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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.

Your name: Ilse Lewis.

Business name: NovaWoolf

Ilse 2017 -2

Social media handles:
NovaWoolf:  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Website
NovaWoolf Yoga:  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Website

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!!

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Nova-Yoga (127 of 190)

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.

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Nova-Yoga (188 of 190)

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.

NovaWoolf-Maryke-Albertyn-Photography (110 of 110)

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 🙂


NovaWoolf-Maryke-Albertyn-Photography (92 of 110)

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.

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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.

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NovaWoolf-Maryke-Albertyn-Photography (40 of 110)

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!

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Nova-Yoga (27 of 190)

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.”
~Albert Einstein.

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.


Calli And Co

With my whole focus on “going green” & living a life that doesn’t affect the environment as much, I have been putting a lot of research into this.  I am also preferring to support small local businesses & am really being drawn towards those that show their heart for what they are doing.  And that is why I am so thrilled to be writing a little more about this company called Calli & Co.

I have realised over the years that there are many people who have an aversion or allergy to certain cleaning products.  In fact, there are some that we just cannot use in our home as my husband has a very sensitive skin & I often had my symptoms exacerbated by strongly-scented products.  Whilst doing more research for this post, I also discovered that fumes given off by certain products can cause cancer & liver damage; & have even been known to cause dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, loss of appetite, & disorientation.  How flipping scary is that?  Researchers also say the chemicals in household cleaning products can damage your lungs as much as smoking cigarettes. Living in a clean house may be good for your health, but actually cleaning your home to get it to that condition may be bad for you.  This really hit home for me as I had a lung cancer scare last year & had to undergo an open lung biopsy which was extremely painful & the recovery was tough – never mind if it had come back positive for cancer!

All of this added to the fact that we need to be more aware of not only what we are putting into our bodies (i.e. food & drink); onto our bodies (i.e. creams, lotions, washes etc); but also what we are using around us – such as the cleaning products.  Another feature of Calli & Co that I adore is that they come in glass bottles, which means that they can be reused or even recycled.

Your names: Candice Larsson and Gillian Zietsman


Business name: Calli & Co

Social media handles: Facebook & Instagram

Tell me a little more about your business:  We are two friends that make non-toxic, biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning products that are safe to use for kids as well. Our products come in reusable glass bottles and our stockists have either a bottle buy back system, or you can just simply refill your existing bottle in store.


What made you start this up:  We are really passionate about saving the environment and are anti-plastic, but we were also shocked by how many toxins are in our everyday products. All the eco-friendly, or non-toxic products on the market were either way too expensive, not readily available and we couldn’t find any that weren’t in plastic bottles. So we decided to make our own. We did lots of research on ingredients that were actually non-toxic, not just to use but also when they run down the drain, are treated and eventually enter the sea. And we wanted them to actually work and kill bacteria! 🙂

What is your current special offer on your cleaning range: You can get our whole range, the 500ml Super Cleaner, 500ml Everyday Cleaner and our 100ml Mould Buster for just R200 delivered to your door.


Why do you encourage people to use natural products: There are all kinds of scary research into how chemicals affect our bodies, how people are getting sick and not even realizing you could be potentially poisoning yourself and your children. With high allergy rates increasing all the time it’s so much safer to use natural products. Most cleaning and cosmetic industries aren’t required to disclose their ingredients. There are incredible natural ingredients that not only do the same thing than nasty chemicals, but actually perform better have no side effects!

Do you make these products yourself & how did you decide on the ingredients:  Yes we make them ourselves. One of main ingredients in our Super Cleaner that we use to kill bacteria is oxygen. Not only does it kill all kinds of bacteria but it also benefits the water as it runs down the drain. It makes your stainless steel extra sparkly, kills mould AND it’s at a dilution safe enough for kids to drink (although we don’t recommend it). Our other main ingredient in our Everyday Cleaner is clove oil, also with a safe food-grade acid. Clove oil has incredible anti-oxidant properties, can kill gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and actually helps boost your immune system.

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What are the different products that you make: Our Super Cleaner is just that, a super cleaner – safe for your septic tank, disinfecting sponges and cutting boards, drains and baths and showers even small cuts and scratches. Our Everyday Cleaner (with clove oil) is perfect for all your counter tops, for decreasing pots and pans, absorbing odors, and great for kids furniture. We have just launched our Mould Buster that you can actually watch the mould fizz and dissolve before your eyes. Use it on your grouting, in your shower, on walls, on bags or anything else that could be affected by mould.

Quote you live by: Make the Earth Green Again.

I have made use of these products since I received them last week & am so impressed with how well they clean, but also how ‘clean’ the scent is too.  I ensure that I am following them on social media, as they are constantly putting out more tips on how you can use their products, & their most recent one stated the following:  “Do you ever think about how often your scrubbing brushes get cleaned? Leftover food and waste in between bristles breed bacteria BUT our Super Cleaner sorts that all out for you! ✨Spray your brushes and leave them overnight, not only does it kill bacteria but actually prevents more from growing! Yay! Clean brushes for clean plates 😄🙌🏼”


This is a local business that we all need to get behind.  By making small changes to our lives right now, we are making a big difference to the world!  Calli & Co, you will definitely be seeing more of me…  Thank you for all you are doing, & for wanting to make a change whilst encouraging others to as well.



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