BOSCHENDAL CAPENSIS CREST 2017
Produced with Jennifer Bam. This was an incredible project.
The Boschendal Capensis project was an incredible process from inception through to the final installation. The inspiration for the materials applied, partly requested and partly free-reign, stirred up the initial concept in my mind to create a piece highlighting collaborative efforts and expertise. Parts of the sculpture are more detailed with regards to how much planning, time and effort needed to be invested, whereas other elements came to be in a much more simplistic and effortless fashion. Symbolically, this holds the representation of the balance of life for me. Seeing as various people, materials and elements are joined during a project such as this it is vital to remember to tap into the underlying synchronicities constructed for the transmutation of energy to take place as each person is a catalyst for this creation. Another small piece to this puzzle that I was reminded of, is the beauty in letting go during a venture such as this, because sometimes in the moments of pure surrender you gain the most insight.
Upon many moments I found myself in conversation with each of the craftsmen involved discussing chance encounters manifesting due to the right intent applied, leading to transformation. I like to think this holds true for what Boschendal intents to inspire through their new venture.
This concept, as discussed with Tracey Van Wijk, became the overall blueprint for this piece and ties in as a reminder and tribute to the hard work the team at Boschendal continually put in in order to keep the legacy of Boschendal in such high regard.
I have been privileged to to meet and reconnect with exceptional craftsmen during this project, capturing the essence and passion they share for their art during our moments of collaboration.
Having not had the privilege to work with metal, as extensively or in such an experimental fashion as this, it was an incredible experience to be welcomed by Jennifer Bam with her keen ability, outstanding craftsmanship and knowledge regarding metal and the age-old black-smith trade. Alongside this blessing I had the honour of meeting the South African father and virtuoso of the blacksmith trade himself, John Curteis who opened up his enchanting workshop for the two of us, located in Muizenberg. Jen told many a tale of how much she has learned from John since becoming interested in the trade during her studies. When I use the word ‘enchanting’ to describe John’s workshop, I mean it in all it’s essence. One morning getting into the groove of things with Jen we admired the wind chimes in the workshop and for some unknown reason I reached out to pull at something that appeared to be lodged in one of the pipes and “voila!” I drew a white feather. Wonderful moments occurred with two Argentinian girls (friends of Jen and her partner, Megan) popping in and out of the workshop with their custom, hand-made cuatro’s and assisting when the offering of extra hands was gladly accepted. Moments of effortless unison occurred and music followed when Jen and I rhythmically hammered away, cheered on by the Argentinians of course. Bizarre occurrences such as this, not paying attention to any form of skepticism, confirmed the validity of the present moment.
John on the other hand found himself in his workshop with little space to move, surrounded by woman forging and hammering away to create this iconic bouquet and the need to practice copious amounts of patience. Luckily he has no shortage when it comes to kindness.
To focus on the design itself, the steel elements of the Capensis consists of the silhouette, laser cut by Sheetmetal Solutions in Somerset West. All 22 leaves and 300 cones were also laser cut in accordance to the technical drawings at Sheetmetal Solutions. Thereafter they were hammered, forged and dipped into sea water, by Jen and myself, to aid and hasten the rusting of the sheet metal. Fingers were burnt and legs were poked with the sharp points of the leaves, but smooth sailing never made for a skilled sailor. Thankfully, no one walked away with Arc eyes.
The concept of how to approach the flowers was established early on, yet Jen’s reassurance and added guidance with regards to what is possible assisted me greatly. I learned that a lot more than what I anticipated was actually possible with steel. The cone design came about through research on different techniques in creating a flower out of paper and could then be applied effortlessly thanks to modern technology.
Spanners, saw disks, wrenches, old saw drill attachments, a rake and old school ‘draad trekkers’ were reinvented to represent the various flowers in the Boschendal logo but to also draws from the lifestyle and equipment used on a farm assisting in the bountiful produce of arduous labour. I hoped to simply remind the observer of the work that goes into the creation of all the pleasure that they’ll happily enjoy at the new Boschendal restaurant. The symbol of a flower can be likened to the amount of hardship it must undergo for us to finally be astounded by its beauty and the same goes for the amount of work it has taken for Boschendal to stand where it is today. Perfecting through hardship.
I am incredibly pleased that the leaves and various elements of all the pieces in unison create a feeling of mechanical and methodical flow. This reflects the joy and effortless collaboration of this piece and everyone involved. I can now even liken it to the Chrono’s or Brachistochrone curve, pointed out to me by Jen when she picked up a forged curve from flat bar in John’s workshop.
While all of this was underway, Nic Grondman and Leonard Hartzenberg assisted with the meticulous work regarding the mirrors and 4mm reflective glass. His workshop in Ottery Rd called GLASS & MIRROR was of great assistance. This took quite some time but the job was done beautifully. This is a tough design to pull off due to steel shrinking and expanding under temperature extremes but with guidance from Nic, it seems all ended well.
Having finished the metal composition, the Capensis was transported to Gordon’s Bay with the help of a great friend Marc Julyan, who also assisted with the L.E.D. installation before the reflective glass could be fitted. Marc is well known for his logistical capabilities, and is currently applying his carpentry skills in the movie industry with set constructions. I have learned an immense amount from this craftsman.
The lighting and glass fitting was a daunting task, however no match for our determination. The L.E.D’s create the infinity mirror/effect and contribute to highlight the infinite possibilities when dedication and commitment to service is applied. I hoped that this could be a great representation of Boschendal’s commitment.
The mirrors and reflective glass stand to represent the reflections of ever-changing circumstances and the concept that what you give, you shall receive.
Upon the last stretches before installation we encountered some problems once the glass was fit into the separate compartments and for this we called on another great craftsman, Jurie Naudé. He had just the right tools needed to help me fit the odd angles back under the daisy without any damage done.
Jurie has a wonderful workshop and is an absolute master with any mechanical enquiry and a great source to rely on with puzzled panic-attacks.
Finally, things were looking up and the final fitting of the reflective glass was underway. Installation was a breeze with assistance from Marc Julyan and Dedrik Ruben Lourens (An incredible freelance artist and craftsman by trade, mainly stationed in Stellenbosch and the surrounds). These two gentleman have been of vital importance in helping me establish myself and lending a helping hand is never a problem for them. The final result being one of collaboration and admiration for all involved.
I wholeheartedly thank Boschendal, once again, for this wonderful opportunity to collaborate and celebrate. I hope we have made you proud and that the glass will mirror a continuum of spontaneous splendour within the Boschendal restaurant as it has for those who constructed it.
Preparing for lift-off; collecting scrap in Somerset-West.
Jen Bam, hammering away in Muizenberg at john’s workshop.
Lazer cut leaves in the process of being hammered into shape.
The forge being started up.
Beautiful hand bent by John.
Welding of the scrap parts.
Shaping of some of the flowers that would then become the infinity glass casings.
Floral shapes after spending time in the forge.
The product as it develops after being left in the forge and dunked in sea water.
The forge in action.
Rust and dust adds to the character.
The beautifully welded capensis.
Glass fittings underway.
Marc Julyan assisting with the L.E.D. fittings.
Mounting of the mirrors.
Final wiring with assistance from Jurie Naudé.
Workshop assistance in Somerset West with Jurie Naudé and his father.
Marc Julan and I working on the L.E.D. lighting.
Infinity mirror is up and running.
Dedrik Lourens and Marc Julyan prepping for installation.
Installation during the revamp for Boschendal Restaurant’s opening in Stellenbosch. 2017.
LEATHER JACKET DESIGNS FOR BEFOKTE FESTIVAL AT KNORHOEK, STELLENBOSCH.
PREVIOUS PROJECTS TO BE UPDATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.