Boshimela - the Original Swazi Farmhouse
Our mohair curtaining was the inaugural product of the weaving studio (which is about to turn 70 years old, next year). Coral wanted a classic, simple fabric to use to curtain her long passageway in her newly built thatch farm-style house, Boshimela. She though plain, undyed "Chalk" mohair curtains would be perfect - they're warm, slightly Scandinavian looking, they let through just enough light and air, but provide a good filter. Simple, unadulterated, authentic, but with a touch of luxury and sophistication. After all, handspun mohair is imbued with something special, its uniqueness is clear to see.
I remember the old passageway at Boshimela, it was lined with the oars that had been used in the Oxford/Cambridge boat race by a family member. The passage was long and austere, the wooden floor creaked and the white plastered walls were powdery. But the curtains gently billowed in the wind and the carpet guided your way down.
Coral had woven a series of mohair carpets which you can see in the photo of the passage, they were very Arts & Crafts and are still around today.
The old house was furnished with a collection of textiles which were functional: most of them well worn and used, there were wall hangings behind beds, glimmering curtains which caught the sunset behind the dining room and carpets which still held an intense patina, despite being decades old.
The study (above) was packed with books and crowded if there was a cricket or rugby game to watch and sitting room (below)
A guest room with a vintage wall hanging and well used mohair blankets on the bed. The rug was part of Coral's Navajo inspired collection.
The dining room curtains allowed the sun to shine through in the late afternoon.
The home was always welcoming, but represented a different era which it clung to despite the difficulty. I will always remember the feeling it gave when you entered, you knew you would have a great meal, a good conversation and a good night's sleep (having probably had one too many glasses of something). I remember the linen, the old quilts, the slightly felted mohair blankets, the lights sitting askew, the verandah tiles that were worn down and the metal paned windows which never shut properly.
Boshimela left such a strong impression for many who visited, for me it is that balance of warmth and welcome and formality, but it was a place to treasure, it held many treasures and many memories and many great times. Much of it is shown, although with a 60s bent in the movie Wah-Wah, filmed in 2004 using Boshimela as its main location.
It burnt down in July, 2007 and although I now live in the rebuilt house, I hope my home will one day inspire the same feelings, although I am not there by half.