Industry and Art – the Iron Works in Völklingen

The Völklingen Iron Works, a giant monument of 19th century industry, dominating the skyline of Völklingen, is now a World Cultural Heritage Site and a place for major exhibitions. The last exhibition – The Celts. Druids. Princes. Warriors – has just closed, attracting nearly 200.000 visitors.

The Völklingen Iron Works, starting with its first smelter operation in 1883. The works closed in 1986 and are now a museum. Here seen from the railway station.
Section of the exhibition among turbines, generators in the furnace blast hall. 500 years B.C. the Celts worked iron ore at this very place.
Celtic war helmets
A Celtic warrior, having killed his wife (?), committing suicide rather than becoming a captive. Late Roman Art. Second century A.D./CE.
Burial object of a Celtic princess.

Further sections of the plant – blower shed and works locker rooms – were opened up to make use of these generous industrial spaces for contemporary art exhibitions.

Colleen, Anni, Walter (and Leo) exploring the exhibition space.

Change. Street artist Shepard Fairey, *1970 Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Silk screen print. 2008. Shephard Fairey operates his street art project worldwide.
Without title. Os Geméos. *1974 Sao Paulo, Brazil. Spraypaint on Wood. 2008. The works of the Brazilian twins have appeared on numerous walls around the world. Their yellow figures take over entire facades of houses.
Without title. unknown artist.

Art and industry. Two sides of the spirit of mankind. Inspiring each other.

With love
Colleen & Walter
Bremen, Sunday September 4, 2011

House of Icons Traben-Trarbach

The holy miracle workers Boris and Gleb, sons of Grand Duke Wladimir, patron saints of the Russian people (1200), murdered by their half-brother.

This icon and most of the other icons on display at the House of Icons in Traben-Trarbach were written by Alexej Alexandrowitch Saweljew (1920 Kiev – 1996 Traben-Trarbach). Saweljew re-discovered and used the Byzantine technique of icon writing taking the recipes to his grave. His icons are referred to as “modern icons” according to the Novgorod school of icon writing. Icons are, however, part of the sacramentals, intrinsically bound to the liturgy of the Eastern Church and as such never “modern”.

The holy martyr George - Roman Officer at the time of Diocletian - dragon slayer.
One of the 19th century icons on display which Colleen particularly loves.

With love
Colleen & Walter
Völklingen Saturday 27 August 2011

The Buddha Museum in Traben-Trarbach – in remembrance of Paul Cilliers

Roof top garden. Buddha Museum Traben-Trarbach

An astonishing site – the Buddha Museum in Traben Trarbach on the banks of the river Mosel with a permanent exhibition of thousands of priceless Buddha statues on a space of over 4000 square metres. Nearby the Parkschlösschen Bad Wildstein advertises itself as the no. 1 Ayurvedic treatment centre in Germany.

What then is happiness and what is suffering? Since nothing is ever lost in this world, you might as well be prepared to find both.


17th century Chinese

The Buddha says: “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

This blog is dedicated to Paul Cilliers, philosopher, musician, culinary companion, dear friend – missed by many.
(Paul died Sunday 31st July, the day we left for Europe.)


Walter & Colleen
Thursday 18 August 2011





Bay Harbour – The Market, Hout Bay

An unusual encounter on a market - yet, an expression of the phantasy and vision of a handful of people who turned an industrial place into a living space for people to enjoy.

Globalized marketing has made shopping easy but has also taken the fun out of it. The loss of individuality is the price paid for convenience. You can pick and choose virtually anything anytime anywhere at your leisure from supermarket shelves. Humans do, however, need to have that casual social interaction – something that till operators can hardly provide. And that is where markets have a place in communities such as Cape Town, Stellenbosch and now Hout Bay – bringing fun back into shopping.

A typical French weekend market, here in Tourette-sur-Loup near Grasse.

Well, not exactly. These new “markets” must not be compared with the old-fashioned ones still so very common in France and much loved by tourists. Bay Harbour Market serves different needs. A fish processing plant was turned into a social space to serve the community at large. A re-birth of community spirit through community projects and products, that is what we experienced as core element of this space when we visited it yesterday.

Faces of South Africa. Having prepared rosterbrood and halaal breedies.
Zoë & Dave Brocklebank's smithy from "Rust and Roses" - very much part of the market and cornerstone of turning the industrial elements into aesthetically pleasing works of art.
Integrating the industrial - pipes from a fish processing plant - into ...
... something ... pleasing ...
... and giving it a newly defined commercial ...
... habitable ...
... sociable ...
... and aesthetically pleasing functionality.
Approach road to the market - entrance on the right.
Very much on the seaward end of the harbour. Here looking back toward Hout Bay.
This is how we were greeted on entering ...
The Rastafarian component.
Industriousness of a different kind ... pilchards where processed here ... before
shapes, colours, beads, heads … all counted … 
... celebrating tea ...

... from China with love ...

… free-range flame roasted … 
... or sunshine organic ...
... inviting ...
... an open hearted beautiful space ...
... with a peaceful mind ...

... on the home run.
... and a joyful spirit ...
Dave Brocklebank from "Rust and Roses" - one of the initiators - a gentle giant, blacksmithing things into shape.

An old factory space, creatively adapted to serve the community of the Cape at large and the traditional fishing community of Hout Bay in particular – bringing together the spirit of fresh enterprise, of good commercial sense and community feel – for all to enjoy and eventually to profit from.

With love
Walter & Colleen
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 17 July 2011

Kleinmond harbour – archaeology of a development

Harbour mouth Kleinmond.

The very word “development” fills one with misgivings where and when big money is invested in a scheme to uplift a utilitarian area such as an old harbour with nothing more than a slip-way for small fishing boats, an abalone breeding factory, a row of funky shops and run-of-the-mill eateries to service the tourist trade in the summer season.
As a matter of course, structures grown and kept alive over many years, familiarities, individual quirks and quaintnesses are changed if not destroyed – all with good intentions, yet, no architect or town planner can put back the patina of things, their quality of touch to the eye, their shine and good feel. New developments tend to be straight with hard edges. Add to that the often drastic increases in rent to follow which will drive out some if not most of the old shop-owners and you have the perfect recipe for economic growth and loss of quality of life.
We will follow the “development” of the Kleinmond harbour and will report back. For now, a few pics of how it looks presently, all dug up.

Kleinmond harbour development, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
Kleinmond harbour, July 2011.
An exquisite winter's Sunday in Betty's Bay.

With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 10 July, 2011