Earth Colors & Designer Jewelry

The beauty in the dust

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“The moon is bland in colour. I call it shades of grey … And to find orange soil on the moon was a surprise.” Gene Cernan, astronaut, Apollo 10, Apollo 17

When artist Yvonne de Wit came to South Africa from her native Netherlands, it was with an open mind and with what became a growing fascination in the different types of rock and soils that the southern part of this great and diverse continent had to offer.

Through experimentation, she discovered that grinding diverse stones and pieces of rock found in different locations, offered up extraordinary colours, unusual ‘dusts’ that, when framed in silver, produced jewelry that reflected the land in a very different way.

jangle-dangle1Ideally, one needs to handle each piece of her collections to see, understand and appreciate the skill with which she works. Consider her chandelier earrings, for example. The artist explains that she picked up stones, ground them finely and then felt they would work as three ‘pendants’ from the ear. But they needed to balance. If one looks at the final pieces, one will see how delicately, intricately and exquisitely each margie5pendant hangs, individually, from a tiny common point. They are not soldered together; each of the three pendants somehow hangs perfectly in place. And in harmony with its opposite piece on the other ear.

For the artist, this says something about nature, and our place in it. How, ideally, our relationship with soil, air and water should be in perfect balance. How delicate that relationship is. And what surprises the dust of the earth harbours for us, despite our many preconceptions. Like the astronaut who expected shades of grey on the moon — and found orange. While Yvonne has an innate connection to the soil beneath her feet, she recognises that water has an inevitable and appealing connection. During whale- watching in Hermanus one year, she was fascinated not just by the creatures themselves, but also by their habits. wave2The result? Her finely crafted ‘whale’ pendant. No, it is not the animal itself she has re-created (although many might think so). The artist was entranced by the very fine combination of water and air, expelled from the blow-hole as the whale rises to the surface and exhales. Yvonne has captured a moment essential to life on earth — exhalation before inhalation.

Herman van Bon Photography

More than the Sum of the Parts To call him a landscape photographer is akin to describing Table Mountain as a large flat rock. To label him as a graphic artist also leaves much to be desired. A photo-graphic artist? Unwieldy and lacklustre. The fact of the matter is that Herman van Bon as a photographer and as an artist is not easily pigeon-holed. Words fall short when describing his work and how he achieves it. In this case, his pictures are more than the sum of their parts. Although a good photographer’s landscapes are far from flat, the observer does, in most cases, get what he or she sees: a representation of a country or marine scene. So far, so good. For Herman, however, the capturing of a landscape is just the beginning. It is his playground. He starts to experiment and explore and play, using different kinds of photo-processing and –developing software and techniques, and, organically, his pictures begin to grow. Layer by layer, the original shot metamorphosises into something extraordinary. Textures, tones, figures, symbols, quirky composites, and what appear figments of the imagination to the eye are included. This process can take weeks. The result is a contemporary, deeply personal interpretation, a fascinating fantasia of different forms, as far away from just a landscape full of special effects as you and I could imagine. Herman describes it as: “Associations that lead to the awakening of the archetypes part of the universal heritage of humankind; born in prehistoric times”. Herman explains: “I am a very complex person and this complexity reflects in my work in the sense that I produce landscapes, haikus, photo-graphic mixed media and imaginary photography next to abstract and portrait photography. Occasionally I paint or apply ‘fluidization’ to my pictures. Sometimes – more often than not – it all comes together.” Herman’s work is by far more than the sum of its parts. And it isn’t always easy on the observer. When this writer read the following understanding of art by the controversial British street artist, Banksy, she thought, that’s what Herman van Bon does: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” Some reviews: “Wat T.T. Cloete in sy gedig sê is waar: ‘die aarde is deur een dichter gemaak’. Mensen soos Herman van Bon het die gare om dit dmv fotografie vast te lê …. Dankie!” - Awie van Wyk “The Hieronymous Bosch of the digital era”. - Lizia Nieman (RIP), L’Art Niemaclature “Absolute fantastic”. - Hettie Saayman “In the Eye of the Beholder of Herman van Bon is a surprising and lovely image from South Africa” - Review of groups exhibition in LAC Los Angeles in LA-Times “Herman van Bon has an amazing eye for capturing beauty”. - Kamalini Govender in Tales and Dreams (USA)

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