Christmas now seems a distant dream – I hope yours was a merry one. I was very, very lucky this year and spent Christmas in South Africa with my husband David and two of our sons, Henry and Hugo. My son Felix (whom many of you will know works with me here at HQ, couldn’t come as he and his partner Lizzy are expecting their second child in the next couple of weeks – we were sad they couldn’t be with us, but so excited about a new addition to the family!).
South Africa was really gorgeous, I loved it. I think it is one of the most creative places I’ve ever been – it’s incredibly inspiring and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why that is. I think in part it must be due to the extraordinary mixture of international influences and visitors dating back to the Seventeenth Century. I met some great people – I really enjoyed a conversation with my taxi driver on Christmas Day in Cape Town – as a self-identified ‘Cape Coloured’ he spoke three languages – Afrikaans, Arabic and, of course, English. Another lovely man I met whilst doing a wine tasting (it’s the law to do a wine tasting in South Africa!) told me his great, great, great, great, GREAT grandmother was from Indonesia. The cultural mix coupled with South Africa’s separateness and the Afrikaans heritage, based around farming and home-making, make this a peculiarly unique part of the world. I don’t know how, or why or what, but the effect on the country combined with fantastic weather and such diverse flora and fauna plus those inspiring views make it an astonishing, and very, very creative place to visit.
Here are a few little sketches I made while I was there – I didn’t really make them with the idea of sharing them, but in my blog back in October, when I introduced my new Chalk Paint Workbook, I wrote that I always like to have a sketchbook to hand... and here’s the proof!
I also took advantage of the opportunity to pop into The Pause Room in Cape Town, and say hello to my Stockist there, Michelle Kunze. And, of course, I visited lots of galleries. The style is so craft inspired – African workers using traditional techniques to make tremendous, contemporary pieces. Above all, they’re not scared of colour in South Africa – not in the slightest!!
Finally, please indulge me by letting me share some photos taken by my son, Henry, who has a Facebook page. His photographs really capture some of the diversity and colour I loved so much!