My fabric, books and machine was constantly full of dust and I was challenged with workers in the house every day - I was used to having the mornings to myself while the kids were at school. We were in Harrismith for 5 1/2 months when Willem told us we were moving again, this time back to Port Elizabeth....! The renovations was just completed and I had to stay behind to sell the house....
I felt very isolated as there was no Quilters' Guild or group in Harrismith which I could join. I met Louise Rheeder who lived in Senekal but it was too far for regular visits. I started teaching a bit at home, also taught a few workshops in Puthaditjaba and Bethlehem. I was soon invited to put up a display of all my quilts in the public library which led to another invitation - a joint art exhibition in 1995 with two well known artists of the Eastern Free State, Eduard Wium and Petro Swanepoel. Eduard was near his 80's, almost bent over double from severe arthritis, but he still managed to paint every day. Petro was one of his students in her younger days.
As I did not have much time to prepare for this exhibition, I decided to make smaller quilts. I chose cosmos and birds as themes, as well as some geometric pieces. I sold the cosmos quilt to Dutch people who were in South Africa on holiday, the other quilts were sold in Port Elizabeth, mostly to overseas visitors.
|95-03 Mahem, Crested Crane. Sold - Canada|
|95-04 Guinea Fowls - Sold to a restaurant in Geneva|
|95-08 Beaded. Sold in SA|
|95-06 Cosmos. Sold - Holland|
We mounted and minded the exhibition ourselves and I spent very special times with Eduard who sat painting in the exhibition hall, happy to chat and share with the public. What a priviledge! He painted the most amazing landscapes in oil and I commissioned him to paint me one of the famous Platberg in Harrismith as a reminder of a special mentor! It was amazing to observe a master - he taught me to paint skies and I was fascinated to see how he painted trees, he just did it so effortlessly and kept on explaining as he was going along... He showed me how to mix colours etc and encouraged me to use painting as another dimension in my quilts. I will be forever grateful for his guidance as he somehow understood my need to explore and he encouraged me to push my boundaries. He would often visit me after our exhibition for lunch and a special chat about art and my quilts as he was genuinely interested in textile art. Observing Eduard paint, I realized how time consuming quilting was, especially pictorial quilts where so much time is spent with cutting and preparation before one can actually stitch.
I lived in Harrismith for 18 months, the highlight of my stay was visits to various parts of the Drakensberg and meeting Eduard Wium. I sold geometric beaded quilts at a craft shop in Harrismith which overseas tourists loved buying. It also kept me busy while waiting to sell the house....
At the end of March 1996 we left Harrismith to start a new life in Port Elizabeth.....