The arts are alive and well in Knysna and surrounds.
The greater Knysna area has a long, rich association with the arts in all its forms. While enjoying your dream vacation in one of the top holiday destinations on the Garden Route, take some time to visit some of the area’s art galleries. And, if you feel inspired by the exhibitions and the unique surroundings of the Knysna forest, the beautiful beaches and interlinked estuaries, lakes and rivers, why not join an art lesson with one of the talented and professional local artists?
Working in oils, watercolours, acrylics and mixed media, artists have applied paint to canvas since the first talented person sailed through the Knysna Heads somewhere around the late 1800s and was inspired by the natural beauty of the place. The area has had an almost magical pull, attracting artists and nurturing locals’ talents since then. Today it is home to an active community of artists who paint, draw, sculpt and photograph to international standards. Sedgefield is known as the mosaic capital of the Garden Route, with intricate installations placed throughout the village.
As much as the beauty of the area has inspired its artists, so has the region’s history in the timber industry. Legendary timbers like blackwood, yellowwood, stinkwood and wild elder are readily available to the artists who design and manufacture sculptures, bespoke objects d’art and furniture that epitomises the concept of functional art. Pieces created from Knysna timber are alive with the vitality of the indigenous trees that have been responsibly sourced and harvested for these projects. Taking a special piece of timber art home with you is the easiest – and most genuine – way of owning something uniquely Knysna. The annual Knysna Timber Festival celebrates the local timber industry and, while acknowledging its history, serves to connect and add value to the links within the timber chain on a national and international level. A fun family even in Knysna, timber artists display their creations and informative talks and demonstrations entertain the crowds.
Arts and Crafts
Since the first holiday maker had the sense to choose Knysna as their holiday destination of choice, talented crafters have created magical pieces that today grace mantle pieces the world over. Recognising the talent, quality and value of their work, the idea for #KnysnaMade was born. Today you will find an artfully assembled exhibition of locally created arts and crafts at the Visit Knysna Visitor Information Centre in Knysna’s Main Road – all on sale, of course. Woodwork, beadwork, wire art and a number of innovative techniques are employed to create arts and crafts that are so much more than mere keepsakes.
The area has a rich history of theatre and thespians often tread the boards of school halls, community halls, clubs and the theatre in Sedgefield. Touring shows grace our stages and locals regularly put on shows in aid of charity. The local music society hosts national and international musicians while the Joburg Ballet Company performs in Knysna once a year to raise funds for the local Hospice. Local musicians are often playing in venues throughout the area, entertaining locals and visitors alike as they enjoy an evening out.
The calibre of local architects’ design skills is undeniable. Sleek lines, a clever and sustainable use of materials and a modern – yet comfortable – approach underlines the design aesthetic. This consciousness is supported by the integrity and talent of the creative and forward thinking interior designers who work locally and internationally. The creativity that permeates the air of the Garden Route is also evident in the avant garde creations of local fashion designers, pattern cutters and seamstresses.