The entries for the Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo Design, Art and Textile Design ComPETition, in association with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) are in! Along with you being able to support DARG by bidding for your favourite design, the winning designers will be picked by our panel of expert comPETition judges. 

The comPETition judging panel is made up of Marycke Ackhurst and Kim Johnstone from Hill’s Pet Nutrition; writer, curator and lecturer, Marilyn Martin and fashion designer, Kobus Dippenaar.

Tell us a little more about yourself

Kim Johnstone

Kim: I’m an animal lover and very passionate about my job. I’ve been with Hill’s for just under eight years and feel blessed to work with people who share my passion.  I live in Hout Bay and am very lucky to have one of the best views. I’m married and have a six year old son, who would love to be a vet one day when he grows up. 

Kobus: I’m from Riebeek West and a farm boy at heart. I’ve been in the fashion industry for 35 years. I did a stint in the UK in corsetry and millinery. Back in SA, I participated in my first Fashion Week in 2007 and have never looked back. In 2009, I  started a wedding dress collection under the name Anna Georgina and started touring the UK and USA. Today I have 17 stores around the world buying my range.

Marilyn: After eleven years as director of the South African National Gallery, I was appointed director of art collections for Iziko Museums in 2001. I retired in 2008 and have since worked as an independent writer, curator and lecturer. I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. In 2002 I was admitted to the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France at the rank of Officer and in 2013 I received the medal of the Fondation Alliance française in Paris. I launched my book Dreams and Realities – a History of the South African National Gallery in July.

Marycke: I am one of the very fortunate people that has a job that combines my passions.  I, first and foremost, am an animal lover, I am very interested in nutrition and am very passionate about educating pet parents.  To work for a company like Hill’s, that share my values and vision, is the ultimate opportunity anyone can dream of.  I love that for 16 years I have felt that I can make a difference on so many levels in pet’s lives – be it puppy schools, rescue organisations, general pet education or breeders.

How do you feel about animals? Do you have any?

Kobus Dippenaar

Kim: We have a German Shepard Milo and a DMSH Cat named Max. My son often refers to Max as his brother.

Kobus: I love animals. We have a cat called Princess. I would love a dog, but it’s not a good idea in a small space.

Marilyn: I do not have any animals.

Marycke: My daughter and I live on a small holding where animals are pretty much our life.  I’m passionate about all animals but I have a keen interest in Golden Retrievers and my daughter favours Papillon. We also have two Birman cats and a beautiful black domestic cat called Bibi.  We’re involved in showing our dogs and cats and when younger my daughter competed in Junior Handling.

In your opinion, what is the most important trend in design/art for pets?

Marilyn Martin

Kim: The “lifestyle” trend is becoming very popular. Design and art of this kind can be seen to be included as an extension of our home decor and should be as our pets are included as part of our family.

Kobus: Pets are an integral part of human existence. They take a lot of stress away from us and add to our lives. They should get all the love they need.

Marilyn: I have looked at these fabulous websites and they will be in my mind when we judge: Pet designs on Pinterest, dogs on Dezeen and animals on Dezeen.

Marycke: The “Dog/Cat Mom” trend is very popular and important. It reflects that an increasing number of pet parents treat their pets like children. They consider them in important decisions, invest in their well-being, provide in all their needs and consider them family.  Therefore they like associating with their pets. “Dogs are a girls best friend”; “Cat Mom”; “My best friend has paws” are phrases commonly used in design for dog and cat parents whether it be their own clothing, pet accessories or even pet furniture. For cats, understanding the need for vertical yet modular furniture is becoming more known. However, pet parents want these items to fit in with the rest of their decor and style.

As one of the competition judges, what will you be looking for in the designs and artworks? Any specific criteria?

Marycke Ackhurst

Kim: I’ll be looking for creative design that will be versatile enough to fit into any Pet Parents home. I’ll also be looking at trend, colour as well as lifestyle appeal.

Kobus: I would love to see innovation  – from dog and cat beds to feeding mechanism for when you’re away (single parents) and tech for staying in touch etc.

Marilyn: I have no specific criteria and I look forward to responding to the ideas and innovations that the entrants offer.

Marycke: I will be looking for innovative and creative ideas, design and artwork, that show an understanding for pets and their needs.

Don’t miss your chance to bid on the top designs and support DARG by visiting Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo.