Thursday, November 06, 2014

Art in the Heart of the Breedekloof: an Art And Cultural Experience

Art in the Heart of the Breedekoof: an Art and Cultural Experience
So it was up and at ’em bright and early again to get to this country function. We were in the area almost a year ago and vowed to return, so this was the perfect opportunity. It was a day packed full of art, fun experiences, wine and some kids’ party food.  We absolutely loved the experience, tried not to drink too much, drooped with a little exhaustion at the final, 8th destination, Slanghoek Cellar. Lynne bought a painting that really spoke to her, which brought back memories of a past event. It is a lovely area to visit, with so much more to offer than we ever believed and the wine has improved by leaps and bounds. We should also mention that the prices are very reasonable. Go and see for yourself.
We assembled at Slanghoek Mountain resort at 10 am. It was a lovely early summer's day
There were some very witty art installations. This is a ‘Welcome Mat, a window and a curtain, all made out of woven newspaper
They served coffee, orange juice, the lightest fairy scones with cream and jam and some bacon and egg muffins in the gallery
and it was very popular
This is a very popular artist , Ronald West; one sees his work all over the Cape
A closer look at the witty welcome mat
The explanation
The reception desk
There was also some tactile art made for the blind to touch and feel and then this artist, who went blind when he was 14, told us how he painted his first picture
Its bright colours were chosen by him (he remembers colours) and placed with the assistance of his wife to form the initials of the Institute for the Blind.
Slanghoek Art Gallery in a typical Cape country house c.1900
We all helped to draw something for an art installation planned by Angeline le Roux. The blind contributors traced something tactile, the sighted had to hold an object behind their back and then draw what they felt. The results were quite amazing
Here Lynne and another guest are drawing what they cannot see, but can only feel. Lynne had a lump of friable concrete and this woman had a piece of pine bark
This is what Lynne felt rather than saw
The art installation takes shape on the verandah
It is a magnificent valley with beautiful mountains that soar from the fruitful valley floor
We arrive at TCB wines in Rawsonville and are welcomed by TC Botha himself
We tasted some of his wines
and admired his huge collection of older Mercedes Benz cars
had a look at his private collection of the artist Mainka
Three generations of T C Basson, son , grandfather and TCB himself. There have been seven generations. all named Theunis Christoffel Basson
Winemaker Christo Basson talks about the wines
Beautiful flowers from a local garden
An unusual flowering hedge
Off we go in the bus to the next destinations
Goudini winery
A pleasant vine covered pergola shades the outside tables
The tasting room
And some impressive art by Michelle-Lize van Wyk
They also produce some herb salts. We were given one
Her Fish Eagle painting is still evolving
We learn some Goudini history
Good comment at Goudini
We arrive at Deetlefs Estate and do a quick tasting of a couple of wines
An old basket press suspended in the gallery
And found some paintings by Dr Pierre Botes, a very talented artist and orthopaedic surgeon from Worcester, that really spoke to us
A few years ago there was a very bad fire on Table Mountain and John went to help friends evacuate some precious items from their house and fight the fire, which was threatening their house which is high up on the mountain. When he got home the fire had jumped over to Signal hill and was blazing high behind the gum trees above our house. We thought they would explode and send burning embers onto our roof. In fact the gums acted as a very good firebreak and Sea Point was not affected by the fire

It is a chastening memory (the photograph was used in that week's MENU, which went out that night) and we had to buy the picture on top, as it so reminded us of that very scary night. His work is on exhibition at the Kingsbury Hospital, if you want to go and see it

Another quick trip, this time to Badsberg Cellar, where award winning artist Rene Snyman talked about her painting. Her work is very accomplished and gets very good money
Party food for lunch. No quarter for anyone Banting
Wrong: there were bits of salmon on cucumber and tiny sausages. A salad would have been really nice
Arriving at Botha winery. The valley is full of Bothas
The tasting room
Time to relax while Hanien Conradie, whose art focuses on the endangered flora species of the Breedekloof, talked about it and her studies
Her art installation illustrates the current and the disappeared flora hidden under the mud of the valley
Botha Cellarmaster and General Manager, Gerrit van Zyl
Time for more calories. Chocolate cupcakes
We arrived at Bergsig to find the garden full of the most impressive collection of Cynaroides King Proteas and others which we have ever seen in one place
Bergsig is close to the Bain's Kloof pass and has wonderful views of the mountains and pass
We meet the team and have a lecture on the history of the Lategan family
We taste some wine and examine some of the family treasures
We must return to taste more of these wines. We confess we were a little jaded by the time we got there and didn’t have much capacity for anything more
Cellarmaster Pieter Carstens tells us about the Slanghoek wines
The organisers of the day: Pieter Carstens, Breedekloof Wine & Tourism Manager Melody Botha, PRO Pippa Pringle and a guest
Late afternoon over the vines. Time to head for the pass and home, via dinner at Rhebokskloof
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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