Lovers of beauty and botanicals enjoyed a delightful exhibition at the Kaross Studio, over a weekend in October, celebrating all things botanical. The warm and welcoming venue feels a million miles away from the world not just because it is off the beaten track on a farm near Letsitele but also in the almost other-worldly, ethereal and precious nature of this embroidery initiative whose ethos is almost impossible to capture in words and should be experienced for oneself.
Visitors to this tranquil place feel the ‘nostalgic embrace of a childhood space often visited, the serenity of a garden picnic, or the warmth of sharing coffee with dear friends,’ says Kaross’ dynamic Managing Director, Janine Pretorius. She conceived of the exhibition after an inspiring collaboration with Botanical Nomad, Ira Bekker where natural dyes were created from local botanical sources and used on cotton fabric to which the Kaross embroiderers added ‘another intricate layer of life’. The result was a stunning, unique and limited range of cushion covers as well as other items where the colour came alive in countless ways and the natural designs enhanced the already beautiful fabric.
These creations sparked the idea to host an event where, for a few remarkable days, art and craft-lovers could immerse themselves in the embroidered Kaross pieces; gorgeous flowered vases and leafy platters by renowned ceramicist Ezra Bosch; oil paintings true to the theme by Emma Thompson and beautifully arranged fresh-cut blooms from Candace Gubitz, owner of My Blom. Visitors could stroll through the Botanical exhibition and the studio shop with its gorgeous items for sale along with sculptures from some of the most influential artists from Limpopo. In the Portrait Gallery the Kaross embroiderers have stitched their own story by creating their likeness with details that speak to their unique life journey. In the beautiful, tranquil workroom, Ronnica Malatje and Noria Mahlahule were creating a monochrome leopard in a lush forest and birds in threaded flight. And outside, under the shade of ancient fever trees in a boma surrounded by sculptures and benches by the artists of the Limpopo Heritage Collection, a divine treat of champagne and sumptuous cakes awaited. The event was a resounding success and many more are planned for 2024.
Janine, herself a Fine Artist, skillfully pulls together all the threads that weave the unique Kaross business design, constantly innovating these diverse, individually hand-crafted works of art which are available at retail outlets in South Africa’s international airports and an online shop. Kaross draws inspiration from the natural environment and the Tsonga culture so they were excited about fresh possibilities to explore these elements in a new range exploring the use of natural local colours to imprint fascinating patterns. The collaboration has been the beginning of a creative journey at Kaross of the methods of eco-dyeing and botanical printing to reflect the region's vibrant hues.
For the exhibition, Ceramicist Esra Bosch explored a similar process through the language of clay which her parents, Esias and Valerie Bosch shared with her since her birth in 1951, saying, 'these are the impressions which my memories are made of.’ Emma Thompson’s art explored the country we live in which is ‘filled with beauty and strength. Inspired by nature and my faith, I try to create moments that reflect our resilience and hope. All the botanical elements are from my garden and the surroundings in Magoebaskloof. Each of these pieces was created in an attempt to capture and examine beauty, fragility and courage.’ And even in the beautifully arranged fresh cut blooms, My Blom offered a reflection of the ways in which we celebrate our natural world. For the next event, visit an inspiring place and hold this thread with you ‘Kaross Brings Creative Hands Together. It is a platform for endless possibilities.’
Connect with Kaross on 076 499 6778 / www.kaross.co.za