Category: An Opinion

Bahia Art Keramiek- en Tekstielstudio – ‘n reis deur perspektief en kleur, uit die oog van Johann Hamman

Hierdie klein keramiek- en tekstielstudio wat Michele Hamman oor die laaste tien jaar met baie sweet en harde werk, baie harde werk, opgebou het, is blykbaar ‘n geheime juweel hier in Noord-Natal, veral as mens oplet hoe baie mense reeds van haar weet en sommer net wil kom inloer …! Michele het dag vir dag, van vroegoggend tot laat middag, met allerlei interessante lappe en kleipotte gewoel tot dit begin doen het wat sy sê. Haar kleurryke en unieke katoen hekeljaarn (ek is vertel dat die industrie so daarna verwys) het baie vinnig die aandag van soortgelyke kleurtowenaars getrek, en klein winkeltjies wat hierdie soort van dinge sou verkoop, het baie gou aan haar inbox se deur kom hamer. Natasha, haar dogter in Johannesburg, het met ‘n moedswillige WordPress en hardnekkige kameras gehelp. Ek het verstom gekyk aan die elegante, en soms kleurvolle, mengelmoese wat onder hulle altwee se handjies opgetower is.

Dit was verbete arbeid, harde arbeid, en trane huil-arbeid soms, waar seer skouers in die aande ingevryf moes word. As sy nie ure op die Internet of die telefoon met verskaffers moes roei om van haar bewus te word nie, moes sy swoeg om haar tekstiel-ink, lap, (ek het nie geweet dis so moeilik om ‘n rol katoen in die hande te kry nie..!) en ander rakke vol goetertjies in hierdie deel van die wêreld in die hande te kry nie. Sy het meer as eenkeer op die drempel van ophou omgedraai, maar sy het ‘n ongelooflike vermoë om haar konkurrente en kompetisie bymekaar te vee en die deur te wys. Sy het in die eerste fase van die ontwikkeling van Bahia Art gepoog om soveel as moontlik te doen, so gou as moontlik, en dan altyd alleen. Jy het nie met haar ontwerpe, kleurskakerings of pottery decals gepeuter nie. Nee, meneer.

Die kliënte het aan die begin druppel vir druppel binnegekom, maar sy het vasgebyt en deurgedruk. Ons het egter tot die besef gekom dat haar gesondheid nie al hierdie dinge gaan toelaat nie, en sy moes ophou met haar katoenjaarn. Daar was aande wat sy nie haar skouers kon optel nie, en mens kan net sóveel keer met ‘n seergewerkte lyf gaan probeer slaap. Keramiek en tekstielontwerp was haar groot liefde van die begin af, en sy het van die mees ongelooflike pottebakkery, op die wiel, en met die hand, die lig laat sien. Haar keramiekborde, wat sy met die hand versier, is net eenvoudig al die applous werd wat ek haar kan gee. Van haar borde kompeteer soomloos met die werk van groot name, veral in die Wes-Kaap, en haar deelname aan Ceramics KZN se uitstalling getuig daarvan,

Sy ontwerp al haar eie tekstielontwerpe wat dan met syskermdrukwerk op katoen en linne materiaal met die hand gedruk word. Kleurvolle skeppings soos handsakke, wat altyd in groot aanvraag is, strooi-kussings, tafeldoeke ens. kan op elke mark gesien word. Haar eerste skermgedrukte handsakke was in groot aanvraag gewees. Michele trek verskeie temas van ontwerpe byeen, en kry dan gepaste sketse soos ou posseëls en ook historiese fakture, wat op aftrekpapier en transpirante met ‘n lasedrukker aangebring word, en dan op haar skerms ontwikkel word deur die filmemulsie met die ontwerp op onder die ligte te ontwikkel.

Michele se nuutste reis is ekodrukwerk, of eco-printing. En skielik moet nuwe kennis ingesamel word, geen probleem!! Bloekomboomblare is ‘n groot bron vir eco-printing en word vir verskeidenheid van prosesse gebruik. Die esdoringbome, rose, en eintlik sommer enige interessante blaar, het sonder teëstribbeling verbygekom. Die kleure wat die blare op haar lappe afdruk as mens dit uit die stoompot haal, is ‘n nuwe avontuur. Ten spyte van enkele teleurstellings met sogenaamde “gurus” op die Internet se aflaaibybels, het sy haar eie navorsing gaan doen, en het reeds baie mooi eko-lappe die lig laat sien.

Die Covid 19 pandemie het ook sy kloue baie diep in haar studio ingeslaan, maar sy veg die duiwel al meer as ‘n jaar van haar deur af weg.

Bahia Art Ceramic and Textile Studio: The Husband’s Opinion, again

Michele Hamman Bahia Art Ceramics Textile Fabric Studio Dundee handprinted natural cotton ribbon

Well, what can I say about this explosion of effort, innovation and back-breaking hard work that it has been my privilege to witness over the last five years ? We started off on a bang with the bags, but had since redirected our efforts into more particular types of bags, and have given the tote bag a bit of a rest. Dundee has since been cursed with one of the worse droughts in the history of Kwazulu-Natal, and that has restricted Michele no end in her creativity. Well, you do need water to prepare a silk screen for printing, you know.

No matter. We have since manhandled a 210 litre plastic drum into position, make-shifted a tap into it, and voila!!! The high pressure pump is happy, and so is the screen. We have been forced to stop working when the taps ran dry (as they now do every day) but now more. Thanks to Jojo Tanks in Glencoe, she can continue with her colour plays. Michele has since become a wizard in perfecting a multiple print design onto the screen and then on to the clear, unworked fabric on the printing table.

A, yes…the screen printing table. That had been an effort of note, but we built it, and many a printed roll of fabric later, we can testify that on effort is the best solution.

This little gem is just starting to outgrow its kiddie shoes. Stay tuned, peeps….!!

And, as always, thanks kindly for taking the effort to read here.

Be well.

Johann

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 www.bahiart.co.za or on the attached Facebook link. Go subscribe to the newsletter now and don’t miss an update again   Johannes…..

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.