Taxidermy Chic: Shongololo Studio’s Painted Skulls

“Remember the article we wrote two years ago regarding the unusual skull décor trend? Well it has blasted full steam ahead and it’s no secret that we here at The Tabloid think it’s pretty cool! We recently chatted to artist Marika Gregory of Shongololo Studio who is taking this interesting trend to a whole new level. She uses animal skulls as her canvas – painting colourful, intricate patterns and designs on them…”

Q:  Tell us a bit about yourself and Shongololo Studio…

A: I am a 32 year divorced mother of three, who has decided that working my life away for what I felt was a false sense of security was not for me. After the divorce split I started throwing myself into producing art works again.

Shongololo Studio was created in September as a leap of faith and a crazy unusual creative idea. In 6 weeks I have managed to set up a studio in Emmarentia. I was invited to exhibit some of my creations at The Gallery on 6th, Parkhurst and am thrilled that the exhibition runs until 22 November 2013.

Q:  How did you get into the unusual business of painting skulls? Do you have an art or design background?

A: I completed my national N6 Diploma in Art at Parktown College in 2002. Having completed my studies,   I worked as a Graphic Designer. I also held various positions in Finance and HR. Someone I know had an animal skull in their garden that they wanted to throw away. Instead I asked to keep the skull even though at that time I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.   Then one day out of boredom I decided to use it as my canvas.

Q:  Where do you draw inspiration from when creating?

A: Every one of my creations has a story to tell.   The story is always upbeat and I tell it as if I was in conversation with the person reading it. I draw my inspiration from my life, things I like, things that have happened either with me or people I know. I have a particular piece that is about three cockroaches that live in the Home Brew Shop where I have set up my studio. I named the art work – AKA Fred, Larry and Bob. Fred one day decided to do more than just his normal eaves dropping and ended up running out of my best friend Jackie’s pants!?!?

After painting DIE ANTWOORD skull, I decided that I would paint one skull a month – one that will make a statement on current or past affairs that effect South Africa or the world. I plan on having my own exhibition once I completed twelve pieces.

Q:  Is there a certain style you admire or aspire to?

A: Nothing in particular. I keep on thinking about new ideas, themes and mediums to use on my creations. There was an article published not so long ago in the lifestyle section of The Star newspaper. The article was about “Taxidermy Chic” a new trend hitting the world.  I was amazed to see it was about what I have ventured into, except no one else is painting skulls as yet.

Q:  Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

A: I love colourful things period.  But I must say my favourite colours to use on the skulls will be my metallic colours and most of the time I mix some white paint in. The colours take very well on the skulls, they are vibrant and striking. If I have to choose my favourite colour it would be blue.

Q:  Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?

A: Chocolate & Ice cream, I eat at least 2 chocolates a day. I have had a love for chocolates since I can remember. I used to get so excited as a child when the school day was coming to an end, because I knew my mom would be waiting for me outside. Then we would go to the shops and I could have the chocolate of my choice.  Since there is no set time to enjoy ice cream, I must admit that I have ice cream for breakfast very often. My studio is one block away from Wimpy… Soft serve by the buckets!

Q:   What is your favourite current décor trend?

A: I love the Taxidermy Chic trend and I am reading up a lot on this subject at this moment. Taking something that is dead and giving it a new life and purpose makes sense to me. Also there is a lot of new design ideas to play around with, I have made it my job to explore this and see what others are doing before this trend fully hits South-Africa

Q:  Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

1.       Buy my own island and live on it

2.       Own the biggest tree house imaginable

3.       Test Drive a Ferrari

4.       Become a famous artist

5.       Go to the Tomorrow Land Festival

Q:  What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

A: Smokes, ashtray and my mom’s home-made crunchy biscuits.

Q:  Future plans?

A: I plan to live and not ever going back to work my life away for anyone. I know good things are coming my way, I don’t need to stress about anything. I have put it out in the universe what it is I want to do and achieve, all I now need to do is believe and enjoy.

Q:  Where can one purchase your skulls?

A: My skulls can be bought directly from myself, I am also currently in the process of negotiating with art curators, Brown Eyed Boy. My skulls will be available to buy on their website. I will also have a stall at the Home Expo early 2014 and I have a few other business partnerships I am hoping will come through soon.

{Check out the Shongololo website: here, or follow her on Facebook: here.}

Natalia Segerman’s Patchwork Pretties

“We recently stumbled across a Citymob sale that featured the beautiful work of Cape Town based artist, Natalia Segerman. We were immediately drawn to her stunning patchwork-like illustrations that feature intricate use of pattern and colour. Even though the Citymob sale has no since closed (sad face), we just had to share Natalia and amazing work with you…”

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself… where you’re from, what you do, any likes / dislikes?

I live in Cape Town with my boyfriend and our two cats. I think I have creative ADD. I studied interior decorating, I love doing interiors and décor for events and weddings, I’ve dabbled in jewellery design and I used to be a musician once upon a time. As long as I’m being creative I’m happy.

Q: How did you get into the illustration business? Do you have an art or design background?

I started taking my drawing seriously while travelling last year. When I got back I taught myself some design programmes so that I could edit my illustrations and add colour to them. I have no formal training in fine art beyond matric. I’ve learn’t everything I know from hours of practice and the help from some very patient friends when I get stuck.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?

I am inspired by the patterns that I see in everyday things like burglar bars, floor rugs, architecture, textiles and nature. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest browsing for interesting images.

Q: Is there a certain style you admire or aspire to?

I really look up to an artist that I met at Boom Festival last year in Portugal. His name is Shrine and he is an amazing illustrator and installation artist. His work is very pattern based and he uses found objects to create the most beautiful artworks. My dream job would be to design textiles. I’m in love with New York fashion designer Mara Hoffman.

Q: Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

I definitely have colour combinations that I naturally gravitate towards in my work. It’s a constant challenge to try new colours and see where they lead me. It’s always interesting when you get a design brief to use a colour that you really don’t like and after working with it and doing research you learn to love it.

Q: Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?

I spend way too much time on Pinterest and I secretly love watching bad reality TV shows. I love really retro textiles and I can’t help buying crazy second hand dress up clothes when I find them.

Q: What is your favourite current décor trend?

I’m loving pixelated images, and modern cross stitch and embroidery. I’m working on a range of modern and abstract floral designs. I don’t know if they’re trending for anyone else but it’s all I can think about at the moment.

Q: Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

I want to design my own textile range.

I want to own and decorate my dream home.

I want to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros live in concert.

I want to get married in the desert at Afrikaburn.

I want to learn and master more design software.

Q: What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

A pot plant made out of cardboard that I found outside my house, a measuring tape, spectacles, tissues, perfume and Prestik.

Q: Future plans?

To keep designing and finding different applications for my work.

Interior Greenery

By Marica

I while back I stumbled across a little decorating mantra that suggest you put something “living” in each room of your home – be that a vase of flowers, plant, or goldfish. I can understand this sentiment as plants do give an increased sense of well-being – probably their air-filtering, oxygen-emitting qualities!

I don’t know if you can recall but a decade or so ago somebody decided that interior plants are less than desirable. Why I do not know – maybe the greenery clashed with the chosen colour scheme, or the organic plants did not sit well with the harsh minimalist contemporary interiors that was so trendy at the time… Well, I just think that’s absolute poppycock!

The sad part is – I had not even notice this absence of  house plants until Rose mentioned it last week whilst we were discussing the current lovely hanging planter trend. Luckily, a couple of years ago, some nature-loving, green-fingered plant enthusiasts (like Rose and myself) insured the reintroduction of plants in the interior space. Seems it only takes a few individuals to fan the flames of a trend we were subconsciously craving for. Now? – plants everywhere – and I’m loving it!

What I most appreciate about this pot-plant revival is the unusual and interesting ways you can incorporate greenery into your home. The variety of indoor planters today is remarkable. They come in all shapes, sizes and styles – anything from recycled tins to beautifully painted ceramic pots.

Look up… no really, look up – the least used space in your home will inevitably be the ceiling. Wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted planters are both great quirky ways to add plant life into your home without having to sacrifice floor space – a rare commodity in today’s urban environment.

Need something low maintenance? Why not cultivate a terrarium or two – it looks amazing and if you select the correct plant and vessel it will pretty much take care of itself!

And then my absolute favourite, however very unconventional… using furniture to house you beloved plants! An old dresser with a plant sticking out of every other drawer, a glass-fronted armoire that serves as a mini greenhouse, or a rickety chair with orchids where the seat used to be – it’s ideas like these that really excites me! It is a guaranteed conversation starter.

{So, what do you think of this awesome and unusual planter revolution? Do you have plants in your space?}

Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (9)

I simply adore how Grace Light of Poetic Home repurposed this vintage library card catalogue into botanical cabinet filled with a dozen of air plants!


Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (8)

This stunning geodesic terrarium with its  triangular glass panes used to be an antique chandelier – lovingly transformed by Restoration Hardware.


Plants & Planters ǀ The Design Tabloid (6)

Glass bell jars can make for excellent terrariums! Don’t you just love this interesting vignette created when using glass vases of different shapes and sizes as planters?! Image: Better Homes and Gardens

Emulate by Tersia Fisher

By Marica

Rose and I found the Emerging Creatives section at this year’s Design Indaba Expo so utterly amazing and talent-filled that we are breaking The Design Tabloid tradition and featuring each Creative individually. Over the next few months, hopefully once a week, we will share our favourite up-and-coming designers from the Emerging Creative bunch with you. Keep your eyes peeled – these guys and gals are muchos talented!

First Creative up – surface designer Tersia Fisher and her range of soft furnishings and fashion wear. Tersia found inspiration in nature, especially in the highly textured ocean-dwelling organisms, and named her handmade range “Emulate“.

Admirably, she set out to create a truly sustainable product. The fabrics used to create her cushions and accessories are 100% off-cut and waste materials she salvaged from office furniture manufacturers. Tersia then hand-stitches each cushion, creating an organic once-off product. This process is extremely time-consuming – the bigger floor cushion took her a whopping 72 hours to complete!

The result is highly tactile – my first instinct was to reach out and run my fingers across the cushion’s textured surface. In fact, I saw a good few people at the Expo to exactly the same – but like Tersia said: “go ahead, they are made to be touched!

To find out more about Tersia and her beautiful cushions please visit her Facebook page: here.

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (7)

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (2)

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

{Images via Tersia Fisher}

Li Edelkoort Talks Textiles

“In these almost impossible to live in times,” says Edelkoort with feeling, “we need to be cuddled.” As a trend forecaster, she believes that in the near future we will see the overwhelming revival of textiles in our interiors, and that we will literally crave their tactility, sense of narration and colour.  “The only problem, she points out, is that we are closing our mills at a rate of knots, and universities are fast replacing looms with computers. The result? We are slowly forgetting how fabrics are made and where they come from. Yet, the appeal of textiles is universal and timeless,” says Edelkoort, “making them also very sustainable.”

The future, she says, “will see the overwhelming revival of textiles in our interiors, covering floors, walls and furniture in an expansive and personal manner. These textiles will speak loud and clear, and become the fabrics of life, narrating stories, designing patterns, promoting well-being and reviving the act of creative weaving.”

Reliving Design Indaba Conference 2012

Rose and I often recall the glorious three days we spend attending the Design Indaba Conference 2012 and now Design Indaba has systematically been uploading small clips of speaker highlights to YouTube.

I thought to share two short inspirational videos with you – both these speakers really made a lasting impression on me…

“Andrew Shoben creates art in public spaces as a way to add creative expression to parts of the city. Shoben talks about his “Trafalgar Sun” installation that explored the psychological effect that the sun has on Londoners. For Shoben it is important that his projects have a “community of presence”, something that makes people talk or smile to their neighbours in the city. Shoben also tells of the “3D abacus” that he created for the London Stock Exchange and how interaction is a side effect of all his work.”

“Architect Bjarke Ingels started BIG, Bjarke Ingels Group, in 2006 in Denmark after co-founding PLOT Architects in 2001 and working at OMA in Rotterdam. Through a series of award-winning design projects and buildings, Ingels has created an international reputation as a member of a new generation of architects that combine shrewd analysis, playful experimentation, social responsibility and humour.”

If you have a bit of time I suggest you pop over to the Design Indaba website and watch these talks in full – it’s well worth it. My mouth was literally hanging open that whole day…