When Fransa Cole of Riverside Estates recently resigned from her job as a business analyst at Investec, she was not entirely sure where life was going to take her. It did not take long for her varied interests and talents to dictate the road ahead (or multiple paths, rather): anything creative! Gardening, writing, making jewellery, designing labyrinths...
She is currently offering a series of jewellery courses at her home, Jakkalsdans. Set in a large rambling garden with views over the veld and the hills of the Oori Game Reserve, Jakkalsdans offers something for the soul and the eye as well as the hands.
“We're working with 'fold forming' at the moment,” explains Fransa. This is a new metalworking technique, recently invented by Charles Lewton-Brain - a first in thousands of years of metalworking. “The concept is to fold and crease metal, as you would paper (almost like origami), and then selectively forge, form, roll and unfold it to produce light, elegant shapes.
“In the workshop we make a bracelet, a pair of earrings and a star-shaped pendant, using the simplest of sawing and hammering techniques and working in copper. Silver is available on request, and at extra cost but not recommended for beginners who have no metalwork experience.”
Tools are simple: fingers, hands, hammers, mallets, anvils and rolling mills.
"The cost of the workshop does not include the manicure you'll undoubtedly need afterwards, as metalwork is hard on the hands and nails!” quips Fransa.
Her creativity is teamed with practicalities. As vice-chair of the Conservancy, working on environmental issues is high on her list. She is spearheading local Pompom removal, having trained several jobless people to tackle this insidious alien. “In VeldTalk no 56 Hensopper lamented the spread of Pompom and the lack of action from authorities and private landowners,” she said. “It may cheer him/her up that a work team of five unemployed people cleared about 200 ha in the Oori Game Reserve. Ten more landowners tackled their own properties. The Pompom team cut and filled 200 black bags with Pompom heads. This was burnt to prevent further infestation. Now I'm just waiting for some outstanding payments!”