Saturday 20 November saw the fourth consecutive “November Outing” when about 44 members made their way to the Hartenberg Estate to begin our tour of “Egypt in the Winelands.” The estate is set against the beautiful backdrop of the Winelands Mountains and although the skies looked a bit threatening, the view was not obscured nor did potential rain dampen any enthusiasm.

Once everyone had arrived, we adjourned to a wine cellar where, midst delightful wine fumes, Prof Sakkie Cornelius of the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University treated us to an illustrated lecture on “Foreigners in Ancient Egypt.” Sakkie has addressed us on several occasions. He is always witty and highly informative and on this occasion he certainly didn’t disappoint. He left us with some new perspectives on Ancient Egypt and plenty upon which to reflect.

Gathered for lunch and wine tasting After exercising our brains, we moved onto testing our palates as we were treated to a tasting of some of the Estate’s  award-winning wines. The general consensus was that the Estate produced some very fine wines indeed. A fine but  brief drizzle during the tasting meant that we had to stay under our thatched tasting area and enjoy the delicious Vintner’s Platter (and more wine for those who had come along with designated drivers!).    After the lunch we all had to get into a huddle for Master Photographer Gunther Komnick to take the obligatory group photograph.         


TESSA members at Hartenberg

At about 14.30 we had a last look around the Estate and then departed via Stellenbosch to visit the studio of the internationally renowned sculptor Dylan Lewis, located in the hills on Mulberry Farm just off the road to Somerset West. We had to sign in to the restricted area and it was amusing sitting in our cars watching the boom operator walking around to the front of virtually every car in the queue to shout out the registration number. Very few seem to remember their own numbers!

Dylan Lewis’ studio and its environs were a sight to behold. Scattered around the building was a series of massive sculptures of all manner of wild animals strategically placed in the landscape. Needless to say, the studio itself was filled to capacity with both huge and some smaller sculptures of animals and both male and female human figures.

              Leopard sculpture outside Dylan Lewis studio

Studio Manager, Colette Taylor, was on hand to give us a fascinating insight not only into how Dylan Lewis conceives his art works – he does masses and masses of preliminary sketches – and how, ultimately, the sculptures are cast. The so-called lost wax technique is used to create the casts. This involves coating the sculpture with a thin layer of wax which is then drained away as the bronze is poured in to form the shape of the sculpture. Colette Taylor is very closely involved in Dylan Lewis’ work and so was the ideal person to give us an “insider’s view” of the processes involved. (By the way, the Ancient Egyptians are believed to have been familiar with the lost wax technique so we were not too far from “things Egyptian.”)

Colette Taylor explaining the sculptures of Dylan Lewis

Members were then free to admire completed works and others still in the process of development. We were all then treated to tea and cake – as if we hadn’t done enough eating already. This ended the day and we all made our respective ways home having enjoyed a day full of interest and happy interaction with fellow TESSA members.  The whole day was organised by Lila and Gunther Komnick and we are all deeply indebted to them for all the time and mileage that goes into in locating such interesting places to visit.

Report by Anthony Humphreys; photography by Gunther Komnick

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