Bahia Art's Blog

Bahia Art – A Husband’s Opinion

Michele working with her screen prints another fabulous piece of hand printed textile soon to see the light. Bahia Art Dundee
Labouring away…

Well, we knew that we were moving to the sticks, so to speak, but we had no inkling that it would inspire one of the brightest sparks that I have ever seen. We built a studio for Michele when we moved here almost nine years ago, as she was an ardent potter at the time. No novice either, as she had produced some of the most stunning ceramic pieces it was ever my good luck to see and experience.

The SA Ceramics Regional Exhibition in Durban thought so, too. Something else was missing, however, Michele was not a trained textile designer for nothing, it seemed. The next aware moment I had, was of her starting to fiddle with bag patterns, bag making bibles and a mindboggling array of textile samples, paint pots, brushes (many, many brushes…!!) and long, mind-numbing hours of reading technical manuals. Ok, so the first successful handbag did not exactly pounce on us like a hungry tiger, panting to be released. We were sitting in Dundee, in the back of beyond in Kwazulu-Natal, remember…?

Many frustrating phone calls, negotiating with supremely unsympathetic suppliers, who wanted us to buy everything in bulk and then ship it in to Dundee, started to nag at me, breeding all kinds of suspicions that they do not want small studios to succeed. We wanted a bag of D-rings, but they said we must buy 500 of them. We wanted 50 metres of natural cotton fibre, but they said we must take a 1000 meters. Minimum order, you see…? But this girl of mine persevered. She camped on the internet and the phone, and bought every book and magazine she could lay her hands on. The little Internet shop was her dream. She had stars in her eyes when that first bag appeared on the table, and what a thing of beauty it was. Twenty bags later, and a long slog on the computer (we were still pretty much feeling our way through WordPress ) we had all the bags on the website.

The clock was creeping towards midnight. She looked at me and said she wanted to check her email. just quickly, mind you. There was the first bag order. Sitting in the inbox, smiling at us. The next morning there were many more, and before sundown that next day, all the bags were gone. Wow…!!! The respect began to grow in me, but I said nothing, at first. Trouble began to manifest itself in the shape of capricious suppliers, who changed the rules with every single order. This led to more frustration, and new plans. Back to the Internet, and she started to strike gold, albeit only temporary in some respects. You would get the most beautiful cotton fibre ribbon from a supplier with the first order, and with the next one they would very prissily inform you that they are no longer keeping that ribbon. Silk screen-printing was a familiar old friend, and Michele soon began to print her own ribbons. I stood in the door of the studio and watched, with my jaw dropping lower and lower with every batch that came out from under that little woman’s hands. She though of sending a letter and some pictures to the Ideas magazine.

She did write a letter to TUIS, the Afrikaans version of the Home magazine, sending them a picture of her beautifully printed little ceramic tiles. The Idea submission fell though the cracks, but we did make contact with them later, and then the gods of Fortune smiled upon Bahia Art for the very first time. Both the Ideas and TUIS magazine came out with her tiles and bags, and that at the same time….!!!! The response was one of awe. We started running with bag orders, and people started writing about her. I watched from the sidelines, a non-combatant in this eternal war of publicity. Michele was working like a demon to satisfy all the environmental factors that now impinged upon her personal bubble. We had to look for new sowing machines. The eternal capitalist battle with the competition, whom I still think sucks big time, if you compare the utter quality of Michele’s work, down to the minutest  detail, was only just beginning. No band of formerly disadvantaged personalities sitting on the shop floor, stitching bag skeletons together yet. No cooks or bottlewashers. just Michele, a few printing screens, hundreds of detailed little colourful minutiae, a bullterrier, tons of textiles, infinitesimal patience and good old-fashioned talent. You go, girl…!!!!!   Thank you kindly for reading our post. Please feel free to comment, and find us on Facebook.   Michele can be found on or on the attached Facebook link. Go subscribe to the newsletter now and don’t miss an update again   Johannes…..

Bahia Art’s Blog: Waarmee is ons besig ?

Ons is besig met ons Kersvoorraad wat ons beplan om vanaf einde Oktober op ons webwerf beskikbaar te hê.    Dit vereis natuurlik dat ons met kleur speel en eksperimenteer, wat ‘n heerlike manier van werk.  ‘n Bevoorregte manier sou ek sê …. maar dan moet ek ook dankie sê aan julle wat ons gereeld ondersteun en besoek en daardeur vir ons inspireer om meer en beter te doen.  Dankie daarvoor !!!

Hier is waarmee ons nou besig is:

Michele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee Art studio handprinted natural cotton ribbons ceramics fabricsMichele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramicsMichele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramics

Ons het hierdie ontwerp op ons screen gehad daarom is alles dieselfde patroon.   Ons is besig met ons nuwe ontwerpe waarvan party van hulle in hierdie kleurkombinasies sal wees.  Ons gebruik baie selde komersiële lap.  Ons koop gewoonlik effekleur lappe en silk screen dan ons eie ontwerpe daarop in ons eie kleurkombinasies.  Dus gebruik ons unieke lappe om ons handsakke van te maak.  Ons is besig met twee nuwe Handsak-ontwepe, so besoek ons gereeld om op hoogte te bly van die vordering.


Michele Hamman Bahia Art ceramics Dundee art studio handprinted cotton ribbon

Hierdie het ons gister gemaak.  Dit is nuwe borde en groot bakke wat deel sal uitmaak van ons Kersvoorraad.  Ons sal julle op hoogte hou van hoe ons vorder en wat ons alles beplan met hierdie keramiekware.   Ons het ook ‘n nuwe “batch” teëls gesny wat belowe om unieke ontwerpe op te hê.


Vandag gaan ons lappe kleur !!!  Sal weer kom post as ons klaar is.

Bahia Art’s Blog: Ons kreatiewe proses vir ons handsakke

Die buitekante van ons nuwe batch handsakke is klaar gemaak (Fotos op ons Facebook blad)   Ek begin hier die proses dokumenteer waar ons die screens regkry om die voerings te screen.  Soos julle weet gebruik ons 100% katoen vir ons voerings.  Ons handsakke is uniek in die sin dat ons net een van elk maak.

Soos julle sal sien is dit ‘n redelike proses om die voltooide handsak gereed te hê vir verkoop.  Geniet dus en weet dat as julle ‘n Bahia Art handsak koop is dit kwaliteit en met GROOT liefde gemaak.  Die kreatiewe proses is vir my net so belangrik want dit voed die siel en om vreugde te gee aan ander is ook groot lekkerte vir die siel.


Michele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramics

Hier is ek besig om die screen uit te spuit.  Die patroon, wat ek gaan screen, is klaar onder ligte vasgelê op die screen.

Michele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramics

Hier is die klaar patroon.  Ek los die screen om droog te word en dan is dit die volgende stap …. die screen van die lap.

Bahia Art’s Blog: Our new creative ventures …

Michele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramics021Michele Hamman Bahia Art Dundee handprinted fabrics natural cotton ribbons ceramicsWe left the quiet road from Dundee to venture into Gauteng for some supply shopping.  We bought two new screens for some new and awesome silk screening.  One of them a very fine screen to silk screen on paper and cardstock. We also have a electronic die cutting machine to make our own tags, etc.  So we will be adding some unique and exquisite papery in the near future.  We will also be able to do vinyl lettering on a small scale.

For the ceramic side we bought stunning new on-glaze colours to silk screen decals.

So make sure you visit our website or our Facebook page often so as not to miss this colourful creative explosion that’s about to happen.