During our infertility journey, a book was recommended to me time and time again. It was a book recommended by other women that had also struggled to fall pregnant, those that had undergone IVF, those that had experienced unexpected loss, and those that truly understood the emotional toll that infertility takes on not only your body, but also your mind. This book is called “The Underachieving Ovary”, and honestly I feel it is a book that everyone should read. I cried, laughed, got excited, and had my heart shattered – all in one book. And once I had finished it I did some more research into the author, JT Lawrence, and was amazed to discover that she is South African.
I have always been a bookworm and love nothing better than curling up in a spot of sunshine to devour my latest book. My husband often returns home over a weekend to find me cuddled up under a blanket with a cup of tea in one hand, and my book in another. And JT Lawrence has been one of my favourite authors ever since that first book of hers that I read. I couldn’t believe it when she responded to my email requesting a short interview for my blog, and feel so honoured that one of my role models took the time to answer my questions and come on board. So without further ado, here is the amazing JT Lawrence!
Your name: Janita Lawrence – known as JT Lawrence to readers
I’m currently obsessed with growing food in my victory garden
I’m addicted to walking and podcasts
I went to boarding school
I used to be an art director in advertising
I wear a wolf hat in winter
I bake bread and make kombucha
I grew up with Roald Dahl bedtime stories (thanks, Mom!)
I wear black almost all the time
I love Agnes Obel’s music
I’m fascinated by psychedelic medicine
I read gardening books to unwind
I used to draw and paint
I’m currently volunteering for the Covid-19 vaccine trial
I was on a billboard once
My 8-year-old son says I’m the “strangest mom he’s ever met”
I’ve been skydiving (and scuba diving with ragged tooth sharks)
In January I met a cow on a mountain and I haven’t been able to eat beef since. Lasagne used to be my favourite dish. Now we eat a lot of lentils.
Tell me a little more about you: I’m a mom to 3 free-range children, 2 cats and a kitten, a hamster, and a dozen happy chickens. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to imagine a life so full of chaos and magic.
In our house we believe that love is love, black lives matter, feminism is about equality, trans women are women, science is king, kindness comes first, and it’s great to grow your own food.
How did you get into writing: I’ve always written–and always been delighted by peoples’ reactions–apart from a family friend who used to recite a poem I wrote when I was 8 every single time we saw him. 30+ years later, my whole family still know the rhyme.
Twinkle twinkle little dragon
How I wonder about your wagon
Going sixty miles per hour
Eating people sweet and sour.
What genre are your books: I hop between genres. I’ve written psychological suspense, thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction: memoir. At the moment I’m focusing on urban fantasy due to the success of BLOOD MAGIC.
Which book holds the most meaning for you: This is like asking which child is my favourite, the answer to which is usually the one who is not currently crying.
Who do you think these books would appeal to: Anyone who enjoys escapist page-turners and staying up all night reading “just one more chapter”.
Where can people purchase your books from: Amazon is the best place, but I do sell signed paperbacks to local readers.
What do you wish more people knew about you: I hate phone calls.
The first book of yours I ever read was “The Underachieving Ovary” & it helped me through my infertility journey – what inspired you to write this: My underachieving ovary! I hoped that getting the story out there would be healing for me and helpful to others. Infertility is a lonely place to be.
Why are you proudly South African: At the moment, my favourite thing about SA is the long growing season and the blue sky.
Quote you live by: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Einstein
Anything else you want to add: If any of your readers would like to try out my work, they can grab this bundle of stories, free of charge. http://eepurl.com/cm-QVf
I am still pinching myself that I have been able to feature the one and only JT Lawrence here, and can highly recommend her books to you. Even husband (who is not a reader at all) has really enjoyed the books that he has tried, and he currently has one sitting on his nightstand.
I really enjoyed getting to know JT Lawrence better, and adore her honesty and sense of humour. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and please let me know when you manage to read one of her books yourself.
Inge’s work is absolutely beautiful. She creates digital designs of any images that you send to her, and captures the essence of what is being expressed – showing love, admiration, excitement, happiness, and so on. I first came across her Facebook page when I saw a friend sharing one of her posts, and knew that I not only wanted to get an image from her, but also that I had to feature Fine Wine Designs on my blog!
This is a #BossBabe who turned around lockdown for her benefit, and inspires others around her to follow their dreams and aspirations. What more could I ask for as a feature during Women’s Month?
3 fun facts about you: -Lover of dogs
-I love cheeseball 80’s movies. Dirty dancing is my favorite!
-One of my biggest fears- Public speaking.
Tell me a bit more about what you do: Out of boredom during the Lockdown period, I started playing around with digital designs because I really wanted a new, cool profile picture for Instagram and this is really how it all began. People started to ask me about my profile picture and before I knew it, I got my first few orders in! Because of all my lovely clients, I was able to expand my small business and can now print and frame my designs for my clients which I absolutely LOVE because then I provide my designs to my clients in it’s final and most beautiful state. My designs can be used for business logo’s, invitations, greeting cards, wedding favors and so much more!
How would you describe the style of your designs: I would describe my designs
as unique, fun and timeless.
Have you always been creative: Yes. Since I was a little girl I loved making things look beautiful. I use to redecorate our house without my mom knowing. Things like removing portraits from the wall I thought didn’t look nice or replacing the cushions on the couch with the hope she won’t notice it. I also loved turning old things like picture frames into something new! I always designed my own party invitations and did scrapbooking as a little girl because I just loved putting things together to make it look beautiful and I still have that same love for it.
What has been your personal favourite one: I don’t think I will be able to choose only one. I love to make family portraits especially when there are pets involved!
How can people place an order from you:
They can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just DM me on Instagram or Facebook.
How much do your designs cost: The costs of my designs varies due to different styles, different requirements and specifications etc. I quote my clients on the specific style they want as well as their specific requirements.
Who do you think would enjoy one of your designs: I really think my designs are for everyone! Whether you are just looking for a new, trendy profile picture for Instagram, or a unique and special gift for a loved one.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors! They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future.
Quote you live by: Be courageous and live the life that your heart is guiding you toward.
I absolutely adore these, and perhaps you will be seeing one of Inge’s designs as my next profile picture… You can have your design printed and framed, or even printed onto a mug to remind you (or someone you love) of a special moment in time. I also love the idea of using these as your wedding favours!
Please try to support local whenever possible, and let me know if you discover any amazing businesses that we need to know about.
Inge, you are one in a million and I have loved every moment of getting to know you better. I can’t wait to see more of your creations, and your creativity continue to grow.
When Carmen from 21 Folds reached out to me with regard to doing a collab, I spent some time looking through her posts and creations, and couldn’t actually believe that these detailed, tiny earrings were handmade with so much love and talent. She has a process to get here, and every piece is unique. Owning a pair of 21 Folds earrings is literally like owning a piece of art!
Yesterday we met up as she had created a pair just for me, and I had to hold myself back from giving her a great big squeeze (#socialdistancing), so we settled for elbow taps and squeals. I immediately came home, threw on the earrings and put together a crazy makeup look to match the magic of my unicorn origami earrings.
The earrings also reminded me why I am so obsessed with unicorns…
“When you hear hoofbeats look for horses not zebras.”
This is a saying that is common in the medical fraternity, and means that doctors should always look for the most common reason for the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing – so rather than assuming the person has a rare disease, assume it is something “normal”. It is for this reason that rare patients are often referred to as zebras. However, I think we should be known as unicorns as we are so rare, magical, and often a little crazy! We shouldn’t exist, but we do, and we often try spread love and positivity wherever we are.
However, I digress, let’s get back to Carmen and her beyond-your-wildest-dreams talent!
I am a complete fantasy, scifi and DnD geek. I helped launch sci-fi and fantasy indie publisher Stubborn Raven and edited my husband’s short story for publishing.
I for sure have ADHD, watermelon and mash potatoes are some of my favourite foods, but not together…never together.
My husband & I are obsessed with travel and I have been to over 30 countries, on many a shoestring-budget but it is always an adventure.
Not so fun facts but facts nonetheless:
I have a Post grad in business from Wits business school, this has allowed me to consult in various fields and allows for a lot of insight in my own practice and businesses. #canrecommend
I’m a practicing audiologist and speech therapist, my practice is at Milpark hospital, I love my work in the medical field.
Tell me a bit more about your business: 21Folds is still brand spanking new and currently we offer paper origami earrings as our main product! I can’t say it better than our about page so here it is:
A celebration of the intricacies of paper folding and the joy of wearing a piece of art. Each piece is designed with thought and made with passion. Welcome to 21Folds, where I blend art and adornment!
I create origami masterpieces that you can wear. But to me it’s more than jewelry – these origami pieces are the manifestation of what makes creating so amazing and fulfilling: An unavoidable wonderlust, forgetting about perfection and celebrating the wonderful, and the willingness to collaborate with my fellow human.
The variety of collections, which is the paper type and pattern, and the folds, are chosen and created in such a way that you will be able to find the collection style that speaks to you.
Why origami: A friend actually left her origami book with some paper behind when she immigrated and I decided to pick it up one day in November last year, it frustrated the hell out of me so I just kept forging ahead until one day the technique clicked. Once it clicked I was really hooked on it and just kept escalating to more complex folds! (I always had some sort of folding gene where every school newsletter was folded up into a tiny square to get lost in the bottom of my backpack until the end of the term.)
Have you always been interested in creative things: Yeah, I’ve always dabbled in something or the other, be it painting large murals on our house walls, editing books, building a desk (a circular-saw is for sure one of the best birthday gifts I have received recently) or just doodling. I was one of those kids that did every single extra-mural activity be it sports, arts or culture. Everything interested me (just not accounting). I think I enjoy learning a new skill and problem solving the most of all and it leads me into various creative spaces. Origami just seems to keep my interest more than most things., possibly a true passion has been born.
Why did you start this business: I received origami earrings as a gift over Christmas while traveling in Chille and Argentina, it was at the time where origami really became a pass-time for me, and I was like – ‘I could fold that’ and just started experimenting and creating more and more different folds and designs, pushing to get them smaller and smaller. I initially planned to start in selected store fronts and markets first and get a feel for what works before launching online but then covid hit so I had to pivot and push all my resources into developing a website and solidify my concept, and here we are!
So to sum it up, basically I started more out of pure joy of creating and the need to share that love and passion.
What makes your earrings so unique: Well even if I try the chances of me making two pieces exactly the same is very slim. Each paper pattern unfolds in its own way, I have an idea of where to place certain colours on certain folds to try and place a pattern in a specific spot, but in general I just let the folds go where they want. I also strive to collaborate with other artists, and humans are at the core of my inspiration for my art.
Do you do custom orders: Not yet but soon! At the moment my focus is on solidifying my brand and growing a following, there will however be some limited edition (one of a kind type) ranges coming out!
What has been your favourite pair of earrings that you have created: Oh gosh it’s like picking your favorite child! The Mori & Mukai collections are possibly my own personal favourites, not just because of the earring designs but because of the amazing women they were inspired by, it feels like the two women are polar opposites – one creative, artsy and a fashion designer and the other a doctor, astronaut and scientist. Both of these resonate with me, I love that I can be a medical professional and an origami artist, a DnD geek and a netball jock, I like that different things can occupy the same space. I think that’s true creativity.
How can people order from you: Online from my store www.21folds.com. Soon in some selected stores, and hopefully international shipping will be available in the near future.
Who do you think would enjoy your creations: Anybody that loves origami, art and design and appreciates the intricacies of the technique and how it blends with the art. I try to design something for everyone.
Quote you live by:
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein
“Fake it till you make it”
Anything else you want to add: It takes 21 folds for me to fold the iconic crane, my first origami animal I folded, thus 21folds was born!
I have two adorable spaniels, you can check out their shenanigans on @a_bork_able!
We are launching a giveaway today on my social media platforms, where you can win a pair of the gorgeous unicorn earrings for yourself. These are not available for sale on Carmen’s website, and simply can’t hold a value due to the uniqueness and love!
Thank you so much Carmen for all that you are doing, and for sharing your talent with us. You truly are one in a million, and I can’t wait to see more people wearing these beautiful creations.
Have you ever tried origami? And what have you created?
When I saw Dear Deer sharing an image that they had had done, I absolutely loved the soft colours, the style and the gentleness of the images. Rubina’s social media is beautiful, and immediately draws you in as you get a snapshot into not only her talent, but also her passion for what she does. I am sure that you will fall in love with it too as you see her gorgeous creations and creativity.
What are 3 fun facts about you: I love to travel, love dogs, and love music.
Tell me a little more about your business: Fleur de Mai started out of the blue really. I saw some cute illustrations on Instagram and started learning. I started in November 2019 and has been going since. My online store is launching in the near future with a brand name change.
How would you describe your style of art: I love minimalistic and neutral colours for my illustrations. But once in a while i will have a pop of colour in there.
Have you always been creative: Not at all. I am more analytical than creative but i started learning and find out you can do anything you set your mind to.
Do you do custom orders: I do custom orders for weddings, birthdays and all occasions 🙂
How much is an order from you: A single portrait is R350 and every additional person added is R150.
What is your favourite piece that you have done: There are so many and all of them are so unique. My favourite changes every week lol.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Local businesses strive to bring the best for its people and without us supporting them they do not survive and by our support we are helping them build their dreams.
How did lockdown affect you: It did not really. it allowed me to have more free time to spend on my designs.
Quote you live by: Different doesn’t mean wrong. I love this saying because we are all different and we can all learn from each other and that’s the beauty of being different
Anything else you want to add: I think as an artist and small business, growing an audience on Instagram is hard and sometimes discouraging but I have learned that every like and comment is special because someone took the time to like and to comment and we have to appreciate every little thing that makes our community on Instagram. Likes and follows are not the most important thing. Staying true to the brand and delivering is what makes you, YOU!
Don’t you adore her? And her style of art?
It was such an honour getting to know Rubina, and she has been so kind right from the very first message I sent to her. I cannot wait to see her flourish, and more of her images tagged across your social media.
Have a beautiful day lovelies, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, support local, and always choose kindness x
If you don’t know this about me by now, I LOVE finding South African artists and discovering new styles of art. There is nothing more special to me than receiving personalised gifts, and really seeing the time, effort, and love in the choice of spoiling.
Katy-Jane has such a unique style of art that is full of soft colours, happy memories, and absolute inner beauty. Her art evokes such joy whenever I see a new piece, and I often see that these are used to capture very special moments. I am thrilled to bring you an interview with this talented #GirlBoss below.
Tell me a bit more about yourself: Currently I’m in the process of building my own sustainable Fashion Label. Sustainability within the fashion industry sits extremely close to my heart and if I can make a slight difference to our ever so growing world; why not? Local is lekker.
I have two years experience working as a Freelance Fashion Designer/Creator in Cape Town. I’ve done work for brands such as Woolworths and Markhams, creating CAD’s, Techpacks and Prints. I’ve also done my fair share of Internships… Truworths, Crystal Birch and Aisha Baker.
At present, I am a short course Digital Design Lecturer at Design Academy of Fashion. Teaching to both part-time students and industry workers. I help people fall in love with the digital fashion world. Before venturing into the design world I spent four years of my life in the hospitality industry, owning and managing my own coffee shop, Blonde&Beard.
I have a love for people, I have a love for serving people and a huge soft spot for coffee.
Have you always been artistic: YES – I grew up in a very creative and artistic household. My Mom and Sister inspire me daily – I actually send through every illustration to Mom to get her approval before sending off to it’s new home (she’s my bestie and biggest inspiration).
How would you describe your style of art: Quirky and unique? I guess I find describing my art very difficult, I’m not someone to boast 😉
What makes your art different to others: The amount of love that I pour into each illustration, this is my magical remedy 💛
How can people place an order with you: Placing an order is super easy and user friendly; one could just hop onto my Facebook or Instagram page and pop me a message OR they can also mail me at email@example.com
What emotion do you hope people feel when they see your creations: HAPPINESS | I strive to portray happiness and emotion throughout all my illustrations.
Which is your personal favourite piece of art that you have done: A personal favourite of mine is pretty much anything animal / pet related. I LOVE drawing up Pet Portraits – who doesn’t love staring at a cheerful doggy or beautiful kitty all day? There’s an innocence about them that tends to bring me peace & calmness.
How did lockdown affect your business: Lockdown actually enabled me to start my illustration business so I’d 100% give lockdown a thumbs up from my side.
Why do you encourage people to support local: I think by supporting local you are supporting your country or better yet even your home town; there’s just something so special about this. To me it brings a community together, makes us stronger as a ‘whole’ and allows small businesses to grow and get the recognition they deserve!
Quote you live by: “So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring your flowers.”
Anything else you want to add: I’m a HUGE coffee Lover!
Are you not completely and utterly obsessed over this art? I am crushing hard on her artwork, and absolutely loved chatting to Katy-Jane. You can feel her positivity and happiness bubbling out of every pore, and she was an absolute joy to get to know.
I’m definitely going to be placing an order for a piece of work for our home soon. An anniversary gift, wedding present, birthday surprise, or something to celebrate a special occasion – it would suit any of these. Please tag me in your pic if you get one done! I would love to see how they turn out.
In case you haven’t already seen, I am currently running the most amazing competition alongside T.Knots, O Nutricia Collagen and Charlie Loves Studio. These small businesses really fill my life with such joy, and the idea for the giveaway came after spending some time chatting to Taryn and completely falling in love with what she has doing, her beautiful creations, and just her entire being.
Yesterday I received my very own T.Knots creation and I immediately knew where I was going to hang it. This has a place of pride at our front door, in our little patio area. It looks stunning, and even husband agrees! I cannot wait to tell you more about this wonderful woman and show you more of her work.
Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting (rather than weaving or knitting) techniques.
The primary knots of macramé are the square (or reef knot) and forms of “hitching”: various combinations of half hitches. It was long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to cover anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships.
Cavandoli macramé is one variety that is used to form geometric and free-form patterns like weaving. The Cavandoli style is done mainly in a single knot, the double half-hitch knot. Reverse half hitches are sometimes used to maintain balance when working left and right halves of a balanced piece.
Tell me a few fun facts about yourself: I didn’t think I have a hobby or a talent and lockdown showed me I have both of those by making people happy with my Macramé magic.
What inspired you to start this business: I unfortunately lost my job in the Hospitality Industry and I needed to look for something funky and modern but different to do and therefore I made a few knots one day and Viola!!
Please explain Macramé to us: Macramé started in the 1970. This means that you are using creativity and your passion for making something unique by using different knots. Macramé is all about UNIQUE!
Have you always been a creative: I haven’t been creative, and a month ago I started using my hands and creating this beautiful products. I do come out of a incredibly creative family!
What is your personal favourite piece that you have created so far: My personal favorite so far is Macramé Hibiscus! DEFINITELY!
Do you do custom pieces: I do any custom picture that you send me! (Off course it will be unique)
Why do you encourage people to support local: Because there is a ton of fantastic talents out there and so many people lost jobs during this pandemic and by showing their talent they are making money!
How can people order from you: By popping me a email, or by popping me a DM on my Facebook Page or Instagram. And of course I am always available on my phone (0836569919)
Quote you live by: “Everything happens for a reason”
In my previous blog about the Tiny Dollhouse, I said that my ideal room would have a macrame wall hanging, and now I actually have one of my own in my home! I know that I will definitely be getting more of these stunning pieces, and definitely have my eye on some of the plant hangers as I have been wanting more greenery inside for ages – especially with the theme of our bedroom and the generosity of space that we are blessed with.
When I showed my mum my new acquisition last night, she said they used to have similar items hanging in their home and I think it is so amazing that trends seem to do a full circle and always return.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway on both Instagram and Facebook if you would like to own some very special pieces from South African businesses – or place your order for a unique piece.
I follow quite a few make-up artists on Instagram, and one of my favourites is Charli X Boi. A little while ago he posted a piece of fan art that had been done of him, and I was blown away! The design popped out at me, and just exuded happiness and joy. I reached out to Yuvianca about her beautiful work, and she was so friendly and accommodating. I knew you guys would appreciate her stunning work too so had to do a little feature on her! Her prices are reasonable, her talent insane, and her heart is so full of kindness. Keep reading for more…
How would you describe your style of art: I like to think of my art as a combination of line art and digital art.
Have you always been so creative: Yes I have. I actually had design and visual arts throughout my Primary and High school years. I love art and being creative. I like to transform something boring into something extraordinary!
How can people place an order with you: They can either message me through FB Messenger or Direct message on my personal Instagram or my design page’s Instagram.
How much do you charge for your pieces: R200 per design.
Can people still receive their order during lockdown: Yes they can, but they have to wait 2-3 days, because each designs is extremely time consuming.
What makes your art unique to others: My art is unique because I try to create my clients designs according to their personality and things that they love. I feel that makes the design much more personal.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Because before you can go global you need to start local. Everyone needs to start somewhere eventually!
Quote you live by: Be brave enough to take off the masks you wear on the outside and get to know who you are underneath. The flawed you, the beautiful you, the perfect you.
What do you guys think of her pieces? Don’t you think they are so divine? I love how unique they are, and I love Yuvianca’s positivity and outlook on life. It was so lovely to chat to her, and I know that I am definitely going to get a pic done by her soon. Any advice on which picture I should use?
Please support local artists – especially now during lockdown. These can be sent to friends or family all over the world, and would really be something special as a gift, or even as a spoil for yourself. Tag me in the pic once you have received it, as I would love to see more of her creations.
I am part of groups of inspirational women on Facebook, and I have learnt so much from each of them. I have learnt business hints and tips, social media hacks, and most of all I have seen a community of women who don’t really know one another band together and show their support throughout lockdown.
Recently there was a positive post on one of these groups from a lady called Sarah, who said that lockdown has reminded her of her true passion – creating and making art. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s it great to hear that something so positive could come out of a time that was filled with uncertainty and so much negativity?
I popped over to Sarah’s website and couldn’t believe her talent, as well as everything that she has achieved and been involved in. Jeepers – if there is ever a #BossBabe that I want to learn from, it’s Sarah. She has so many accolades under her belt, and is very well-known, yet she was gracious enough to spend time answering questions for my little blog. SO without further ado, meet Sarah…
Tell me a bit more about yourself: I’m a graphic designer and art director based in Cape Town. I spent about 6 years working in various agencies in the advertising industry, after realising that I no longer got up in the mornings excited for work I realised that I needed to make a change. So I resigned from my 9-5, went back to study for a year and in 2019 I decided to take a stab at freelancing full-time. The beginning was tough, filled with some tears, stress and anxiety about how I was going to pay the bills. But I persevered and always tried to be positive. Then everything changed for me when one person picked up the phone and gave me an opportunity that I’d been dreaming of since I started in this industry. 2019 was one of the best years of my life career wise and I have been so fortunate to work on some amazing campaigns that have taken me to Madrid, Nice and more recently Tokyo.
My art and illustration has always been a passion and love of mine and mostly something that I’ve done on the side. My Instagram handle started off as being a collection of little doodles that I doodled here and there documenting my insights into real-life in an honest and light-hearted way. Now seeing as how my business has been affected by the current times I’m looking and hoping to grow this passion of illustration and art into something more tangible.
The name of my business pays homage to my dog Meeka, who I rescued as a puppy from Woodstock in 2008 and shortly after became my creative muse. We aren’t quite sure what she is, but she’s white, fluffy and kinda looks like a poodle although my father is convinced that she’s a Coton de Tulear, which is basically a fancy name for a poodle.
Why does art and creativity make you so happy: It is the one place that I feel that I can totally be free. It brings me so much joy to create and share with others. Looking back it has always been a form of therapy for me. As a child I was always drawing and creating, I kept detailed visual diaries and in them I would document my world, thoughts and experiences. This has always been my way of dealing and processing things that I sometimes find difficult to verbalise.
How would you describe your style of art:
I struggle to describe the style of my work in words as for me it’s much more about emoting a feeling.
I don’t feel attached to a certain style but I would say that it’s more expressive and emotive. I’m still exploring different mediums and don’t want to be put into a specific category. Sometimes my work is playful, loose and light other times it’s more considered and crafted with layers and textures.
I work mainly digitally but for my hand initiated work I use a mixture of pencil, gouache and watercolour.
Has lockdown affected you personally and as a business: Oh gosh yes! I feel like B.C (before COVID) I was on a roll and feeling good about how my career was progressing. I had some amazing work lined up and I was so excited about it. Then BOOM… A lot of it ‘disappeared’ or was ‘put on hold’ in a flash. Some smaller jobs have trickled in here and there which have been keeping me going and distracted. But overall things have been a lot quieter than usual for me. In the beginning I was really down about it but I looked for the positive in the situation and tried to be pro-active with all the ‘down-time’ I now have. I turned back to my first love of creation which has always been drawing and painting. I started doing Illustration tutorials on Domestika and really stretching my imagination and reflecting on things that were happening around me. My work during this time has been helping me reflect, understand and be at peace with what is happening inside and out.
The positive of this crappy situation is that it’s made me realise how much I have missed and have neglected this part of creative heart. I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator (but have always been held back by self-doubt) maybe now is the time to really give it a go.
Do you do custom pieces: Yes! I’m always open to commissions and would love to create more work, specifically for others – whether that be a piece for your own walls, a gift for someone else or an editorial piece for a magazine.
What emotion do you want to evoke through your art: I guess in my personal work I like to explore themes of femininity, vulnerability, self-acceptance, caring and the inner-peace and tranquillity that comes when we stop and observe things around us. I’ve always been drawn to capturing portraits and the physical body as these are things that we associate with our own identity and something that I’ve personally struggled with.
My aim with my more playful work is to always bring some sort of joy to others, to make someone’s heart do a little jiggle. I hope that my more reflective work resonates with people on a more deeper, emotive level and helps others to process and accept similar experiences. I always want to have a sense of honesty about my work that is relatable to all.
What is one of your favourite pieces you have created:
Oh, that’s a tough one.. it would have to be The Girl & The Whale. I feel this piece really special to me because it was created in a time in my life where I felt so at peace and at ease with myself and the world around me.
How can people order a piece from you, or contact you to work with you:
Either through e-mail or my social media handles – Instagram/Facebook
What is your favourite part of the day: Jumping into bed at the end of a long day.
Quote you live by:
“One day at a time.”
Anything else you want to add:
If you’d like to see more of my art work, illustration and personal doodles please go check out my website and follow my Instagram. I do have some pieces available as well as prints, so if there’s something that you’d like please don’t hesitate to enquire about it.
Isn’t Sarah wonderful?
Please, if you are looking to work with her give her a shout – or let others know about her stunning work by sharing her page or pieces of art that truly speak to you.
Her doodles make me giggle so much, and the “Love Yourself” art is something that I think we could all learn from. Do you have a favourite? Let me know below.
And Sarah, thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for your love, passion, excitement and kindness – you are one in a million and I am so glad to have “met” you during one of the most difficult times the world is experiencing.
I love beautiful art. I love pictures that make you think, pictures that you can spend hours looking at, and images that evoke emotions in you that you may not have been experiencing initially. I love hand-drawn art, that you can see the skill and time put into it. But most of all I love seeing people’s creativity coming through in their own special way.
I was drawn to Ilse through her yoga mats initially, and then I discovered there was so much more than “just” these mats. I saw her posts about her art special she is currently running (believe me, you will want to check these out), and I got totally sucked into her website and the wide array of art that she offers. I felt like I had walked through a portal into a whole new world, and that night I even dreamt about some of the pieces I had seen. That’s when I knew I needed to reach out to Ilse and find out more about NovaWoolf, and get to know the creator.
Tell me a bit more about Nova Woolf:
NovaWoolf is the result of the creative and idealistic part of myself merging with the pragmatic, strategic part. It’s my sacred space to dream and to do, and to share it all with you. It started as only an Instagram page, where I could post my drawings and thoughts. This quickly grew into my own creative studio where I had been offering my design & illustrations services, selling my artwork, and I’ve participated in art exhibitions, locally and internationally. A lot has happened very quickly in the last couple of years and my business is constantly evolving. One day, I was looking for a fresh canvas for my artwork & posted a mockup of one of my paintings called “MoonMagic” onto a yoga mat! It made so much sense, since I practice yoga and my choices for yoga mats at the time were essentially limited to pink plastic or purple plastic!! I really wanted to create something magical that is kind to our bodies and to our planet – something I would actually use every day. The yoga mat mockup post received an overwhelming response, so it only made sense that I pursue this further & create my own conscious luxury yoga lifestyle brand. There are so many things in the pipeline for NovaWoolf Art and NovaWoolf Yoga & I’m beyond excited to see where this all goes!!
I see you have stunning yoga mats – please tell me about them: NovaWoolf yoga mats (and soon-to-be released yoga props!!!) reflect an equal measure of scientific engineering, and thoughtfully curated art, to create a magical product that will become a treasured part of your yoga story. I believe this type of integration between body & mind, emotional value & physical performance, ecological consciousness & personal satisfaction are key to living a balanced, healthy, abundant life. I believe in quality over quantity, consciously curating your life and only owning items that add value to your life.
Our products are truly exceptional! Each NovaWoolf yoga mat is created from hand-painted designs, and all our mats are extra-large and extra thick to support all bodies and to cushion the joints. They are also biodegradable, vegan, and made from natural and recycled materials. They are free from PVC and toxins often found in other yoga mats and are created to be kind to your body and our precious planet.
Our yoga mats are specially engineered and meticulously tested to offer you only the best-quality and performance features, to ensure that you are fully supported during any style of yoga practice and in any environment.
We are very excited that we will soon be releasing an extended range of yoga props (cork blocks and straps) and you are the first to know!! 😀 And there will be loads more to come in the future! We have a very long list of dreams, to say the least.
Why are your products so different to others:
NovaWoolf is not just another lifestyle, or fitness brand. It is borne from the values characteristic of an atelier. Each product is created with the utmost care and conscious intention to add magic and beauty to the world. Each product is thoughtfully created, meticulously tested, refined, refined some more, and then lovingly handed over to the wonderful community we have come to love and authentically connect with. We do not simply aim to ‘sell’, but to share our story with the world. I still cannot get over how incredibly wonderful it is that something I painted one late night while processing my thoughts in the privacy of my home and listening to my favourite artists in the background, can end up on a product that someone else, someone anywhere on the planet, uses every day! This to me is extremely special and is one of the main motivations that lies behind everything I do, and now that NovaWoolf as a company does. The other primary motivation that keeps us centred on creating what we do, is that the world is in desperate need of more light, more beauty, more conscious creators, more kindness in every way possible. We are simply doing our part to create the world that we would like to live in : one where humans live in harmony with nature, practice compassion and non-violence to all creatures, where connection is more important than competition, and where holistic wellness and balance are prioritised.
What would you call the style of art that you do:
I suppose my visual style is a bit ambiguous. It has oscillated between contemporary minimalist illustrations with a monochromatic colour palette, vs. colourful, layered, more abstract expressive, ink and watercolour works. The overarching, or connecting, qualities of my work is usually expressive, loopy lines, and emotive subject matter that explores themes of healing, growth, transformation, and integration.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I studied design at Vega and went on to work as an art director, then strategist, designer / illustrator, stylist… you name it, I’ve done it! My design background has been hugely influential, since I was always comfortable working digitally. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started returning to my traditional art supplies. I’ve fallen in love with painting again and as a result I will be very hesitant to return to digital illustrations in the future, as I have been doing previously. I also studied psychology and completed my MA in social & psychological research, so this theoretical background, combined with my own lived experience, is the reason behind my emotive subject matter.
Moving forward, my monochromatic illustrations are something of the past as I am focusing now more on colour, traditional media, saying my goodbyes to thinking in black and white, and embracing a much more intuitive, richer, more joyously complex, divinely connected, layered and joyful existence 🙂
What inspires you to create these:
My art is just an expression of whatever it is that is moving through me. I know that sounds extremely contrived, but it’s the only way I can authentically describe it. It used to be quite an intensely anxious, heavy experience, but it has recently become a much more enjoyable and light, yet much more complex, experience. So, to answer your question – it all comes from within myself, or through myself, I’m not even 100% sure… It’s an almost mystical process for me – I generally don’t plan ahead too much and I create intuitively and almost while in a bit of a trance. Generally, I set up my favourite music, create a comfy safe space, and just kind of see what needs to be expressed.
What Emotions do you want these art pieces to evoke in people:
I can’t say that I have an agenda or an expectation of the outcome, of how other people receive or perceive anything I do, to be honest. I create what I want /need to, I share it freely, and I’m super grateful that others seem to find value in it.
Have you always been creative:
Yeah, as a child I did a lot of competitive dancing, singing, poetry performances, I played piano, guitar for a little while as well, and just basically participated in any creative pursuits I could at school. I was never really much into sports, although I did play netball and hockey – not particularly well, but I did it hehe. Thank goodness I’ve found yoga, hiking, and more recently, rock climbing, as an adult! Then of course pursuing creative studies at Vega and working in the creative world has also been a huge part of my life. I’ve kind of come full circle after pursuing psychological research as well, as I now lecture research to creative students at Vega , where I started 🙂 I love that I have finally found a way to balance my creative side with my scientific, strategic side and that I’m able to finally satisfy all the different parts of myself – by being an artist /designer, researcher and lecturer, and business owner & director! I always knew a 9-5 was not going to do it for me, so I’ve had to create my own path and I’m finally starting to see the fruits of all the struggle, self-doubt, feelings of misdirection, and isolation. This is what I think conscious, intentional, creative living is all about.
Do you do custom pieces:
Absolutely! I’ve done many commissions for clients locally, and globally.
How can people order from you:
Either via my online store, or by getting in touch via email, or simply via social media messaging.
How has this lockdown affected your business:
Gosh – it’s been terrible, but then its been ok again. Naturally, not being able to trade at all for so many weeks in lockdown has had a major impact financially. However, the silver lining is that now, more than ever, South Africans are finally awakening to E-commerce, after quite a slow uptake in previous years. I’m extremely grateful that E-commerce has been given the green light again and that we are back in business!
Why do you encourage people to support local:
So many reasons! The preservation of local businesses support the preservation of communities and causes; it ensures that macro-scale policies support the communities most affected by them; it ensures the recycling of revenue back into the local economy instead of flighting profits from local pockets abroad to support external structures; it also supports more job creation and improved protection of individual livelihoods and wellbeing; and it supports sustainable living as local businesses are more invested in living in harmony with the resources in their immediate environment that they depend on.
Beyond all this – its true that when you purchase from a small local business, someone does a little happy dance! At NovaWoolf, that someone is me & I 1000% make sure those dances actually happen!
Quote you live by:
Oh gosh, there are SO many. If I absolutely had to choose one, it would be this:
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
It always reminds me that magic happens when you can successfully balance creativity with strategy, planning with letting go, light with dark, yin with yang, art with science. The ancient teachings of yoga, and the science of contemporary psychology both echo this idea of integration and wholeness, rather than the way of individuation, separation and disconnection we have been immersed in in the modern world.
Isn’t Ilse an absolute treat? And doesn’t her art speak to your very essence? I am SO glad that I stumbled across more of her talent, and could definitely picture a whole wall in our house being adorned with different pieces from her.
And let’s take a moment to appreciate her yoga mats… Imagine the talking point they would be? And being able to practice yoga in your backyard and truly feel connected to the earth with a beautiful mat at your feet. Now THAT would get me out and doing it more often.
Please continue to support local wherever possible. And pop over to Ilse’s social media pages to see more of what she has been up to.
Some time ago I wrote a blog about Samantha’s business, Sunkissed Handmade. I am a huge fan of her beautiful headgear, flower crowns, mermaid crowns and every single design she presents. This past week I saw another post on her page where she showed the fact that she can now turn you/a loved one into a MERMAID, as well as creating digital art of your pets. Now I don’t know about you, but I have always dreamt about being a magical being and this honestly excites me so much. Plus I know that my animals are royalty at heart so her creations are right at the top of my birthday wishlist!
Tell me a bit more about how this business came about: I have been running my own business as a freelance photographer and designer for almost 12 years now. Before I decided to work for myself, I worked as a fashion designer for suppliers to top retail stores and international brands.
I have been focusing on my photography and crown-making mostly, but when this lockdown started, I realised that it would need to change my focus.
My clients have come to expect a certain level of pretty, light and happy imagery from my photography and a delight for princesses, young and old, in my crowns. I wanted to offer the same feeling but in something digital.
I decided to promote my design page and particularly the fantasy portraits, as a whimsical escape from the harsh reality of life. They make the perfect gift in a time when we can’t leave our homes to actually give loved ones presents, and there are no courier costs involved. The A4 digital image can be sent to anyone with an email address anywhere in the world!
Have you always been so creative: Yes, absolutely.
I studied Textile design and then fashion design and worked in the fashion industry for many years as a graphic artist and designer, which is where I honed my photoshop skills, which came in handy when I started doing photography. I always have a creative project on the go.
Please can you tell me a bit more about the specials you are running at the moment:
I am currently offering A4 digital portraits for just R250 each during lockdown.
I have a variety of themes to choose from but an happy to make custom orders too.
Where did these ideas come from:
I have always photoshopped fantasy images for fun, usually for birthday cards or making memes. It always makes people so happy to get something personalised and meaningful as a gift.
Which have been your favourite mermaid & pet portraits:
I have to say, one of my favourites is the mermaid – purrmaid portrait I did of my cat Lilly.
I enjoy doing each artwork and love hearing how much my clients love them.
Can people still order from you during lockdown & how will they receive their images: Yes! I email your digital file to you, so it’s easy.
Who do you think your ideal clients would be: My ideal clients are the same amazing people who love my photography and crowns.
“They are day dreamers and night thinkers, they love music, books, movies , art, sunsets, forests and oceans and all things that make this world a more beautiful place. They are people with imagination.”
What do you need from people to create these images:
I need 3-5 photographs emailed to me. I do offer some guidelines as to which sort of images work best. You can email these through to me.
How has lockdown affected your business:
I have been unable to run my small business, I am a single mother and also support my parents and handicapped brother. So quitting is not an option.
Thankfully creativity is my super-power and I can draw on my experience and talent to keep providing for my family.
Quote you live by:
“A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labour and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do.
Leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both”
― James A. Michener
Anything else you want to add:
Please support small businesses at this time. There is no such thing as an “essential” or” non-essential” business.
Every business is essential to the person who earns a living from it.
“Have courage and be kind….and keep day dreaming”
Please follow all of Sam’s beautiful pages and support her artistic talent. These would make great birthday gifts, lockdown happiness, anniversary gifts, or even simply just-because. If you have always dreamed of magic, or if your daughter/niece/friend has a vivid imagination; why not make it a reality. Or if your pets personality makes you picture them as a dame from the 1920s, or a court jester, or even a student at Hogwarts – make this happen by contacting Sam. Her talent truly knows no bounds and she is one of the kindest people I have ever dealt with.