Living in between beautiful wine-farms in South Africa, the opportunity to work with wine barrels was an unique one. I just loved working with the interesting shapes of the staves that evolved from the mutation of dismantling and modifying the barrel. Bringing these staves, in different seizes, together again in an unexpected shape was a nice challenge.
I decided to use these basic alchemical elements in developing my idea as they play an important role in the process of cultivating vineyards.
The roots of a tree absorb water and minerals necessary for growth from earth (water and earth). The tree breathes through its leaves (air) and receives light and warmth from sunbeams (fire).
The grapes given by the tree will be crushed and pressed and the fermentation comes into play. Once fermentation is complete, clarification begins. Clarification is the process that finds place in the barrels and will transform the grapes into wine.
The staves of these barrels that have been used for this wine making process are used for “The yellow tree of Collio” and now we are back where it all began.
In order to come up with a appropriate color palette, I looked at the alchemy from a psychological perspective and the meaning of the different colors in which green refers to beginnings, black to decomposition, dark blue to the blues, light blue to the heavens and creative sparks, white to mental reflection, yellow to fermentation and embodiment, red to radiating into the world.
I have used these colors as the main colors in my artwork as they bring the spiritual and creative journey of shapes and colors together.
After visiting the Collio area which overlooks the Slovenian and Austrian mountains and learned this area is associated with the color Yellow, I made sure the “Tree’ as such would feel totally at home in its surrounding.
When I came back home to South Africa I really wanted to explore the medium of the wine barrel staves further. After some research I was lucky to meet woodworker and furniture designer, Jianni of Vinwood in Stellenbosch who specialises in making beautiful furniture out of wine barrels. We decided to collaborate and work towards an exhibition where we showcase my art works and his furniture together in one exhibition.
I have since been working on 13 unique works of art all of which are sculptural wall hangings. I have combined my favourite mosaic and paint styles that I have developed over the years with the wine barrel staves. It took me quite sometime to design and put all the works together. Luckily, I got a lot of help from the Vinwood staff at the factory.