A reflection on 2011…

And we’re back! I hope everyone had a splendid festive season – I sure had a smashing time. To ease ourselves back into the blogging groove and to kick off the new year, we’d like to share with you some stats on our blog’s activity in 2011.

Did you know that we wrote 109 new blog posts this past year and uploaded a grand total of 707 images – not too shabby! Rose and I watched with absolute glee as our blog following and interaction steadily grew this past year. Our busiest blog day of 2011 was the 14th of December which was the day we posted our Christmas greeting (you must have liked seeing our faces, lol)! We are happy to see that most visitors came from South Africa (thanks for representing Mzansi, local is lekker), and interestingly enough the United States and United Kingdom were not far behind!

The stats indicate that the most popular posts that got the abounding views in 2011 are…

1.  Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint in which Rose discuss the current trend of painting vintage furniture pieces.

2.  Design Indaba 2011 Through Rose Coloured Glasses where Rose recaps her visit to the 2011 Design Indaba and lists the products and designs that impressed her most.

3.  Décor Dictionary: Recycling & Upcycling attempts to define the rather elusive terms, recycling and upcycling – specific to the design industry.

Industrial Cabinet via Weylandts

4.  In Tretchikoff: The People’s Painter we pay tribute to the “king of kitsch”. Rose and I really enjoyed the Vladimir Tretchikoff exhibition in Cape Town.

5.  In Spice Up Your Interior With Some Quirky Stools I selected a handful of awesome locally designed South African stools. These babies are stunning feature pieces.

Rose and I also sat down and discussed our personal favourite blog posts of 2011…

Get The Look - Nautical Bedroom - The Design Tabloid

Rose said:

“I guess that this “looking back” should actually have been a task undertaken at the close of 2011. But as with every year, buy the time we hit December, the days just melt one into another and before you know it the doors of the business have closed for that well deserved summer break.

Besides for which, it is just so much better to sit down and take your time browsing through the posts of the past year with a clear and fresh mind.  I have to say that I found it difficult to narrow my choices down to 3 – 5 posts, because there were quite a few that really caught my eye again. There were a few topics that did however jump out at me as having been noticeable for their own reasons.  Here goes:

Marica’s Get The Look articles are always such a pleasure. Two tickled my fancy – the Industrial Chic and the Nautical Bedroom. Somehow or other, that just manages to stir up that “lust-have” feelings within me.

Naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Décor Diva posts – I managed to sprout off my opinion on a few décor issues that niggled at me. Some topics I thought worthy of putting out there for comment and input. There were three in this category: 1. “Wallpaper – To be or Not To Be”;  2. “Damask is Dead”;  3. Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint

Two others that struck a cord with me – The Royal Wedding and all those totally gorgeous goodies that came onto the market as a result and the article on our own popular artist, Tretchikoff. Marica and I attended that exhibition. It was a real “call back the past” experience for me as I grew up with Tretchikoff being a household name, a bit of a mysterious figure, who managed to get the locals talking about his particular lifestyle.” 

On my part – like Rose, I also enjoyed the Get The Look posts as well as the Colour-Coded Inspiration posts – they are tremendous fun to put together. I also really like the Design Indaba 2011 report back – loved writing about local talent like Design Kist and Raw

I generally enjoy all our Décor Dictionary posts, it’s such fun to hunt down décor and design terms and definitions to share with you – always short and sweet!

However, my favourite post of 2011 would have to be our report on the beautiful Cuvée restaurant at Simonsig wine farm. I was almost giddy with excitement when I came across this breathtaking beauty design by Neil Stemmet of Koncept Design.

As we attempt to build on the strong foundation of last year, we intend bringing you more opinions, people, tips, dictionaryterms, places and interesting goodies.

We will look at trends, expo’s such as Design Indaba & Decorex C T; additional info on wall finishes and plenty, plenty more. Rose will also dish the dirt on her favourite interior hobby horse: hotel interiors (mainly local). Also keep your eyes peeled for a feature by one of our favourite contributors, James Russell on “toile” design (COMING SOON)!

Thanks for all your wonderful support during 2011 and STAY WITH US, we promise to deliver the goodies.

Is there anything design and décor related you would like to see us writing about – any local person, place, space, query – let us know – WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!

Tretchikoff: The People’s Painter

Being a thoroughbred Cape Townian, I was exposed to the frequent press that Vladimir Tretchikoff received through the 60’ to 80’s period. The awareness that we had a controversial artist living in our midst somehow made its impression upon me.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Self-Portrait (1944/1950) Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

I always liked his work – despite having very little understanding and appreciation for art in my youth and early adulthood, his vivid imagery and sharp colours, always managed to capture my attention. I guess I was one of those ‘people out there’ towards whom he was directing his work.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Chinese Girl (1952) Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

It almost seemed unfair that he was labelled “King of Kitsch” when he was taking his work to the people, by having exhibitions in the most unusual public places, such a department stores – locally and abroad.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Portraits. Images via Tretchikoff Foundation

Well at a time when kitsch is no longer a swear word and when all that was previously considered kitsch has become trendy, being labelled “King of Kitsch” could actually have a positive spin for Tretchikoff as an artist, as opposed to the unnecessary undermining effect of the past.

The Vladimir Tretchikoff Exhibition at the IZIKO National Art Gallery in Cape Town. Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

When news of the exhibition hit my ears, I was determined to make my way to the Iziko National Art Gallery in the Cape Town Gardens. I wanted to experience the man as well as his original pieces.  I had an urge to de-mystify the artist.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Melon Boy. Image via Tretchikoff Foundation
Vladimir Tretchikoff, Kwela Boy. Image via Tretchikoff Foundation

I was not disappointed at all – his vivid imagery and colours still did it for me.  Together with a brief encounter with the exhibition curator, Andrew Lamprecht and the many newspaper clippings, my appreciation for his work was re-kindled.  With one exception – that of the image series he painted to portray his take on the Ten Commandments – they did not do it for me. But viewed in the context of 90 odd images, it is but a minor.

Curator Andrew Lamprecht gestures at a press preview during a retrospective on Vladimir Tretchikoff on April 25, 2011 at the IZIKO National Gallery in Cape Town. Photo courtesy: AFP

To top it all, I actually discovered via a blog article written by his granddaughter, Natasha of the Tretchikoff Trust, that he embraced the same life philosophy as I do. To quote: “Life is about finding something you love doing so much that you don’t even notice time passing. SIMPLY DO WHAT YOU LOVE NO MATTER WHAT”.

Check out this excellent clip VISI compiled of the Exhibition.


His life’s journey as a local and international artist bore testimony to this philosophy. Despite all the challenges and opposition the People’s Artist experienced, he continued to do what he loved, making money while doing it and going on to become a legend of his time.

These famous flower prints where sold in the thousands.

I would urge you not to miss out on the opportunity that we have been afforded through this Tretchikoff Exhibition – go for your own reasons, but go!

IZIKO South African National Gallery
Rooms 4,5,6 and the Liberman Room
For more Images and Info check out the following:
Tretchikoff Foundation Website
IZIKO National Gallery Facebook Page