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NovaWoolf

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

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.

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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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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.

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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.


 

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Yogle

Namaste

“the divine in me bows to the divine in you.”

My journey with Yoga has been an interesting one.  I have always been interested in Yoga, & see many of my friends posting about the different poses & the benefits it has has on them physically & emotionally.  I understand how the different flows & general relaxation of Yoga can allow stress to melt away; & how it helps your mind & body to get stronger.

When I attended my first ever Yoga class at the gym, I was frustrated with how little I could actually do & felt self-conscious about this fact.  I felt so stiff & the movements felt unnatural – it wasn’t helped by the fact that the instructor kept calling me out & telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough.  I left feeling defeated & was even more confused as to why people loved this practice…

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And then I attended an external class at a birthday event hosted by Hoko.  The emotional release was almost instant, & I found tears spring to my eyes.  I tried a few classes on this day, & it reminded me of the importance of finding a Yoga instructor that has a passion for what they are doing, & simply finding a flow that works for YOU.  I left feeling so relaxed & had such respect for all the Yogis out there.  I also knew this was something I wanted to continue with!

And now I am constantly on the hunt for more goodies that will improve my Yoga experience – & when Yogle was one of the pages recommended for me to follow I was super excited!

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Your name: Jenna Volkwyn
Business name:  Yogle
Social media handles: WebsiteInstagram & Facebook

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Tell me a little more about what you do:  
Having a background in start-up technology marketing, being a keen entrepreneur as well as a self proclaimed fitness addict, it seemed the appropriate time to launch my latest venture- Yogle, which is a complementary combination of the three. Yogle is a yoga towel brand (for now), bringing life to workouts through colour. Launched only in May 2019, it is a vision I am so excited has finally come to life and is now the centre and focus of my every day. Along with the community who have backed this venture from the start, I have had so much fun managing the creative looks of the towels and overseeing the manufacturing to ensure the highest quality materials are being used. Day to day, we are constantly seeking partnerships or collaborations in the industry, supporting those around us and bringing our clients only the best. Local is most certainly always lekker, and we are keen to get our teeth stuck in to what we believe is a very exciting road ahead.


Why do you encourage people to try yoga & adopt this into their lives? 
Oh my gosh, where to start? Yoga not only has physical benefits, including improved
posture, strength building and better blood flow, but anyone who has practiced yoga has felt the mental benefits as well – Feeling a deeper sense of clarity, tranquillity, calmness (due to the breathing techniques it uses) and that feeling of absolute bliss.
For me personally, I like the challenges, both physical and mental that Yoga brings me.

I myself am not an amazing Yogi.
I went to my first Yoga class about a year ago and like most people, found that it generated an unforgettable feeling. It felt to me like all the stress of corporate life and small issues that seemed so big had just disappeared. Yoga was not easy and did not come naturally to me – This is what I loved so much about it. There is no ceiling to reach. There is something new to learn in every class, in every flow and something new to feel in every pose. No class is ever the same and every individual takes something different from the journey. Some feel physical benefits, some emotional and others it is an opportunity to switch off from the world and focus on themselves. You do not need to be good at yoga to feel these emotions and in fact, regardless of where you are, whether beginner or expert, there is still always a new milestone for you to reach or a new pose that you are working towards. It is an ever evolving workout with the world to learn. The accomplishment of finally hitting the pose you have been working so hard on, for months, is what does it for me personally.

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Where did this idea come from?  The more I did Yoga, the more determined I got to be stronger and the more fascinated I became with the industry. I began to try various products and brands, trying to find the right mat, the right towel and the right equipment. Most of the yoga towels I did find were not great quality which causes you to slip off the towel and loose concentration. All the good quality towels I did find, would cost me an arm and a leg. There are some beautiful towels out there, and with the passion I had found for the industry, I wanted to be involved. With that, came my brightly coloured yoga towels which became known as Yogles. I can’t wait for what
is to come, but until then, I am having the time of my life.

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What makes your yoga towels so special:   In one word: Quality. On top of that, our Yoga Towels are brightly coloured and have very vivid patterns on them. This has been done to welcome the emotions that colour brings to us throughout our everyday lives. We want our towels to stand out and bring energy, vibrancy and positivity to a room. They are exceptionally high quality microfiber with non slip silicone dots which will grip into the yoga mat underneath and prevent you from slipping during your practice. They can be popped into the washing machine no problem which is a real win, particularly after a hot yoga session.

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Why a towel rather than a mat:  Our Yogle towels go hand in hand with any Yoga mat. Our towels dimensions are 61cm X 183cm which allows them to cover the mat
entirely. Many yoga fans are finding that the mat alone is not sufficient in grip due to the sweaty surface that it becomes; leaving you slipping and sliding during your workout. Having a towel to grip into the mat and prevent this is essential when performing
yoga, so that you can focus on holding your poses and building the strength without worrying. A yoga towel is also more hygienic, as the moisture is absorbed into the towel (rather than the mat) which is then thrown into the washing machine, ridding it from
all the oils from your skin, dead cells and sweat. It becomes the hygienic barrier between you and the mat you use. A towel is also essential if you do not own your own mat and are relying on using the studio mats – Do you really know where they have been?

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Where can people buy these from:  We are retailing online at the moment, and we ship for free across South Africa.

Quote you live by:  “Don’t over think it”

Anything else you would like to add:  We are always looking for Yogi’s to do shoots with. We are also keen to do marketing collaborations, supporting one another’s brands and growing an even bigger community. In order for our quality to be felt, we are looking to stock in various studios across the country. For any further info or collaboration opportunities, please feel free to reach out.

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Aren’t these simply stunning?

I have my eye on the Fornax Yogle – especially when I see this is described as the most fiercely coloured & vibrant of them all…


 

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