A close-knit circle with big hearts

Zelda de Kock started the group.

Every Friday, the Muizenberg community is stitched even closer together.

One woman’s idea two years ago, has become the social fabric for 14 others to leave their mark on.

On the surface the Muizenberg Craft group is just that; on another level, it is a meeting place for women in the community to gather, talk, to share wisdom among the recipes and pat-
terns.

And at the end of each year, despite all they have gained and already given one another, the group of women donate much of their work to one cause.

This year, the women will be donating the hand-made goods they make to the selfless volunteers who serve their community

Zelda de Kock founded the group because she arrived in Cape Town from Pretoria, not knowing one person.

“It’s a beautiful place to live but a place is also its people, and I needed to get to know them,” she said. Having belonged to a similar group before, Zelda knew its potential, so she put an ad in the newspaper and waited to see who would arrive.

That was then. Now there is a core group of 14 who meet once a week at 10am to catch up, and try new things. Others arrive and leave as they wish, there is always room at the table, Zelda says.

This inclusive approach extends to the work they do: and there is an incredible variety of this because each member is a dab hand at a number of crafts.

Marina Sigalas did not bring her art to the table; this week her work was caring for her little grand-daughter Raya Herker, but this self proclaimed crone is not to be dismissed simply as a doting Ya-Ya; her oils and charcoal portraits are exquisite and hold incredible nuance of character. And she also weaves, crochets and speaks with deep wisdom about the sacred and life’s cycles.

Beside her at the table is Elke Hofmeyer who owns two looms and has created hand-made linen – one piece, a gift made in matching shades to a Van Gogh painting her son owns.

Elke also makes lace from scratch, and Suzanne Lotriet says she is one of the members who sat beside Elke to learn this. “Much intimidated at first, but then I just became absorbed in the process which is fascinating,” she said.

Among all the things shared, nothing is wasted either, and Fish Hoek resident Judith Sher is carrying a handbag made from wool left over at the end of last year’s projects.

Margaret Dugmore showed photographs she had made of double-sided cushion covers which she had crocheted for her grand-daughters. “Those were works of art, I knew Margaret enjoys a challenge or she gets bored, so those cushions
had complicated stitching,” said Zelda.

Margaret laughed, saying they are now heirlooms for the effort that went into them, particularly to match the colours they wanted. One was made in mint and pistachio, the other was made in the tones of the Karoo, for a home-
sick grand-daughter living
overseas. She also had with her a piece of Spanish blackwork that her mother started 40 years or more ago.

Judith was working on a piece that she had put to one side when her son was born: he is now 18, and she says the group is worth travelling over the mountain for each week.

As Kathy Baumgartner knitted, she chatted about the range of items the group had made in the past two years including beanies for neonatal units and scarves for the homeless.

All the women present said they learned from one another and valued this as much as the laughter and flourishing social aspect, with Judith adding that they had met as strangers but had become
friends.

To join the group, call Zelda de Kock on 083 454 6387.