The Platform, Lions River
On a beautiful Summer’s morning, there is not much that can hold me back from taking a drive on the Midlands. There is something about the patchwork fields contrasting in verdant and golden crops juxtaposed against blue skies that just does something for my soul.
It is such a morning that after a quick mountain bike ride I find myself heading towards Lions River in search of a story. This story as already been a while in the making, but also hearkens back to the very heart of what the Midlands grew from.
As I crunch across the gravel and alight from the vehicle, I see a range of Nguni skins being displayed in the morning sun. This is the home of the The Nguni Guy, Glen, who is also one of the owners. I am greeted by Justin, one of the partners at The Platform. He is checking the displays as I walk into the old converted Lions River Station shed.
I sit down on the wonderfully comfortable chair to get the story about this restored shed and the purpose it now has. Justin tells me that the idea behind restoring the shed is to showcase talented Midlands artists and the variety of works that are crafted here. We are sitting alongside the smokeless fire pit which has been devised in the Midlands and is perfect for those cold Wintery nights or just an evening outside.
So many artists on the Midlands do not have the opportunity to exhibit their work and this is an opportunity for them to represent the Midlands arts and crafts scene while letting people experience one of the things that the Midlands is famous for. This is all accomplished while exposing people to local skilled artists.
There is a large variety of art in this small space, but it also feels like a really comfortable place to relax and chat. There are lifelike sculptures from Michael Mawdsley displayed. If you are lucky, you will catch him at work here too.
Barry Downard displays his photography, light fittings and bespoke metalwork here. He delights in upcylcing metal and giving pieces new life.
Master Platinum, Gold and Silversmith, Dieter Setz has some of his stunning creations here too. If you are looking for a custom design, this is the man for the job.
There is a rhino sculpture carved from a single wooden sleeper block that has the most incredible texture making it come to life. Other wooden sculptures are scattered around the area, paying tribute to the enjoyment of wood in South African homes.
One of the other forms of art is leatherwork and design. Both these are represented by the beautifully crafted and designed pumps on display. Colourful and slightly different, just like the Midlands and South African people. The leather bags come in varying shapes, sizes and colours and are a tribute to fantastic craft work.
The one thing that is clear here is that everything has a story and here, this is where the stories are told and cherished. It gives The Platform a special ambience.
Currently growing is a nursery alongside the shed. There are special plans for this spot to grow and expand, so keep an eye on developments at The Platform. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date on all the goings on.
Until then…See you on the Road!