If they dump rubbish outside your studio/showroom, paint the bastards a colour and make them behave like members of the furniture family. These are called Rocking Chairs. Seen outside Co-Op / Dokter & Misses showroom in Joburg.

Love the colours. I started picking out a few colours in case I ever have rocks that need repurposing – ones that need to act like chairs.

Colours by Midas Envirolite – Zero VOC paint, from Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa


Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn home – the nursery [Image via Fashionologie]

Yellow and black are two of my favourite. I’m not talking trend-schmend. What I mean is how, as colours, they contextualise the bigger picture. The yin-yangness of life.

In a room, Y & B can also be lovely. Like the look in J Crew creative boss Jenna Lyons’house – up top. I say yes.

But getting back to the bigger picture, now that the winter solstice has passed, I have to say how much I love this week. Once June 21 has come and gone, life gets 1% yellower by the day.

Koeks, come on. It’s midwinter. Bleak. And mizzzerable.

Well, yes. It’s been raining on us today, and the sun still sets before suppertime. We have two heaters going in one room, and a fire in another.

But scratching off the winter solstice in my diary makes me want to do flickflacks. After 21 June, the days will get longer by a couple minutes every day. Until one morning you realise that it is the sun and the birds, not the alarm, that wake you up. And the street lights are off when you leave for work. And there are freesias nodding their heads in the pot outside the door.

So maybe we’ll all still be freezing our butts off till September, and be glued to our hot water bottles and drink tea in bed – but whichever way you look at it, we’re on the right side of winter.

Soon we’ll be at 70% yellow, 30% black. It’s downhill all the way.

Some of my favourite blacks and one yellow: from the Midas Envirolite palette of VOC-free paints

More shots of Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn house: images via Fashionologie


Not instant grass, this time, but the actual real living stuff. I’d also like to stand in front of this face and stroke it, or mow it, or hell, even water it. The art is made by photosynthesis and grass seedlings, by a pair of artists called Ackroyd & Harvey,who according to Wiki have been responsible for ‘growing landmark buildings with seedling grass.

Flytower, London

The art is made by photosynthesis and grass seedlings, by artists Ackroyd & Harvey who have been responsible for growing landmark buildings with seedling grass. One of their most ambitious installations is this. FlyTower, on the National Theatre’s Lyttleton flytower. Here they worked directly on the exterior of one of London’s landmarks, turning the architectural icon  building in a massive living artwork. So incredible amazing and wonderful.








I said I would, so here you go.

An AfrikaBurn essay in pictures, by Jack Mason. They’re the thousand words that I don’t have to write about the Tankwa Karoo.

With pictures like these, I feel like I actually went. Even though what I really did was four days of solitude, stoking my logfire at home.

It's beautiful how bright colour sings against the sober tones of the veld. 
Colours like these feel like they make an interesting crowd. 
From the Midas Envirolite Zero VOC green paint palette. 
At Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa. 


TBWA worldwide creative super boss  and award winning playwright John Hunt said this, in his book ‘The Art of the Idea’. He’s right, you know. It’s important to make nice around you. What goes in through the eyes comes out through the heart. Fix the peely, dirty paint. Change the tired, broken sofa. Fix the broken tiles. Clean the windows. Watch the ships go by, if you can.

Philosophy is one of 300 paint colors by Midas Envirolite. At Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.


Photo: Jack Mason /

I told you how badly I couldn’t wait to see the pictures from AfrikaBurn, after spending Burn weekend snuggled up with books and scrabble in my lovely quiet house, in front of the fire, while everyone went exploring in the desert. So I missed all the action, but now I’m getting to see.

What did I miss out on?

For starters, I missed seeing this giant aloe, which looks like it leopard crawled all the way from J-Bay or Graaff-Reinet, snacking on dassies and puff adders as it went along. Have you ever? I mean, have you ever seen an aloe as big as this? It looks like a massive tangerine member of the fungi family unfurling from the desert floor. A full-on, proper, card carrying magic mushroom.

‘Magic Mushroom’ – one of 300 colours from the green Zero VOC palette by Midas Envirolite.
Find it at Paint&Place paint shops in South Africa.


Afraid so.

To put you in the picture; scroll down for the story on AfrikaBurn, from the Cape Times /

Most of my friends and family are doing the Burn this year. I, however, am being otherwise. I’m spending the weekend pottering, writing, reading, trimming the bulbs on my window sill, putting my feet up in my sheepskin slippers, bunny blanket over my knees, burning a few logs in my fireplace. Tonight I’ll catch a movie and a noodle supper close to home. Then I’ll have a lovely hot bath, before slipping into my winter sheets with my hot water bottle, and ploughing through half a new novel. How bad does that sound?

I saw another report in one of the weekend papers, showing a few Burn revellers cloaked in mud (yes, it rained on Tankwa) and decorated like a pair of petit fours on their way to becoming a wedding cake. I know people who have truckloads of fun and love every tequila infused minute of it, who really don’t mind having the smell of braai in their hair or mud in their sleeping bags. But that is them, and this is me. Like the lady says, I love not camping. I’m not good with sticky hair. Or long drops.

But I can’t wait to see it all. I know they’ll come back with amazing photographs, movies and great stories. Then I’ll be right there.

Burning to go to AfrikaBurn?

April 24 2012 at 01:02pm – Xolani Koyana

ct AFRIKABURN-5609 (24832021)

The fear God effigies are on display at the AfrikaBurn Festival until Monday at Stonehenge Farm near Tankwa Karoo National Park on the boundry of the Northern Cape. Photo: Ian Landsberg.

YOU voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death. You must bring your own food, water, shelter and first aid to survive a week in a harsh environment. Still wanna go? Then don’t forget to read over the survival guide before you head out there.

This no-nonsense disclaimer has been issued to all those attending the AfrikaBurn Festival which starts tomorrow.

The festival is an annual event where creatives gather a “temporary city of art” to express themselves with costumes, music and performances.

It is held at the Tankwa Karoo National Park on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape and runs from tomorrow until Monday.

“The wording may appear somewhat harsh,” said AfrikaBurn’s Michael Suss yesterday, adding that the disclaimer had always appeared on the ticket and was not a case of having had their fingers burnt before.

“Since this is a participant-created event, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the actions of all those who participate. Our entire philosophy is one of radical self-reliance and responsibility: we believe participants need to act consciously and with care at all times,” said Suss

He said asking people to bring their own food and water was also part of the radical self-reliant approach.

The warning should be seen in the same light.

“This is the same as the Burning Man festival in the USA, on which we are modelled. At our desert venue there is no water supply and no food and, since we are an event based on gifting and no commerce, nowhere to buy any food or water.”

Most of the people who took part in the event offered food and drinks – as gifts – for those who forgot to bring something, Suss said. Although he could not give details, Suss said there had been a few cases where people had required medical attention including an incident where a women had been rushed to hospital after falling off a vehicle which then drove over her by accident.

“We take issues of health and safety really seriously and also have a team of volunteer ‘rangers’ on patrol at the site, overseen by a site manager, all on rotating shifts, throughout the event,”said Suss.

The event is loosely based on the Burning Man festival held annually at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

The theme of this year’s festival is Mirage.

My kind of home. Earthy, but not muddy. By Midas Envirolite Zero VOC paints.


Bust by Wendy Moorcroft

Napoleon & crew. Crew by Wendy Moorcroft.

Portrait on wood - Gabby Raaff

I love a bit of a sleepover at my sister’s place. Here we are high up, close to the big, flat mountain and all cloaked in mist and  fog and motreen. I had to look up the meaning of motreen the other day when I found it in my arsenal of paint swatches. Motreen can be wonderful, if you like that sort of thing. (Actually, I do.) Motreen is drizzle. Light, soft, pearlescent rain that falls down on our heads from what looks like mountain fog. Rain and fog is what Cape Town does best, from now till September. No complaints really. On days like this, it’s nice to be in big sister’s lovely quiet carpeted hideout. Lovely way to spend a 5 day weekend. Another thing I love about coming here: the bottomless pot of interesting stuff. She is a collector. Last night we found a Sony Walkman circa 1988, and some real Fifties Barbies, a few interesting tea sets, and some fairy lights.

My sister is also a collector of busts and heads and portraits. Some of these she actually even made herself. I think she should jump ship and dive right into sculpture.

Mountain Fog - by Midas Envirolite


One of the very cool things about winter: the cost of having fun. On weekends you can take a pile of these and have a rollicking escape to the Wild West, for about 90 cents. If my maths is in a good place, under R1 would make it possible to chunder through three of these lit wonders in a day. What you would need, though, is some sweet brown sherry and a heater.  I was going to say a crackling log fire and some good red wine, but the cliche police are standing by, and they will keelhaul me for saying fire and red wine for the seven millionth time since the log fire was invented. So heaters and sherry it is. Or hot water bottles and Scotch.

Come now Groupon, show me a deal better than this.

I suppose you’ll also need some string to make a cat-o-nine-tails. You’ll be needing to whip the asses of whoever goes overboard on beans with their sausages in your reading room.

‘Ball of String’ – one of 70 colours from Earthcote’s heritage collection, in Zero VOC ultra flat matt paint