The Owl House: Was she mad or quite sane?
The small hamlet of Nieu Bethesda is sometimes called "the village left behind in time." To some degree, that is the choice of its inhabitants. For example, the villagers chose to keep their dirt streets, even though the government was willing to pave them. So, you drive miles from Graaff-Reinet on pot-holed, rugged gravel roads to get to Nieu Bethesda. Why go there at all? Because it has also become known as a small artisan village - with an active women's art cooperative, several small…
Owl House | Nieu Bethesda | South Africa
Helen Martins, Owl House ...the former home of eccentric outsider and artist Helen Martins, who dedicated her life to transforming the space around her into a whimsical, colorful array of sculpture and stained glass. Her inspiration bordered on obsession, and what started as a quest to bring color to her surroundings soon poured beyond the confines of her home. The eerie garden is filled with hundreds of cement ...figures ...commissioned by Martins and created by local sculptor Koos…
Owl House, Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa - The Owl House was owned by a woman named Helen Martins who was obsessed with light. She started making sculptures and other objects from cement, glass and wire that reflected rainbow colours. She made eerie animals that spilled out of her house and into the yard, but she particularly loved owls, which she associated with intuition and wisdom.
In an attempt to banish the darkness from her life, Helen Martins transformed her house into a kaleidoscope of rich blues, reds and greens, among other vibrant colours. She covered her walls with crushed glass and every window is tinted. The result is the enigmatic Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda. Photo: K van der Wielen
Nieu-Bethesta is home to the Owl House where Helen Martin lived. She was regarded as an eccentric old woman and lived as a recluse, devoting her life to making hundreds of figures and statues from cement and glass. These are on display behind the Owl House in the area known as the Camel Yard. Her artistic hand had touched every space of her house. The walls, ceilings and even the doors were decorated by finely ground glass of various colours.
Lisa Thatcher on WordPress.com
Current reviews of film and theatre. Enlightened critique of film and theatre with a philosophical slant, focussing on arts impact on contemporary culture.
Visionary Environment – Helen Martins and The Owl House of Nieu Bethesda
“On a cold winters' morning in 1976, at the age of seventy-eight, Helen Martins took her own life by swallowing caustic soda.” (From the biography of Helen Martins on the official Owl House Foundation site http://www.owlhouse.co.za/) So ended the tragic yet somehow beautiful life of a colourful character whose artistic vision and psychological depth went mostly unnoticed by her neighbours in the dusty, out-of-the-way Great Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda. Helen Martins, who went on to create…