Estelle Sinkiins
5 minute read
11 Jun 2009

Weave around Midlands art and craft

Estelle Sinkiins

SEVERAL of the founder members of the Midlands Meander have joined forces to stage a special exhibition which aims to put homegrown arts and crafts back at the heart of the midlands tourism trail....

SEVERAL of the founder members of the Midlands Meander have joined forces to stage a special exhibition which aims to put homegrown arts and crafts back at the heart of the midlands tourism trail.

The Rolling Exhibition, which is being hosted by the Midlands Crafters’ Guild from June 13 to 28, will take place at seven venues — Shuttleworth Weaving, Ardmore Ceramic Art, Corrie Lyn & Co, Groundcover Leather Company, Hillfold Pottery, Dargle Valley Pottery and The Woodturner.



Helen and Andy Shuttleworth, their son, Robert, and a skilled team of crafters produce carpets, throws, shawls and clothing at a farm on the Fort Nottingham Road, selling their wares both nationally and to clients in New York and London.

During the exhibition, visitors will be able to see Shuttleworth Weaving’s own wares, as well as paintings by Bronwen Findlay, bronze sculptures by Bruce McClunan, silver and gold jewellery by Sean Leipoldt, and wood, metal and grass sculptures by Takawira Debe. The Wine Cellar will also be present, offering visitors the chance to taste its new range of midlands wines.

Helen Shuttleworth said the idea of holding exhibitions isn’t new. “We used to do it long ago when we first started the Meander. We would have exhibitions twice a year at Easter and Christmas.

“It is taking us back to what the Meander was all about in the beginning…back to the roots of the Meander, which was good crafts, and getting people to come to the artists and crafters’ studios to see what they do and how they do it.”

For more information, phone 033 266 6818



Ardmore Ceramic Art at Caversham was established by Fee Halsted-Berning 20 years ago, and provides artists with the opportunity to work in an environment that encourages the expression of their imagination based on nature, Zulu folklore and tradition. The result is an incredibly rich tapestry of art that blends African artistic talent with Western ceramic technology.

On show will be works by Victor Shabalala, Somandla Ntshalintshali, Obed Mthandeni, Punch Shabalala, Roux Gwala, Siyabonga Mabaso, Jabu Nene, Virginia Xaba, Petrus Gumbi, and Wiseman Ndlovu.

For more information, phone 033 234 4869. 



Ceramics can also be found at Hillfold Pottery at Lidgetton, where renowned ceramcist, Lindsay Scott, produces his high-temperature, oil-fired stoneware and porcelain, alongside Albert Ntombela’s range of terracotta planters. During the exhibition visitors will also be able to see beautiful wall hangings created by fabric artist, Leonie Malherbe.

“I was one of the original artists and crafters who started the Meander in 1983/84 and I’m keen to see the area focusing on arts and crafts again,” Scott said.“We need to let people know we’re here and that we are still able to sell directly from the Meander.”

For more information, phone 033 234 4597.


Master potter, Ian Glenny, established Dargle Valley Pottery in 1976 and was one of the original founder members of the Midlands Meander.

His use of nearby clays and raw materials gives his work an original and robust character — and all his decorative and functional ware in porcelain, stoneware and terracotta, and his distinctive ceramic fireplaces, are showcased in a massive gallery, designed and built by Glenny from salvaged materials.

For more information, phone 033 234 4377.



The Dargle is also home to The Woodturner’s master craftsmen, John and Andrew Early, who create contemporary furniture and beautiful bowls from salvaged wood — mostly from exotic species like jacaranda, pinoak, blackwood and Indian mahogany. In the rare instances when they use indigenous wood, the trees have usually been felled out of necessity or are casualties of storm damage.

Each bowl is turned from wet wood, left to dry for up to four years and then returned, sanded and waxed or oiled. These pieces will continue to dry throughout their lifetime, making them living artwork.

Andrew Early believes the exhibition is crucial for the artists and crafters on the Meander. “It was started because of crafts and crafts need to be back as the main thing on the Meander. That’s why most people come,” he added. “It will be exciting to get back to the way it was in the old days.”

For more information, phone 033 234 4548.



Corrie Lyn & Co on the Petrusstroom Road is home to a 100-year-old barn which serves as a showroom for Robin Fowler’s furniture, which ranges from classic to contemporary and encompasses beds, tables, chairs and even kitchen island units.

Fowler uses exotic woods from trees which have fallen or been felled, and recycled wood from old buildings, like Oregon pine and yellowood. He is assisted by Raymond Zakwe, Petros Dladla and Siyabonga Duma, all of whom will have work on show during the exhibition.

Also showing work at Corrie Lyn are Mick Haig, who creates functional ceramics, Andre Watson, who paints wildlife in oils, wirework from Siyabonga Duma, linen by Lore Nel and cards by Mandy Crookes.

Fowler’s wife, Tinks, believes having the exhibition is a good idea because the Meander now has very few people who make their own stuff. “We’re the exception now rather than the rule. But people want to come out to the Meander area and see handmade stuff and the people who make it,” she added.

For more information, phone 033 234 4377.