meet the artist part 6 – Words and titles

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

Words and titles are important to me.  A title is an entrance into what the work is about, as well as having the potential for humor and mischief.

Hoogste bome vang die meeste wind , (Somer) 570 x 370 mm vintage photo, cotton thread, rubber 2019 Hannalie Taute

Afrikaans is the language I feel most comfortable with, since it is my mother’s tongue, and one that allows me the freedom to break the rules and play with it.  Afrikaans can be very serious, but also playful.  I do my thinking in Afrikaans so it is inevitable that it will show up in the titles of my work.   It is actually a pity that it sometimes get lost in translation.

Hoogste bome vang die meeste wind herfs 570 x 370 mm vintage photo, cotton therad, rubber 2019 Hannalie Taute

Random note: Other languages I wish I could speak: Spanish, Italian, Xhosa and Sign language.

Anyway I will leave you with a song that stuck in my head for weeks…..



meet the artist part 5 – performance

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

For as long as I can remember I liked to ‘dress-up’.  As a little girl I liked to wear my mother’s high heels, long dresses and wrap cloth around my head and imagine it is long hair (for I had short hair most of my life).  Even to this day I like to wear a variety of wigs – even during normal day time- if weather permits.

The first time I dressed-up for an exhibition was in 2013 for my show called Rubber ever After.  I needed to generate attention during the art festival and I did that by dressing up as an invented character for my make-belief world/kingdom.

I think we all dress, to a certain extent, in the way we want to be attended to.  I want to be surrounded by the emotions associated with the clothes/face paint/ wigs i’m wearing.  In a sense it is the physical manifestation, an outward worn symbol of what is happening within.  to me it is also a serious for of play.  wearing rubber can be quite kinky too 😉

random note: If I could have one superpower it would probably be to convince people, like the  “Poison Ivy” character in the series Gotham. If you could choose a superpower, what will it be?


meet the artist part 4 – feelings and flowers

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

Dear friends the other day I was sitting at my son’s cricket practice at school, stitching a couple of leaves and another mom asked me what I am doing. I tried to explain my work to her and had a hard time doing so.  Even when I know exactly what I should have said, I struggled to make her understand without showing any images.

So to practice I decided to write about it here. This is part 4 of 13….

I love contradictions.  Dichotomies fascinate me for eg:  Art/Craft, Success/Failure, good/bad, pure/sullied, masculine/feminine, self/other, nature/culture, life/death, human/divine, sacred/profane … and the list goes on…

I have a lot of conflicted feelings about the world we live in and sometimes those feelings extend to my work.

These days I mainly stitch flowers. A couple of years ago if you told me that I would stitch flowers, I would have said: No way Jose!

Hannalie Taute studio wall photographed by Kleinjan Groenewald 2020

If I think back now, I guess it started with marigolds for my Stink Afrikaner exhibition in 2016.

I am fascinated by the idea that flowers can be seen as a language of sorts. (see floragraphy) and that it can be used as a symbol for emotions or a code.  Inspired by codes, I learned about the Voynich Manuscript which in turn inspired me to embroider real as well as imaginary flowers.  The Victorians used flowers to send ‘secret’ messages.

I find joy in the process of stitching a variety of blooms on small pieces of rubber and then later arrange them in bouquet-like pieces.  Almost like building a puzzle.  And then of course there are the contradiction of stitching flowers onto rubber, which i like.  It is also an ode to my mother, to a time when she was a florist, but at that stage I didn’t pay attention to her creations, partly because i was too young i guess.

What is your favorite flower?

meet the artist part 3 – medium

Studio news/blog

I work mainly with discarded inner-tubes from tyres. I prefer to use the inner-tubes of trucks or tractors and re-purpose it to function as my ‘canvases’ for the embroideries.  I source the inner-tubes (rubber) from local tyre companies and my husband is a diesel mechanic for a construction company and he works with earth-moving vehicles.

Whereas other husbands bring their wives flowers, he brings me inner tubes;-)


Meet the artist part 2 – artistic journey

Studio news/blog

Besides drawing and Art History, my other subjects at Technicon were stained glass and printmaking (I changed the latter to sculpture in my 3rd year).  For years I experimented with a range of mediums from wax, plaster of paris, dressmaking pattern paper, collage, assemblage which included found objects such as skulls and toys etc.

In 2004 I found myself under the top 100 artists in a very renowned National Art competition for a series of ‘toys’ constructed out of platster of paris and found objects titled: Madam choose your personality”.

In 2011 I was nominated for a Fiesta award for my exhibition “Skeidingsangs/Seperation anxiety” at an Art festival.  In retrospect I see that show as a retrospective of all the other mediums I used in my art practice;  before rubber.

Thereafter I got fed-up with the South African Art world and joined the CCDI (Cape Craft and Design institute) That is when I started using discarded inner tubes to make toys like rhino’s, giraffes and elephants.  I also donated a portion of the sales to an anti-rhino poaching fund.

It wan’t until a friend asked me to add her daughters’s name onto the rubber toy, that I had the idea of embroidering on rubber.  As they say the rest is history…

In 2013 I had my ground-breaking exhibition titled: Rubber ever after at the Klein Karoo Art Festival and won an award for that, which opened a lot of doors in the Art World for me.  Since then I realized the mass amount of possibilities working in this medium and year after year I try and push my won boundaries working with this medium and will continue to do so.