I have, for a while now, been photographing butterfly eggs with my MPE 65. The most recent egg that I have done is that of the Banana nightfighter, Moltena fiara. This egg was found on the leaf of the host plant, Striletzia nicholai, here in my Wembley garden. It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully structural these eggs are with the ribbing to add support and allow a thinner wall.
These next two portraits of a fly and an antlion were great fund to do, just battled with the DOF.
Finally, a while back I noticed this mint Colotes annae annae (Scarlet Tip) male in the garden. I never thought that I would see one here as this is a bushveld bug but here it is feeding on my Pentis!
It has been a while since we had a new exhibitor at the Kiln. Sarah van der Bank is not exhibiting at the Kiln building yet but her work is available on the Kiln FaceBook page and may be ordered directly from us.
Sarah is a born and raised Midlands lady. She grew up and was schooled right here in Howick and now lives in the Mkhuze Game reserve with her conservationist husband, Lance, and young son, Meryck. Here is a taister of some of Sarah’s work.
Like most of us at the Kiln, Sarah’s work may also be viewed and purchased through The PictureBox in Pietermaritzburg www.picturebox.co.za
Here in KwaZulu Natal we have two members of the genus Durbania. Members of the species Durbania amakosa fly throughout the Eastern region, from the coast right up to 2500m is suitable areas. They are also mid summer insects, emerging in November on the coast and later at higher altitudes. Our localised Durbania limbata is a bit of an anomoly, it flies in late summer. Mid March is the best time to find it. A few weeks ago my old friend Harald Selb visited us from Cape Town and Steve Woodhall, Clive Curtis and I spent a day butterflying in the midlands with him. I did not take him to the D limbata spots as I thought we may be too early. Instead we visited the forests nearby and Woodridge. A week later Clive and I visitied the old “Pennington spot” at Curries Post above Yellowoods. Clive wanted HD video footage and I have to say that, despite having bred the insect from larvae found on the rocks had never seen it live. So Clive and I visited the old spot. After introducing ourselves to the owner we walked over to the colony (with his over active dogs in tow…..anyone who has ever tried to photograph butterflies will know that a bouncing, loving labrador is not a great help when trying to focus on a butterfly at 20cm). We wondered around and saw very little apart from a very territorial Spialia spio. I checked the rocks and found loads of old pupal cases but no insects. After 1/2 an hour of searching I was beginning to think we were to late and then Clive saw a D limbata. That was it, over the next hour we saw loads. Along with the D limbata were what have to be the most frustrating butterflies on the planet to photograph, Stygionympha wichgrafi, they rarely site and when they do it is for a second or two. I have a hard drive of in flight escape shots!! I got one relaxing. All that said, I feel that if we had stopped with Harald we would have seen them. Pity but good reason for him to come up again next March. Here are a few photos of the day.
Spialia spio, the Mountain Sandman
Spialia Spio, the Mountain Sandman, underside.
Stygionympha wichgrafi, Wichgrafs Brown.
Durbania limbata, the Natal Rocksitter.
Durbania limbata, the Natal Rocksitter.
Durbania limbata, the Natal Rocksitter.
Clive Curtis videoing D limbata.
Clive Curtis doing his thing.
Things have been pretty wild for the last few weeks getting the Agric Hall going anf people have been asking me whats happening for December. Well December is here and the first person who will be in for the period Dec/Jan is Steve Bailey. Steve is an award winning Eastern Cape based photographer. A brief bio follows as do a number of photographs but please visit Steve site www.stevebailey.co.za for more information.
This December we hope to see Allen Hallett return to the Kiln after a very successful exhibition in Gaborone.
An now a brief bio :
“Steve Bailey was born in Liverpool, England and moved to Southern Africa when he was 10.
He has always had a passion for Photography – eventually studying Graphics/Photography, obtaining a City and Guilds Diploma in Graphic Reproduction.
He spent 25 years in Zimbabwe before moving to Cape Town, South Africa. He is now resident in Bedford in the Eastern Cape”, and a few photographs…..
A few weeks ago University of Natal art student, Sharon Weaving, approached Fran to use the Kiln at the Karkloof Farmers Market as a venue for the examination of her work. So, for the next week the Kiln is hers and her examiners. Next Saturday we will be back in and her work will be on view along with ours.
So, before I post photographs a short blurb on Sharon….
“I have always been passionate about art and craft. Whether ceramics, beadwork or knitting I find that creating with my hands is exciting, fulfilling and therapeutic. My passion stems from my Mom’s love for all handcrafts and the enjoyment she derives from experiencing a new craft and passing on her knowledge. I am excited to hear about the activities of new craft movements currently on the go. These are worldwide initiatives motivated by like-minded artists / crafters, young and old, encouraging people to appreciate all that is handmade. I think this is wonderful as these movements promote the ‘funky’ aspects of craft, and how contemporary art and craft can be used in development, activism and therapy. I believe that art and craft are such an important part of life and should be promoted as such.
I was first introduced to ceramics by attending underglaze painting classes which later progressed to running a ‘ceramic-painting’ studio from home. My passion for ceramics continued and I decided to study a BA (Visual Art) at UKZN, followed by Honours and Masters majoring in Ceramics. I started hand-building with porcelain in my Honours year, demonstrating an exploration of texture and translucency in my work. My ideas progressed further with the piercing of the vessel surface to create shadows.
The casting of shadows continued into the body of work that I now present. I started making geometric structural forms which were dipped in paper porcelain and fired to 1200˚C. The fired structure assumed a soft, organic quality in its slumped state which I found appealing, and continued to play with this element of ‘chance outcome’. Whilst working with these forms I discovered that I wanted to achieve a greater organic quality of form and decided to make the frames myself to have more command over the final product.
Countless test pieces later I discovered the composition of material, process and clay body suitable to create my recent works. Each piece is individually crocheted, dipped into an ‘engobe’ and dried over a mould. Once dry, the pieces are fired to 1200˚C, burning away the crochet cotton , leaving a hollow, fragile, porcelain structure each of which casts its own unique delicate shadow. I am very excited to have been able to use an age-old craft such as crochet in an unconventional manner thus illustrating that there is a place for time-honoured crafts in contemporary ceramics and other art forms.“
Again it has been a mad week with exams, work and getting the new gallery ready for opening. That asside Fran and I are nearly there and ready to have the gallery open next Saturday (the 12th). We will be sharing a room with Senqu at the Agric Hall in Howick.
To date the people exhibiting will be : Author and photographer Steve Woodhall, well known nature photographer and author Roger de la Harpe, Aritsts Denise Beuck and Andre de la Rosa, photographers Toni le Roux, Fran Simmons and myself. We are hoping that sculpture Allen Hallett will confirm as will Peter Wickham, Doug and Deryck Morton and Cheryl Logan.
Tony Thomson, local Amber valley resident and artist, will man the gallery and paint during the week.
This gallery, like the one at the Farmers Market, has been established as a showpiece for local artists and photographers. You will not find a selection of Midlands material as diverse and unique as this anywhere else so stop off and have a coffee, say “Hi” to Tony and have a look. I am sure that you will like what is to be seen.
And now some photos of material that will be on display (apologies for those who follow my blog as a few of these will be repeats).
The first photograph is Toni le Roux’s. Toni entered this into the “Natural History” category of the N3TC competition this year and won the category!!
Next we have Steve Woodhall. Steve is the president of the Lepidopterists Society of Africa and author of a number if books on butterflies (all of which will be available at the Kiln)
The Kiln Gallery at the Karkloof Farmers Market and soon to be at the Howick Agricultural Hall as well.
I have not posted for a while, mainly because I have been away in the Northern Province and further working rather hard with Fran and Doug getting our new venture going. The new one is another Gallery. Doug and Fran started the Kiln at the Karkloof Farmers Market and two months into it we were approached by Laurence Hancock, a local farmer and business man, about establishing a permanent exhibition at the Howick Agricultural Hall. This was to be open 7 days a week which would help us enormously. Anyway, we have been getting printing done, sorting out painting and trying to employ people. Hence no posts.
Oh, and I forgot to add, if you have not been to the Kiln FB page then do, and like it and you will be kept up to date with all the goings-on. See http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Kiln-Gallery/192143797488771
The new gallery opens its doors on the 12th November so we hope to see everyone there!! Anyway, to close off a few pictures. Bye!!
We at the Kiln have wanted to open for 7 days a week for a while. Last weekend we were approached by a local businessman who offered us space in his property on a tourist route. We are talking to other exhibitors to join us and we have a number of exciting new people who may join us. That is all for this week as there is a lot of work to be done. So, cheerio and here are a few photos that we hope will be housed at the exhibition, if they are not there then they will be at the Karkloof Farmers Market.
Ten years ago my wife Tracey and I purchased a beautiful little bronze warthog as a gift from the family for my father in law, Dave Hoidge’s 60th birthday. It was just like any naughty warthog, brown, tail in the air and full of attitude. It was the creation of Allen Hallett. The Kiln in very proud to have Allen exhibit for October.
Details of Allen and his work may be found on his web site www.allenhallett.com . A little about Allen… and then some photographs of his work..
“Allen grew up in the highlands of Kenya which were at that time teeming with Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo and all the other plains game. His school holidays and any spare time were spent either hunting or fishing in the surrounding areas and it was at this time that a deep interest of Africa’s Wildlife was nurtured.
On leaving school he moved to South Africa and joined the Natal Parks Board and went on to become a senior game ranger in the wildlife reserves of Zululand and had the opportunity to study Africa’s wildlife first hand. During his years in the African bush he had numerous encounters with dangerous game. It was while on a photographic safari in the Okavango Delta that Allen and his party’s boat was overturned by a “rogue” Hippo. They were very lucky not to have been seriously injured and have lived to be able to recount the story of their close shave with death!!
Allen has also undertaken several commissions throughout Southern Africa and many of his edition pieces are in private collections throughout the world.
Allen’s reputation as a wildlife artist is rapidly growing internationally, with successful sales at Christie’s of London.
He was recently selected by the David Shepherd Conservation Foundation to contribute a piece of his work to be auctioned by Christies’ along with several world renowned wildlife artists to assist the cause for conservation.
He now lives and works in the magnificent Natal Midlands, and undertakes many field trips to inspire his creativity.”