The art is in the shadows

    Shigeo Fukuda was a sculptor, graphic artist and poster designer who created optical illusions. His art pieces usually portray deception, such as "Lunch With a Helmet On", a sculpture created entirely from welded forks, knives and spoons, that casts a detailed shadow of a motorcycle, and is based on an earlier concept that Fukuda exhibited in his 1965 show, "Toys and Things Japanese".

Fukuda wanted to create a three-dimensional object in which the shadow, as opposed to the actual form, represented the actual object. Fukuda was to remark that it is extremely difficult to create a three-dimensional object in this fashion that allows light to evenly penetrate in this fashion and had to use 848 pieces of cutlery to construct this work effectively.

Continuing with the art of illusion, Shigeo's home outside Tokyo featured a 1.2 m front door that would appear far away, for someone approaching the house. This door was a visual trick, with the actual entrance to the house being an unornamented white door designed to blend in seamlessly with the walls of the house.

Contemporary or postmodern artists like Shigeo Fukuda, Tim Noble, Sue Webster and Fred Eerdekens have developed a technique to demonstrate their creativity through working something out of immaterial pieces of metal scraps and/or junk and cast awe-inspiring shadows by combining art and illusion - darkness and light.

Entering the artistic space of Fred Eerdekens places the spectator in a semantic landscape in which stable meanings of words are continually twisted and turned, hidden and shown again.

He creates an ever changing space for his art and his art is only visible at specific moments or specific perspectives, through the use of projected images and shadows.

With spectators themselves twisting and turning in trying to make sense of the objects and spiralling around the objects, they, themselves, become direct players attributing to and mimicking the art.

Eerdekens is a visual artist who makes objects and/or situations that in turn transform their shadow-images into their "own" language (placing a word or phrase on display at the edge of a table or on the wall or floor) making the words much more than his mere commentary but also provoking thought about where we have to go and what we have to do to find meaning in words, not to mention the particular language we often find in art.

Is the meaning of art in the art itself or in its surroundings? Both Fukuda and Eerdekens's works suggest that both answers are viable, and both are viable because they exist simultaneously.

Visit these websites for more info and pictures of Shigeo Fukuda or Fred Eerdekens art.

Shadow Art

Turtles surf the magnetic ocean

Man has always wondered what enables animals to navigate and migrate on the correct paths year after year, from the day that they are born. Well, now there is good evidence that many species - including pigeons, sea turtles, chickens, naked mole rats and possibly cattle - can detect the Earth's geomagnetic field, sometimes with astonishing accuracy and navigate using this ability.

Beyond our traditional five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, some animals (like the loggerhead turtle) also have magnetoperception concludes scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Newly hatched turtles have the ability to sense and read the earth's magnetic field and project internal maps to navigate across vast expanses of the sea and to adjust the direction in which they swim.

They seem to hatch with a set of directions, which, with the help of their magnetic sense, ensures that they always stay in warm waters during their first migration around the rim of the North Atlantic. Over time they build a more detailed magnetic map by learning to recognise variations in the strength and direction of the field lines, which are angled more steeply towards the poles and flatter at the magnetic equator.

There are two components of a magnetic field. One is the intensity, or the strength of the field - the stronger the field, the closer to one of the poles. The other is inclination, or the angle the magnetic field lines intersect the Earth i.e. longitutde and latitude. A turtle can detect both components and using them together it can get a good idea as to which side of the ocean it's on, and not just whether it's in the northern or the southern hemisphere.

Magnetic fields can pass through biological tissues without being altered, and with not knowing where or how this magnetism is sensed, the sensors could be located in any part of the body and the detection might not need specialised structures at all, but could rather be based on a series of chemical reactions.

Researchers think that magnetic receptors probably exist in the head of these turtles and could be based on crystals of magnetite, which align with the Earthls magnetic field and would pull on some kind of stretch receptor or hair-like cell as it changes polarity. The mineral has already been found in some bacteria and in the noses of fish like salmon and rainbow trout, which also seem to track the Earth's magnetic field as they migrate.

Another theory is that there may be photopigments in the eye called cryptochromes that detect the magnetic field chemically and provide a visual cue that an animal can use as a kind of compass. The animal could see the magnetic field as a shifting pattern, such as an array of lights or colours that change depending on the direction it faces. Cryptochromes are found in the retina of migratory birds and seem to be activated when birds are navigating using the magnetic field.

Source: News Scientist and NPR news

Spray on glass

Recycled newspapers make Smencils

Who would ever have thought that the day would come where pencils were made out of recycled products. Well, that day has definitely arrived.

Smencils are the latest thing in the kiddies art world. For the parents: they are pencils that are made out of recycled products and help with the environmental issue we are facing, and for the kids: they are pencils that smell very edible.

Interestingly, the main part of the pencil is made from sheets of newspaper rolled tightly around the graphite writing core. The newspaper is rolled until pencils of typical thickness are formed and the pencils are hardened, allowing them to be sharpened just like traditional wood pencils.

To make these pencils more enticing to the younger generation, the pencils are soaked during the hardening process in yummy liquid scents, made by an award winning fragrance company and that are guaranteed to last 2 years. Flavours are: Bubblegum, Cinnamon, Tropical Blast, Grape, Cotton Candy, Very Berry, Black Cherry, Orange, Watermelon and Rootbeer.

Once the pencils have hardened and are dry, the products are finished off by attaching the biodegradable erasers, applying the appropriate sticker that identifies the scent of each Smencil and each pencil is put into its own corn-based biodegradable freshness tube.

These pencils can be found at specialist art stores and at the Artjamming Studio (based in Cape Town and Johannesburg).

Visit Smencil's Website for more information on their products.


Log cabins in and amongst the trees

A hidden gem in our neighbourhood is a beach resort located in the Noordhoek Valley, at the southern start of Chapman's Peak Drive. This resort offers a blend of old world log and thatched cottages and bedrooms that call out to those nature lovers looking for a local romantic weekend away.

At Monkey Valley Resort, each log cabin is hidden in their own private alcove within a rare milkwood forest, ensuring complete seclusion. Forest, mountain, beautiful soft sandy beach, surrounded by the Nature reserve - what more could be asked for?

The range of units have a peaceful ambience with uninterrupted vistas across the Atlantic ocean or the mountainous magic of Chapman's Peak - views from the bedroom, living room and bath offer peaceful and tranquil natural scenes wherever you choose to spend your time.

The resort also has its own restaurant, the Thorfynns Restaurant, so a trip into town to find good food is totally unnecessary. The ambient sun warms the wooden panels of the restaurant, a natural preference for divine dinners and wonderful wines, and is only a short stroll to your bed. The restaurant caters for all meal tastes in a delicious menu, but also do specialised meals like their sea food barbeque with fresh fish caught straight from the surrounding ocean.

The resort has direct access to an unspoilt 5 mile long wide beach with soft sand and lagoons, there is horse riding on the beach, whale viewing May to November, an adventure to the shipwreck in the sand along the beach (for treasure hunts, shipwreck parties) and much more.

Contact them on 021 789 8003 or for more information visit their website.

Monkey Valley Resort

Hot News

Order your compost for Spring

Spring is almost here - order your compost, potting soil, lawn dressing and/or bark to be delivered to your door in 50dm bags.

Please email / fax us your order form confirming the required details and we will process your order.

Compost - R 32 per m2
Potting soil - R 32 per m2
Bark - R 36 per m2

Please note that a minimum order of 30m2 is required. Cape Town and immediate surrounds only.

Featured Plant


Zantedeschia Aethiopica
(Arum Lily)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous plant to 1m with wide green leaves and prominent white flower.

Flowering time :

Winter to Spring

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Semi-deciduous
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost
  • Enriched soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage 2009

Winery : Lyngrove
Winemaker : Conrad Vlok

Description :

An oaked, dry red wine from 100% Pinotage from vines in Helderberg region of Stellenbosch.

Aroma : The wine displays black cherries and dark chocolate on the nose.

Palate : These black fruit flavours follow through on the palate with ripe chewy tannins and expressive nuances of cigar box, spices and a luscious sweetness.

Winemaking : Vines are planted on north facing slopes. The nearby Atlantic Ocean (False Bay) also has a cooling affect on the vineyards during the ripening season. The wine was aged for 12 months in 300 litre French oak barrels, of which 40% was new.

Food Pairing : Serve the wine at 15 - 18 degrees Celsius. Excellent with fragrant roast duck, Moroccan style braised lamb shank or even mocha crème brûlée.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    July's Teaser Answer :
    "Back Door"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82