Rivers and Tides - contemporary art using nature

    Rivers and Tides is a truly beautiful, Scottish-German documentary made in 2001 about the artist Andy Goldsworthy, a Scotsman whose medium is nature itself and whose preferred studio is the outdoors, particularly where water flows, rises and retreats.

The soft-spoken, secluded Goldsworthy is seen hard at work making ephemeral sculptures out of bits of ice in the trees; building tall, mysterious cones from loose rock, which stand like spiritual sentinels in forests and on shorelines, overgrown by plants or swallowed daily by high tides; or long-winding rock walls, icicle assemblages and other intricate, druidic masterpieces made entirely of materials found in the wild.

Filmmaker-cinematographer Thomas Reidelsheimer goes to great lengths to make visual corollaries to Goldsworthy's ideas about under-appreciated relationships between light, color, movement, balance and fluidity of form in the real world, making Rivers and Tides a surprising and intoxicating cinematic gallery of the fragile relationship between man, art and nature.

For more information visit the Documentary Films Website

Andy Goldsworthy - Rivers & Tides

Solar powered cell phones

Solar science is now moving into practical applications of powering cellular phones while in use. Designers Seungkyn Woo and Junyi Heo have designed the "Leaf" - a wearable cellphone concept powered by solar energy.

The Leaf consists of layers of flexible material that can bend to wrap around a person's wrist, allowing the battery to charge with solar energy as the wearer goes about his/her day. The wristband is secured with magnets at each end and a simple cellphone with basic functions is incorporated into the design. It also has a solar powered docking station for those times the wearer is out of direct sunlight.

The designer's main objective for the phone is to remind people that they can contribute to energy efficiency as individuals. Every small bit counts.

See Inhabitat's website for more information.

Solar powered cell phone

Choosing Natural Fibres

Over the past half century household furnishings, clothing, industry and agriculture products have been manufactured using man-made fibres (eg. acrylic, polyester, nylon and polypropylene) instead of natural plant fibres (eg. sisal, cotton, flax) primarily due to cost savings in the manufacturing process.

There is definitely an argument for natural fibres over synthetic fibres, however, just because the fibre is natural does not mean that it is green. Agricultural and social issues relating to the production of the fibre need to be carefully considered when choosing one natural fibre over the next. Cotton is a good example, as the industry uses pesticides and bleach in their farming and production processes.

Name Source Fibre Type Uses
Abaca Leaf Species of banana native to the Philippines A once favoured source of rope and manilla envelopes, abaca is used in filter paper and banknotes, and shows promise as an energy-saving replacement for glass fibres in cars.

Bamboo Stalk Strong long fibre-producing type of grass When processed creates durable, silky threads. Be wary of bamboo rayon as this has its fibres broken down with chemicals.
Coir Fruit Coarse short fibres from a coconut Brown coir is used in mats, brushes and sacking, while white coir (smoother and finer, but also weaker) is generally spun to make yarn that is used in mats or rope. Coir can also be used for mattresses, geotextiles and car seats.
Cotton Seed Soft, fluffy, staple fibre that grows in a ball around the seeds of the cotton plant As a pure cellulose, cotton is the most widely used fibre in textiles.

Flax Bast/skin Flax (common flax or linseed) is found in the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India Flax is one of the first fibres to be used in textiles, dating at least to ancient Egyptian times. It is also used in paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels and soap
Hemp Bast/skin The soft, durable fibre that is cultivated from plants of the Cannabis genus cultivated for industrial and commercial (non-drug) use Hemp fibre is one of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant. It is strong, grows quickly and it produces 10% more fibre than cotton and 10% more fibre than flax. Hemp fibres are used to strengthen concrete, and added to other composite materials for many construction and manufacturing applications. Recent advances in hemp fibre processes pushes hemp into the high quality clothing textile market.

Jute Bast/skin A long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre from the Corchorus plant Jute can be spun into coarse, strong threads and is one of the most affordable natural fibres. Jute fibre is often called hessian and is used in sacking cloth.
Sisal Leaf An agave that yields a stiff fibre Traditionally used in making twine, rope, dartboards, paper, cloth, wall coverings and carpets. Sisal can now replace glass fibres in composite materials used to make cars and furniture.

Source : Wikipedia

Natural Fibres

Snuggled up warm in a cave

The view of green mountains for all the eye can see, rivers and waterfalls splashing nearby, blue skies and nature abound leaves a person dreaming of packing up the fast-paced life and permanently walking into the wild.

The additional pleasure of waking up with the light peaking through rocks, snuggled tightly and warm in a sleeping bag, with a woollen beanie on the head can only be understood by those who have been to the Drakensberg and slept in a cave on the high slopes of the mountains. This is definitely something that should be ticked off the "Before-I-die To-Do" list.

Sleeping overnight in a cave is a very popular activity for hikers travelling from one destination to another along the higher altitude hiking paths of the Drakensberg mountains. The caves provide shelter from the wind, rain, snow or heat (depending on the hiking season) and are a fantastic way to experience and enjoy nature.

Inevitably, an inexperienced hiker only sees how well they fare en route and many well planned hiking trips need to be down-sized to accommodate blisters, sore muscles and low spirits.

A well positioned cave can be used as a "base-camp" from which daily hikes can be conducted in various directions, enabling the hiker to experience as much of the immediate surrounding area as possible, without having to lug a heavy backpack each time. This also provides the flexibility to change and adapt the proposed hiking schedule more appropriately to the strength, health and determination of the hiking group.

For those not so keen on traipsing on long 3 - 5 day hikes with heavy bags, this is a perfect way to explore the Drakensberg.

For more information on the caves in the berg visit A Backpacker's Guide To The Natal Drakensberg

Small Caves

Hot News

New preferred partners

After working on mutual projects together with United Paving, Cape Sandstone and Hennie De Villiers Architects, Living Matter has included them onto their preferred partners list. These partners have been approved as preferred partners for their business ethics and quality of work.

See our preferred partners for their contact details.

New feature : Wine of the month

We are pleased to have a new monthly addition to our newsletter: Wine of the month, recommended by wine specialist Karen Glanfield of KGB Wine.

Karen Glanfield

Karen Glanfield has been working in the wine industry for 7 years, initially in market research, then as National Sales and Marketing Manager for a well-known wine estate before starting KGB Wine in June 2008.

Due to her passion and interest in wine, she shares her expertise across the wine industry by providing several wine services that include:

  • Wine label design
  • Managing KGB wine club
  • Wine Specialist Tour Guide
  • Cape Wine Academy Lecturer
  • Event management for Wine Magazine
  • Public tastings in CT & Jhb
  • Waiter training and promotions for Kathy Raath Promotions

    Karen is available for casual and formal wine tasting sessions, wine purchases and much more. See her recommendation for this month's Wine of the month.


    Nylandtia Spinosa

    Nylandtia Spinosa
    (Tortoise Berry )

    Family :


    Description :

    Indigenous much branched, stiffly erect, rounded shrub, 1 x 1 m with masses of dainty pink-purple flowers.

    Flowering time :

    Autumn to Spring

    Conditions :

    • Full sun
    • Little water
    • Deciduous
    • Drought, wind, sea spray resistant
    • Some frost resistance
    • Sandy soil

    Wine of the month

    Verdelho 2009 - Organic
    (dry white wine)

    Winery : Peridot
    Winemaker : Alicia Rechner

    Description :

    Mediterranean "tropical fruit bowl" grape variety with small golden hued berries.

    Aroma : Coconut, passion fruit, pineapple, marshmallow, white pepper and floral spice.

    Palate : Natural, crisp acidity with purity of fruit. Spicy musk and litchi with a nutty, dry finish.

    Winemaking : Small portion barrel fermented, natural stability with gentle clarification and maturation on lees. Bottled on site 4 months after harvest.

    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

    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
    April's Teaser Answer :


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82