Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cape Land Art gathering: Witsands Beach

Thank you to those of you who joined for our first Land Art session/meetup! Here is some pictures from the day in Radloff Park.

Please join us again on Sunday 18 May 2014 at Witsands Beach, Southern Peninsula. It's about a 45 minute drive from Plumstead - view the map on our new Facebook page.

We will be there from 9h00. When arriving, walk the site and begin creating straight away, as soon as you find a spot that inspires. i.e. play first, meet later! We will meet at 11 for refreshments and conversation. We can then visit one another’s work, and choose to leave or to continue with our installations for the rest of the day.

A few suggestions:
  • Our focus is on process, on temporary work and exploration. Don’t put yourself under pressure to perform! For ideas or inspiration, look at the Site_Specific website and or just google 'land art'!
  • Please respect the environment and consider using only local, organic materials. Or you may need to remove MOOP (Matter Out of Place) at the end of the session.
  • Please keep an eye out and stay clear of the nests of birds on the beach
  • Feel free to clean up and collect litter as you go along.
  • Some artists prefer to work quietly, so perhaps save your greetings for the break.
  • For safety, stay close enough to keep an eye on other artists. Please note that participation is at your own risk, please take all precautions to keep yourself safe. 
  • There is no charge, so bring your own refreshments, hat, sunblock and especially enough water.

Join our mailing list:
Join the Facebook page:
Also join the Site_Specific facebook page:

Please RSVP to Janet Ranson - - and make sure that we have your telephone number. Please save the number 072 3331 5057 for Janet Botes, in case you get lost or can't make it on the day. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NKA Foundation: Mud House Design Competition

For most of us mud houses are something of the past. We are used to modern houses, tall apartment blocks and skyscrapers. Our homes are made of the best materials. We know there are small zinc sheet homes for the poor. Just as there are zinc homes, there are also plenty of places in Africa where mud houses are still used. Nka Foundation makes us aware of this situation and is reaching out a helping hand in a creative and innovative manner. It is currently accepting ideas and proposals from designers, architects and builders to improve these mud houses and entries can come for anywhere around the world.

Design Problem: A Typical Mud House at Abetenim Village

  • The competition is open for entries until the 31st of August. The selection of the winning designs will be chosen between 15 September and 30 September by a panel of judges. 
  • An individual or a design team can submit an entry to the Mud House Design competition.
  • There will be three winning projects. The prizes are: 1st prize- $1,500 or Construction of design in Ghana plus a short trip to Ghana for the opening ceremony once construction is completed; 2nd prize- Construction or $1,000 and 3rd prize- Construction or $500. Honorable mentions may be awarded.
  • Judging criteria involve the functionality, aesthetics and technical factor to the degree the design response resolves the design problem.


Visit to read more about the requirements, background, conditions and more. If you have the talent, you now have the chance to show it where it will matter: designing for life, improving people's lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Time for the BASA Awards Draws Near

Time is running out for those businesses and artists interested in the upcoming BASA Awards (partnered by Hollard). The deadline falls on Friday, 16 May of this year. Those who never submitted their work to the BASA Awards should be aware that there is a lot of documentation that needs to be completed (with high quality photographs). Those who are trying once again, good luck!

What exactly is BASA? BASA stands for Business and Arts South Africa. Simply put, they connect the art world with that of the business world. By doing this they ensure that arts in South Africa can grow rather than be forgotten in the dark abyss. Sounds a bit dramatic, but where would our colourful country be without art? BASA goes to many lengths to keep businesses and arts united. They also offer many other opportunities for both sides, of which  the BASA Awards is one.

This, for those who are interested, is the 17th annual BASA Awards and it will not be a let down. As always there are specific guidelines and rules that must be followed. These are placed there to make it fair, fun and better for everyone involved. Artists or projects in any of the following creative disciplines can  be nominated:
Visual Arts
Physical Performance

The nominations fall into different categories, namely:
Innovation Award
First Time Sponsor Award
Increasing Access to the Arts
International Sponsorship Award
Long Term Partnership Award, supported by Stephan Welz & Co.
Media Sponsorship Award
Strategic Project Award
Small Business Award
Sponsorship In Kind Award
Development Award
Arts and the Environment Award, supported by Nedbank
Mentorship Award

Don’t worry, if you don’t know which category is best, BASA will correct your chosen category if they feel it is needed.

While all these categories can be considered helpful and good in essence of helping both artists and businesses alike, The Arts and the Environment Award (supported by Nedbank) is helping more than just people. It helps the environment. It will hopefully make more people aware of the beauty in keeping the world clean and the importance of living sustainably for a better, healthier future.

Well done BASA for creating a category that will in the long run have an effect on the environment by encouraging artists and businesses to think creatively about it! In time more businesses and other people will deepen their appreciation for art, which is a goal we should all want to reach in order to keep South Africa as unique and colourful as it is, with the many crafted arts being sold next to roads and at flea markets.

There are plenty of opportunities for anyone in the art industry and business sponsoring art alike, even after the BASA Awards finish for the year. There is always next year, after all. For more information or to enter BASA Awards go to BASA’s website:

This is a guest post by fantasy writer Michelle Albinson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Western Cape Land Art

Inspired by Site_Specific JOZI, monthly meetings around Cape Town is being initiated by artists in the Western Cape to help connect us to one another and to the Land. The first of these meetings were held on Monday, 14 April 2014 in Radlof Park, Somerset-West.

This shared day of discussion and participation resulted in some site-specific temporary installation as well as inspired plans for the future!  See more here and here. To join and participate, go to our Facebook page, or subscribe to the mailing list: to get updates about the monthly gatherings.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cleaning in your studio

Changing the way you make your art - whether for your own health or to lessen your impact on the environment - does not only apply to the way you make your artworks. You could be painting with natural homemade paints, work with plant dyes or even work with bits of waste that you collect from sidewalks, but still have an incredibly detrimental impact on your own health and the health of our environment due to the chemicals you use to clean your studio.

If you're wondering what I mean, go and read this information (click here) on the Spotless Living website. Also read 'Does it Matter'. Spotless Living has been an incredible tool in my own life, giving useful guidelines and alternatives for personal care and household cleaning. Here's some of those guidelines that applies to your work and cleaning in the studio.

To clean paintbrushes

  • Soften paintbrush bristles by soaking in a cup of hot vinegar for about 30 minutes.
  • Then sprinkle on a little bicarb and stir around.
  • You can also use soap and water to wash them and get all the paint out.
  • Rinse with warm water.

To clean hard dry paintbrushes that you forgot to clean

  • Soak the brush in vinegar for an hour or so until you can bend the bristles.
  • Fill a saucepan with vinegar until the brush bristles are covered.
  • Bring the vinegar to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a minute before removing the brush.
  • Gently comb the brush with your fingers. The paint will still be attached but will fall away as you comb it.
  • Rinse the brush under running water to release the loose paint.
  • Depending on how much paint there was you may need to repeat steps 5 and 6 a couple of times, but before you know it your paint brush will be ready for another round!
Also read William Burgoil's method to clean his oil paint brushes.

General tips

  • With some of your cleaning you could just use water. Try cleaning with water first, before reaching for a bottle of cleaning liquid. 
  • When using non-chemical, natural cleaning materials you can empty your bucket into the garden. 
  • Use old rags or microfibre cloths for most cleaning jobs. Soft cloths are best for wood and metal surfaces.
  • An old toothbrush is great to clean some of your artmaking tools

Using glass as mixing palette, monoprints or other printmaking?

Window and glass cleaner

  • Mix equal parts of water and vinegar (or lemon juice) in a spray bottle.
  • Alternatively use vinegar infused with lemon or other citrus fruit peels. Simply add some peels to a bottle of vinegar and allow them to soak for a few days before using. The more peels and the longer you let them soak the more powerful and fragrant the infusion will become.
  • Spray onto windows or any glass surface and wipe clean with a rag, or buff to a shine with crumpled newspaper.
  • Or, spray glass with 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide and wipe with a clean rag

Messed on the walls while being wildly creative?

Wall wash

  • To clean painted walls or painted woodwork, mix one cup of vinegar, one cup of bicarb and three cups of warm water.
  • Wipe dirt from the surfaces with a soft cloth dipped in the mixture, and rinse with clean water.
  • Use this same mixture to prepare walls or surfaces for painting.

Try these in your studio and let us know whether it works for you. Also share any other cleaning solutions that you have found effective and eco-friendly.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Cape Town & Helderberg Land Artist Meetup

Dear Artists,

Inspired by Site_Specific JOZI Janet Botes and Janet Ranson believe we need monthly meetings around Cape Town to help connect us to one another and to the Land!

Please join us next Monday (14 April 2014) in Radlof Park, Somerset-West, at the Gordon Road entrance, map.

Share a day of discussion, inspiration and installation. We will begin  at 9.30am, with a quiet, ‘Open Hearts, Empty Hands’ approach, as described by Wongil Jeon. This means walking into Nature and responding to whatever is there, in the environment. Whatever we build will be respectful, organic and temporary: we may even dismantle it at the end of the day. (Some of us do bring tools in our otherwise empty hands: e.g. cameras!)

Then we’ll share tea and chats, with 2 main aims:
  • Setting up regular monthly meetings
  • finding opportunities and venues for public site-specific events
RSVP if you’d like to join us on 14 April.
Mail if you’d like to be kept up-to-date.
Please send any advice or suggestions!

Janet Ranson -
Janet Botes -, +2772 331 5057

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Joburg artists, get involved!

Green Beings develops schools into models that demonstrate sustainable living and act as vehicles to integrate knowledge and skills into communities. Their aim is to empower people with environmental education, encourage community collaboration and sustainable lifestyles.

Green Beings educate schools and communities about the state of the natural environment, the human impact thereon and the importance of active environmental stewardship. 

Collaboration is their key principle ♥ Want to get involved?
Volunteer? Donate? Fund a project? Share your skills and knowledge?
How can you help as an artist? How about helping them create beautiful and inspiring posters, murals or educational graphics; offer waste art workshops; or help organise a creative fundraiser?

Alex Frost: 082 775 4115 or Marloes: 072 623 9498