Artistic Expression Through Crafts

Artistic Expression through Crafts Jillalexa.com

Artistic Expression Through Crafts

There are so many ways one can choose to express our creativity, through Art, Poetry, writing and for some people, it is to use the #artisticexpressionthroughcrafts. It fulfills the need to be creative as there are so many choices.

In the 1960’s or early 1970s, a group of ladies formed a branch of the Quilter’s Guild and began meeting in the United Church Manse to learn from each other or to teach quilting skills. After a number of years, the focus of the group changed and they decided to leave the Quilter’s Guild but continued meeting to learn other Crafts. They duly formed the “Camps Bay Craft Group”. The name of the group has changed to the Camps Bay Nattering Needlers Group”.

part of the Craft Group

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of visiting “The Camps Bay Nattering Needlers Group” to see what it was all about and meet the lovely ladies that attend the group. The “meeting” began with a delicious meal provided by my friend Pat Jenner, who had invited me to the group. The ladies take it in turns to provide the luncheon. It was Pat’s turn that day and the food was scrumptious.

Initially, this was a morning group but due to the increase in volume in the traffic, it was decided to change the time to avoid the worst of the traffic. Some ladies travel long distances to get to the meetings.

Two of the Nattering Needlers Group

The meeting takes place every Friday at 12noon in a beautiful, large house, which was built in 1857 and bought as a Community Centre for the Senior Citizens of Camps Bay. On the day I visited there were eight ladies who although did indeed natter still kept their hands busy with handwork they had brought along to do.

Their dedication to the group is, I think, due to the wonderful bond of friendship they have forged over the years. Some members I met have been attending since the latter part of the 1970s. Another reason is that they all active and partake in any of the meeting planned. They are more than happy to learn new crafts. What a lovely welcome I received and they were more than happy to share the stories with me of some of the #artisticexpressionsincrafts they had made over the years,

The enthusiasm shown by this fun-loving group was so infectious, it made me want to rush home and begin a new craft of my own.

Many of the items they make are for various charities.

cross stitch - 1

Here a some of the items this amazing group have made over the years

  1. Quillo
  2. Pumpkin bag
  3. Knee rugs for babies and nursery school children
  4. Smocking, design bag
  5. Australian cross stitch on gingham
  6. Beading, Christmas decor, necklaces and earrings
  7. Shadow work (embroidery)
  8. Bags for unmarried Moms. These are filled with necessities for both mother and baby
  9. knitted Rhino
  10. Embroidered Teddy
  11. Christmas Patchwork Tree
  12. Large patchwork cat
  13. covered boxes and decorated them
  14. Fabric Painting
  15. Paper Serviette Decoupage
  16. Japanese Amigurumi (knitting)
  17. Patchwork Christmas Stockings filled with toys and sweets for the children in Somerset Hospital
  18. Crazy Patchwork Quilt
  19. In their 67 minutes for Mandela they made 24 Teddies for Charity
  20. Cross stitch

cross stitch - Salie Miller

Messages from the Members

Coleen is Secretary of the Group and she told me about the wonderful Christmas themes and how they transform the room in which we met, into a virtual wonderland, depicting the chosen theme.

Two or three members choose a theme and organize the food and decor to suit the theme.

Here are some themes they have chosen over the years.

  • Nattering Needles Masked BallWhite Christmas
  • Dinner Party
  • International
  • Beach Party
  • Fascinators
  • Masked Ball
  • Safari Party

Fortunately, they have kept a number of lovely photo albums which I looked through and saw just how much trouble they went through to make these truly memorable events.

Obviously, they were loads of fun to prepare for and were enjoyed by all.

1970’s and Onward, full of Vigour they Go

Joyce is the longest serving member and has been attending these meetings since 1970.

This is what she had said, “Fridays with the Nattering Needles, is a must! To have a friendship like this is really special. We have made so many things. Never stopped “learning” and that is so important as one gets older, especially as one as ancient as I!

Artistic Expression Through Crafts | natter needles christmasColleen told me of Patchwork Christmas Stocking they made, filled them with sweeties and toys for the children at the Somerset Hospital. Can you just imagine the joy that brought to those little ones?

Spending the time with this lovely group of ladies from so many areas was very interesting. They were all so positive and even when Pat told me that she wasn’t much of a “needleworker”, which I know for a fact is not true, as I know her well. It was the fun they have in working together that shone through.

Salie said she joined in 2004 after meeting Joyce two weeks before in Houtbay, at Joyce’s house. She went there to buy a doll she had seen at the Teddy Bear Market, which Joyce had made. They became immediate friends and Joyce invited Salie to the meeting but Joyce felt it was too far for Salie to travel as she lives In Parrow North (behind the Boerewors curtain).

Artistic Expression Through Crafts | nattering needles white christmasSalie told Joyce, Pretoria is far and London a little further but not Parow.

Her next words were “I love this group”.

Love is what this Group exudes, among themselves and to others. It was a pleasure and privilege to meet them all.

Now we can all be inspired by Stephanie, Les, Colleen, Mercy, Sheila, Pat, Elaine, Salie, Joyce and Elize as we think of them on a Friday at noon, meeting faithfully for the Nattering Needles Craft Group.

Perhaps you belong to a Craft Group and would like to share some of the wonderful Crafts you have learned. Or you have been moved to make things for a Charity in your area and want to tell us about it. I would love to hear from you.

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. Oh, Jill. Your article reminds me of my childhood 🙂 I remember my grandma and her friends’ gatherings where they were knitting and sharing stories. It was like I was living in a magical world.
    Thanks for making my day.

  2. Hi Jill

    You have a very nice post, and I’m sure your group are a fine group of young ladies, all the best with future post as they are very interesting and nice to read.


  3. Hi! Wonderful article! Thank you for sharing with everyone about the Nattering Needlers Group. I always admire people who are masterful using their hands to make amazing artworks. It’s not common nowadays.
    Moreover, I also think that this friendship is extraordinary. I wish my grandparents could find groups like this that they would feel happy being with the group. They always complain about being bored, yet they refuse to live with us. I think I might start looking for groups like the Nattering Needlers and convince them to participate. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Kai, What a great idea. I do hope you get that right. There is no reason to be bored. So many things to do. Thank you so much for reading an enjoying my post.

    • Hi Kai, Thank you so much for reading my post and for the lovely comments you made in reply. I don’t know how people can be bored in this day and age. There is so much to do.

  4. Hello Jill,
    This sounds like a lovely group of ladies! I wish my grandma had a group like this to meet up with every week. She sings in the church choir several times each week and up until this last year she still played tennis though she is almost 90!

    I like crafts but don’t have a group to do them with. This group is inspiring. They have been meeting for over 45 years!

    Thanks for sharing another story of life in South Africa!

  5. Hi Jill, I really enjoyed reading your article.
    I think it’s such a brilliant concept to start a crafts group. From the first moment of joining, you will have something in common with everybody else – a love for creativity and a love for life! That will make for a group full of positivity.
    I joined a ladies club a couple of years ago with occasional crafts events and a number of informative sessions and inspirational speakers. Like the Craft Group, it’s got a great atmosphere and has grown enormously since it started.
    This shows that whatever your age, there is a great need for creative, inspiring clubs. Much better than sitting at home watching TV or spending all your evenings at the computer.

    • Hi Sammy, Absolutely. The TV is such a waste of time and so much better to be with friends with whom you have things in common. Have just gone back to my Book Club and am so happy about that. Thanks for reading the post and commenting.

  6. What a lovely group Jill, it is so great to see a spirit of community and giving so strong. Important for us all to have face-to-face time with a community we are connected too – as great as online is – there should still always be a face-to-face connection and community.

    • Hi Fleur, I totally agree. I love my time online but my family and friends are very dear to me and I would hate to lose them by neglecting to spend time with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *