over the years which have followed, Anthony Sally and Nicky have continued to regard their art as a form of self-examination, providing not only a reflection of the physical world without but the secret world within. For each one, art is not only a vocation to be expressed but lived as well.

Employing the notion of travel as a metaphor for living, this joint family exhibition serves, then, as a both a record and a re-evaluation of three journeys that began from the same starting point in another country many years ago. Although their roads may have diverged and detoured along the way, Anthony, Sally and Nicola’s lives have remained linked by a shared passion and a common ancestral background.

As such their work is infused with a certain homesickness, a longing to connect and get back to a place – or places – that exemplify their early ideal of happiness.

Intensely personal and reflective of their continuing bond with the earth, the artwork bears out TS Eliot’s poetic statement on how the end of all our seeking is to arrive back at the beginning and know the place for the first time…”

Anthony, Nicky and Sally in Botswana 1972

Anthony, Nicky and Sally in Botswana 1972

The exhibition will be officially opened at 5.30pm on 29th June and will thereafter be open daily 9am-5pm  30th June – 10th July. The artists will be in attendance.

Categories: Exhibitions | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Summertide Exhibition

For those of my friends who will be in Grahamstown over the Christmas season, there is an exhibition worth visiting at the Festival Gallery, 38 Somerset St. The exhibition, Summertide, is now open and includes a selection of E.Cape artists work, including two of my Waterlily series.

festival gallery INFO-01

Lily #4 Size: 47cm x 35cm. Medium: Chalk Pastel

‘Nymphaea #4’ by Sally Scott. Size: 47cm x 35cm. Medium: Chalk Pastel

Please visit and enjoy!

Categories: Exhibitions, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inspiring Exhibitions at Festival 2014

For over thirty years I have loyally and enthusiastically attended our annual National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, initially as a visitor from out of town, but more recently as a Grahamstown resident. It has been an interesting ride all round, watching and experiencing the changes in our times and more specifically the changes within our country, as seen through the eyes of the artists who perform and exhibit here.

Every year I go in search of something or someone who will inspire me to reach beyond my comfort zone and motivate me to better my own performance. Inevitably, I find  what I am looking for and often in the most unexpected places. This year was no different and my ‘ah!’ moment came as I walked into Fabricate, the retrospective exhibition of The Handspring Puppet Company in the Thomas Pringle Hall on the upper level of the Monument building. It was so unexpected, which made it all the more wonderful. At the entrance I was greeted by a magnificent rearing stallion.

Warhorse, made by the Handspring Puppet Company

War Horse, made by the Handspring Puppet Company

Beyond the stallion, I was lured into a gathering of beautifully crafted wooden characters, personalities from a variety of well known shows that have been performed over the past 22 years in more than 30 countries around the world. The works are rich in texture and personality, making it difficult for the viewer to pull away.

I left the gallery feeling that I had experienced something really special. Good craftsmanship is rare these days, but this exhibition is so much more than technical ability. One can feel the involvement of the artists and the passion that lies behind each and every work.

With the images of the exhibition still in my mind, I was delighted to find out that Joey, a naturalistic puppet horse sculpted from cane and the lead character from the production of  War Horse, would be out meeting the people in the gardens of Rhodes University. I got there just in time to see a very convincing horse, being led around the garden with a young child on it’s back. What was so incredible is that despite the two extra pairs of legs of the puppeteers, Joey was a horse and I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact a puppet.

Joey, the lead character from the production of War Horse, takes children for rides in the grounds of Rhodes University

Joey, the lead character from the production of War Horse, takes children for rides in the grounds of Rhodes University

Beautifully crafted from cane, Joey will be performing in War Horse that is set to tour South Africa from October to December 2014

Beautifully crafted from cane, Joey will be performing in War Horse that is set to tour South Africa from October to December 2014

The puppeteers create very convincing movements that make one believe this is a real horse

The puppeteers create very convincing movements that make one believe this is a real horse

The other exhibition that I found exciting was Christine Dixie’s To Be King. Visually mesmerizing, this multi-media exhibition stirred up feelings of transience, the impermanence of things and memories of times gone by. Beautifully executed, the ever changing scene kept one riveted to the screen.

Another exhibition that had a similar effect was Homing, by Jenna Burchell, though her method was completely different. Entering the exhibition space, one was invited into a web of vertically placed copper strings, that on touching emitted different sounds, recalling a sense of place. Unlike Dixie’s work, that was completely engrossing on a private, individual level, this exhibition allowed for interaction with other viewers. As I touched a string the bells of a cathedral rang out, at the same time as another viewer’s string emitted a different sound. It allowed for play and repetition, and soon we were making music.

In the Standard Bank Gallery of the Albany Museum, it was a treat to see the work of previous Standard Bank Young Artist award winners in the exhibition 14/30, in particular Walter Oltmann, William Kentridge and Peter Schutz, whose work I have always found inspiring.

Walter Oltmann, winner 2001, Gombessa

Walter Oltmann, winner 2001, Gombessa (Coelocanth)2013, made from aluminium wire

Peter Schutz, winner 1984

Peter Schutz, winner 1984. Wood

Peter Schutz

Peter Schutz

Wim Botha’s exhibition in the adjoining room, was challenging and fascinating. The centre piece of the show, Study for the Epic Mundane (2013), is powerful, constructed of books that have been bolted together and sculpted into two figures, whose relationship is a little ambiguous. Many of the other works have been sculpted in a similar vein, all using unusual everyday materials…books, polystyrene and picture frame moulding.

Wim Botha Exhibition

Wim Botha Exhibition

Wim Botha

Wim Botha

There were a myriad of other exhibitions at this year’s Fest, but unfortunately time ran out and I wasn’t able to see them all. Those I did see have helped ‘to fill the well’, and now it’s time to return to my studio to see what I can produce. No more excuses. It’s time to get down to work.

The visitors have gone, and as Grahamstown quietly readjusts to normality, discarded posters lie flapping in the wind. We set our sights on Festival 2015 and all that this will bring.



Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Festival Exhibition 2014

When I woke this morning and went out into my winter garden, I could feel it in the air. It is the mood of Grahamstown the week before the National Arts Festival. There is a peculiar calm that descends upon our little city the week before the Festival, a sense of anticipation of what is about to come. However, the stillness of this early morning reverie belies the manic activity that is going on behind the scenes in art departments and studios, theatre venues, shops, restaurants and the numerous b&b’s that are all busily preparing for the hordes to arrive. If the university is the lifeblood of this little city, then the Festival is the injection that keep us all alive. We depend upon it for our survival, both financially and culturally. There are already a few new faces in town, the technicians who have come from the big cities to create the settings for the shows. This is when the excitement begins, for a sense of new energy has arrived.

In a few days time, thousands of people will move into the city, and for a little over a week our lives will be temporarily transformed. There will be no parking, roads will be closed, and every available wall space will be plastered with posters that advertise the hundreds of exhibitions and shows. Life for normal Grahamstonians both closes down and comes alive.

Here are a few images from last year’s Festival Parade

The air is chilly, but the sun is shining and I push my feet through piles of fallen oak leaves and sit in the warmth of the sun to drink my tea, watching the birds and listening to the sounds of our sleepy city gradually coming to life. This is the calm before the storm. I’ve been keeping a low profile for the past few months, because I have been working on a large commission. I feel satisfied with the work I have produced, but as a result of this distraction, have not had time to put together a formal exhibition for the Festival. I do however have a fair selection of work available for sale, so will be having a display of these works in my art studio. If anyone should be interested to see the work, please contact me to arrange a time for viewing.

A selection of my work will be on show in my studio. Viewing by appointment only

A selection of work will be on show in my art studio during the National Arts Festival 2014. Viewing by appointment only.

Festival is always a fun time in Grahamstown and this year, it’s 40th anniversary, should really be a good one! I will keep you updated with news and images of the festivities in my next post. So, watch this space…!

Categories: Exhibitions, Fibre Art, Landscapes, My Studio | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Festival 2013 Exhibition

There’s a flurry of activity in the studio at the moment, and with only a month to go, there’s not much time left until my exhibition opens at the Carinus Arts Centre, Grahamstown. This exhibition will be a Fringe event at the National Arts Festival 2013.

The exhibition, entitled Delta & Desert: Journeys Into the Wilderness will be opening on Wednesday 26th June. All are welcome.

To give you a hint of what is to come, here is the exhibition poster:

Poster 2

An exhibition of recent works, inspired by my journeys into the Okavango Delta of Botswana, and the Richtersveld of South Africa.

I will be bringing you more on this shortly…

Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, Fibre Art, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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