The wall outside the Spier Artisan Studio is now home to a new mural by acclaimed artist Liza Grobler.
Made with mixed media materials, Just Add Water depicts Spier’s historic and ecological setting — referencing both a historic deeds map (which is housed in the Manor House) as well as contemporary activities embodying the farm’s ethos such as the Spier Artisan Studio.
The Eerste River which flows through Spier is represented as a vivid blue line that form the artwork’s spine. Its prominence highlights the importance of this river to the farm and its surroundings, emphasising the importance of water as a means of life-giving nourishment and connection.
The drawing is executed in monochrome with details in smalti (glass mosaic) which pay homage to Spier Artisan Studio within the building. Hand-painted ceramic tiles capture intimate corners of Spier’s historic farmyard — the Werf, while porcelain cones provide a habitat for indigenous plants that will grow around the “river”. Currently containing succulents, these cones will in the future feature South African plants sourced from Tree-preneurs, a Spier Growing for Good Learning Initiative which teaches members of impoverished communities how to care for indigenous plants.
Liza was a participant of the Spier Arts Patron Programme, in which exeptional established artists are supported holistically to advance their artistic careers, benefiting significantly from the freedom provided by a supportive patron.
Liza’s work — which has been exhibited extensively both at home and abroad — blurs the traditions of craft and fine art, and breathes new life into discarded, mass-produced materials through traditional craft techniques like crochet, beading and weaving. Her work explores the tangible qualities of materials and the connections between people, artworks and the world around us; her installations creating dialogues with the spaces in which they are displayed. The viewer is encouraged to travel with her into an imaginary world where fact and fiction become one, everything is in flux, and anything is possible.
In addition to Just Add Water, there are numerous works in the Spier collection by Liza, showcased across Spier. In 2015, she also curated, Decor-Z — an exhibition in the Spier Farm Kitchen featuring her own work along with five other leading South African artists.