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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Reviva Schermbrucker embroiders advent calendar for children in story form.

Artist/writer Reviva Schermbrucker has created what must be a first in the history of publishing - an embroidered advent calendar for children in story form. An African Christmas Cloth represents two and a half years of inspired, meticulous 'stitching', a stellar reproduction and imagery with a South African flavour. This original book hearkens back to a bygone world where things were not judged merely by their usefulness, but by their charm, wit, quality and integrity.

The illustrations have a three-dimensional effect. With thread on textile, the shapes are raised and have a toy-like, vital and expressive quality. The electric way in which, for instance, Reviva's Christmas tree grows by the stitch, is pure magic. It is the 'folk history' connected to the craft that comes alive. Each thread becomes real: a tangible link with the picture. And each picture is pulled out from the world of images, and becomes an object where the viewer is part of the physical process of its making. Yet An African Christmas Cloth is also irreverent and contemporary.

Reviva Schermbrucker qualified as a high school art teacher, and she writes and illustrates children's books, among which is Charlie's House (illustrated by Niki Daly). She worked for many years as a materials developer at the Early Learning Resource Unit, producing multilingual posters, games, books and tapes for children. She has also written a novella for newly literate adults, a book on children and gardening, and a number of readers and picture books. Her first full-length novel, Lucky Fish! was published to great acclaim in 2003 by Jacana Media.

An African Christmas is published in paperback by Jacana. Recommended Retail Price R95. EAN/ISBN-13: 978-1-77009-151-3