Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Old, New and the Unexpected

Old, new and the unexpected is what you can find in my shop. I had a little shop inside an Art Gallery in town. But after many years the gallery owner got tired and rented the whole place out to a Chinese restaurant. No more paintings, instead sushi and sashimi.

Now I have my own little, slightly crazy shop. I have renovated some old store rooms in my house and voila! This is how it looks like.

Vinyls are sooooo sexy and the good thing is, hey they are comin back ! Yeah! And you can find them in abundance. Rock'n Roll!

Yes oversized sunglasses, so much in demand now. And the mannequin dates back to 1930, has still a handpainted face - and because of her I nearly went broke. Only nearly. She is unbearingly cool.

I always get asked: How on God's earth do you find these things. I don't . They come to me.

A watercolor painting of a coral tree.

A German half bisque doll from 1880, her face is hand-painted and she is a flawless beauty.

Africa mixes with victorian. What's the name?: Eclectic

Old worn silver, with a patina of decades.

Can you see the constantina on top of the Imbuia display cabinet and the little dolls-bed in the front of the picture. Together they are 200 years old.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Africa, continent of great creativity and genuine improvisation

I have spent a great deal of my life on the vast and enchanting African continent.
And Africa is the continent of wire. During my youth spent on a farm in Namibia wire was used every single day to repair hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of cattle-fence under the hot Namibian sun, sometimes burning your fingers.
In Mali and Mauritania where I lived and worked for a couple of years wire was " Mister Handyman". My furniture was fixed with wire. My petroleum fridge was fixed with wire. My shoes got new soles cut out of old tyre pieces and they were fixed with wire. And I could still walk in them. I was taller okay, but who cares?
And there was always someone know knew how to work wire.
The fancy solar-panel that was supposed to charge a battery and that was intended for the first PC at the Mauritanian border was installed on my office- roof with wire.
The solar system stayed up there for four years and survived the fiercest of sand-storms.
But, well, the panel did not really work often. Luckily the typewriter had not been thrown away.
I got my first wire-radio in Senegal that bewildered many of my friends - because it worked.
Wire has a million faces and is the all present companion and friend.
Wire will always be preferred to a nail.
I have watched many times how wire was treated as a lover, bent in all directions, talked to sworn at, re-modeled.... until finally it became tame and accepted the desired form.


My small design company Chocolat Negro creates decor-items from waste material and discarded items. And still today I am full of admiration for the funky and cool products created by African talented crafters and the simple people on the street.

This 1966 vintage barbie is born to be wild on a wire Harley. The tyres are made out of old black thrash bags.

Details as in real life.
The first wire toys that I have seen were made by children and were used as real toys.
This Harley was given to me as a gift by the boy because I admired it so much. Within a couple of hours he had made a new one for himself. The first toys were born out of poverty because there was simple nothing else to play with and you could see them all over Africa.

Later on Europeans discovered the wire creations as art pieces. They became more elaborate and beads showed up. It became a small industry with thousands of skilled African fingers creating the most amazing pieces. And the prices went up.
For this elaborate Aloe-plant you will easily pay a little bit more.

This VW beetle has got an edgy urban touch...


And all sort of insects


The simple designs for the kitchen are not to be underestimated either.........

The first pieces have a very nostalgic old-fashioned look. And they are simply so cool.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A decent Sunday lunch

A stunning place to have a fantastic Sunday late afternoon lunch is La Terazza, a restaurant that belongs to an italian friend. Situated at our calm and quiet beachfront, with a balcony right above the sea and great italian food there could be no better place to spend a sunday.

Nature offered us a spectacular palette of colors while we were having our meal. Relaxing is guaranteed.

Fleur du Cap, Chardonnay - of course, and Linguine a la Marinara.

The balcony wraps itself all around the big glasswindows.

We were so spoilt again........

Rests just to say: Thanks universe for another beautiful day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ride a wild horse

Ride a wild horse !

Ride a wild horse
with purple wings
striped yellow and black
except his head
which must be red
Ride a wild horse
against the sky
hold tight to his wings........
Before you die
whatever you leave undone
once, ride a wild horse
into the sun

Hannah Kahn

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lucinda's world

Well, good morning to you too !!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A place with a view

Friday afternoon 17.00

The week is over and it is a good day. I am spending the afternoon with my friends at their house in Blue Bend, sitting on the balcony, lucky enough to have a bottle of champagne to kill. And looking through seamless glass - at this. Even though the sun is hiding it is beautiful. It is low tide and all the sandbanks in the river mouth are visible. Life is good.

Sirius the golden retriever is happy too, enjoying the cool breeze. It is nice to have animals around. And one of the nicest views in town.

Places like this with an undisturbed view are not easy to find any more and every second has to be enjoyed. They are even more difficult to buy or rent.

Yes it is a good day. And I have decided long time ago that every day is a good day. Every day give me hundreds of minutes and thousands of seconds to make my choices and decide for myself what I want.

Close to the river-mouth lies the popular Blue Lagoon Hotel with a similar view and a nice pub that fills up every Friday afternoon.

The men in black: they are tired and exhausted from eating all our potato chips. The blind cat Isis has bitten me twice because he thought my finger was a potato chip.

On the other side in the distance behind the green hills is Nahoon Beach, a famous surfing spot.

Nahoon-mouth a beautiful area to live, close to the river and the beach.

Bisimillah Africa

Thank you, Africa

In the year 1962 a 26 year old young man went to East-Africa with a very big camera. For weeks he traveled the land and took thousands of photos because this was his great passion in life. This and traveling and writing poems.
He took pictures of animals, people, flowers, landscapes, villages and cities. He photographed the sky by day and by night. He slept in the bush and listened to the sounds of life.
He looked at everything he saw with intensity and his biggest ambition was to capture the moment.
All the moments, that he had captured with his giant zoom like you catch wild horses - with speed and perseverance, he brought back to life again in his cellar, a converted dark room. He developed each photo with his own hands. And he was enjoying it remembering the smell, taste and feeling of every moment. It brought him happiness. He lived it again.

He had an exciting and rich life. And he moved on with his life and did what he had to do. He saw much more of the world than other people. He died young, twenty years later after the photos were taken. But you can say, he had seen things and had been blessed in many ways.

Before he left this world, a little girl of five years of age played in another cellar and discovered the photos and she looked at them with the same intensity. The photos had been asleep in the dark for many years.The man had not taken them out because he did not know to whom to show them. They were witnesses of his past now to him.
But the girl saw everything through his photos, that he had seen. And she was mesmerized by this vast world of blazing beauty that unfolded in front of her eyes. The man saw the fire in her eyes and was happy.

And she asked him if this was real? If this did really exist? And he said: yes as real as God and the Universe. And he told her, that there was much more that even he had not seen yet.
And that he would give everything to see all that there is of god's creation. If that was ever possible in one life.

From this moment on the girl preferred to play in the cellar close to the big cupboard that contained thousands of the man's photos. Whenever she felt like it, she took them out and studied them. She looked at all of them and some of the images burned her soul. Africa appeared in her dreams. She liked the other countries and places as well but she dreamed always of Africa.
The man let her do whatever she wanted to do with his photos.

And the man was happy because he had seen the passion and the fire in the young girls eyes. He had found a companion now to talk. The girl listened to everything he had to say. His stories never ended and the girl liked that. Everything was perfect and the man started to think of her as his daughter because he had seen part of her soul. And the girl loved him.

After a while he did not hold back any more and gave what he had to give to the little girl. The girl became his sponge, his friend and his audience. They acquired true companionship together.
He took her into nature as often as he could.

He taught her a few things. He said that life has to be respected in all forms. That one has to look close at things and to be patient with people. That one should never be cruel and always look for beauty. Of course the girl did not understand all that because she was only six then. And he did not really speak a lot.

But she understood the photos, because everything he had spoken about was embedded in them. Beauty, patience, respect. And a lot more. The years passed and they were like own blood now. He taught her how to look through a camera and how take photos and develop them.

One evening when the man came home from work the girl made him promise to take her to these places in Africa, and not only to the zoo and to show her everything he had seen. She was a little bit older now, but still very young and she had looked at the photos for years.
It was the images of Africa that she could not get out of her mind.

And the man promised with his full heart to take her there. And of course he meant to keep his promise because that was the way he was.
If he had had the time and had not died young he would have taken the girl to all the places she wanted to see.

When the man died the girl inherited his photos and his poems.

And although she was heart-broken and lonely for a pretty long while - she came to Africa on her own as soon as she could. And has seen things as beautiful as the ones on the photos.
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