Art is a wonderful luxury, its mere presence in a room changing the mood. Passing on a message or a thought. Reminding the viewer of a time or a place. Perhaps a feeling of calm or excitement. Of stability or mayhem.
As an artist I have grappled with the misconception that art serves no purpose and should therefore be ranked after other material and useful items, such as clothing or home comforts. With this thought, I have been working for some time on cross over art. Art that serves a recognised physical purpose. You can wear it or put things in it or lean on it. A one-off linocut printed linen bag. A crocheted and embroidered message cushion or a hand stitched scarf. Something off-piste. Designed to be unique and different from what anyone else has.
Side by side to this flow of thought over usable art and the exercise of skills to make my art, I have developed a deep love and amateur knowledge of my surroundings, and in particular the Cape fynbos and the spaces away from modern life. Deserted beaches and wind swept plains. Burnt out skeletons of plants that remain.
And then I Iearnt something that pulled these streams together. The art of printing from the naturally occurring pigments in plants, onto fabric, using no dye, ink or chemicals and creating no toxic waste. First, I printed up panels, designing the surface and experimenting with different plants and techniques. The panels were a beautiful and natural recordal of the plants and spaces that I love, on textile. Unique and different and something nobody else has. Art that could be made up to be worn or used. The seed of brand.
I called it inyoni. The name my Dad called me, growing up as the baby of the family, meaning little bird, or bird about to fly, in isiZulu. I wanted that feeling to be passed onto my work. The sense of being a little thing about to take flight.
Each inyoni piece is hand crafted by me, in my home studio in Kommetjie. Each panel of fabric is separately printed off foliage and cannot be replicated. It is assigned a name to keep track of it, and to allow me to keep record of the time of year, plants used and technique. I call this the Print number, and you can find that on the swing label of each inyoni piece. For example, the hemp linen tea towel named Print 6/10Mar20 was the sixth print that I executed on 10 March 2020. I have a record of that and I know I printed off the foliage of leucadendron, peppermint willow, diamond cape rose and spider gum. That information is also hand written onto the label, so the buyer knows what memory lies in the cloth, and that it is unique.
Each inyoni piece is treated with respect and packaged with love and a name and a story. A one-off print directly from nature to you.