Sketches on bus trips

I sketched, coloured and painted all the artwork on our packaging, and designed the layout on paper (wonderfully computer-proficient graphic designers took it from there).

sketching the art work

Initially, they were just little Idea sketches, but they just transformed into the illustrations for our packaging. So, am I qualified/trained in Packaging Design? Well, when I was about 10, I went through a phase of designing wrappers for my dream chocolate bars (hmmm, I wonder what happened to those…) but, no, the simple answer is no. But, I have always loved drawing.

I have a background in Nature Conservation (working in the parks and game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal), and a degree in Botany, with a particular interest in Ethnobotany. I have always enjoyed adventure travel – which mostly involved hiking, backpacking, hitch hiking, or just jumping on a bus to small town destinations that nobody goes to unless their Great Auntie in that place has died. My favourite thing is to look out the windows at new scenery, making quick sketches in my notebook or taking blurry photographs, and chat to the locals on the bus about those places – hearing their stories makes these places meaningful and memorable.

So, fast forward a few years, to when Chikondi and I had started a family and had to think about ways to make a career out of a hobby, my inspiration came from those backpacking trips. South African landscapes are so beautiful and varied, and I wanted to showcase these places in a range of soaps to reflect the diversity of each biome. Not just the images of sunsets, mountains and plants,
but also the people I met there and made connections with. South African Landscapes are wide and huge and wildly beautiful, but, unlike many other places in the world, they cannot be seen without the influence of humans.

The History of People and the Land in South Africa – and Africa – goes so far back, that we cannot only think of the the plants and animals as the place. Acknowledging this led us to explore these areas, and to search for small-scale farmers and communities that we could source authentically local ingredients from for each soap. To bring something special to each scent, and to connect the drawings to the content. Bringing it all together, and the rewarding feeling I get from the enthusiastic response from folks who know these landscapes, has been wonderful. In future blog posts, I will chat more about each soap, and the story behind it.

In the meantime, you can browse through our soap collection here.

3 Replies to “Sketches on bus trips”

  1. A friend gave me a bar of the Aloe and Basil soap last year and I was so amazed by the gorgeous fragrance and very original south african packaging that I promptly passed it on to a friend in England, whom I knew would love it (she did!) I was sure I would be able to track down Rondavel soaps and get the bar replaced. Which is exactly what I’ve done. I ordered six bars, including the Aloe and Basil and am really looking forward to discovering the fragrances of the others. I am so impressed and excited by what I’ve read on your website. Not least your sense of humour and style of writing. Well done, you are an inspiration.

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