M E E T T H E M A K E R S
The very talented Cape Town designer and sculptor Roché takes old bicycle inner tubes, painstakingly cleans them up, and along with her team of local township women crafters, creates her beautiful jewellery collection. An all-woman business run according to the principles of Fair Trade, Roché gives new life to the discarded, repurposing waste rubber that society has thrown away and forgotten about, creating high end, desirable jewellery. An innovative approach to up- and recycling.
“One can either see the ugly in something that is or one can notice the beauty in what it can become.”
Sibusiso Bless Mlangeni
Nutcase ACTS describes his industrial-style art as “A movement of Artist and Scientist.” Using common objects and tools, like zippers, sunglasses, nuts, bolts, wires, and metal rings, Nutcase ACTS builds unique accessories that express personal style while exploring the relationship between man and machine.
These are the words of the very groovy Bless Mlangeni. I came across his work via Laduma Ngxokolo, the designer of the MaXhosa by Laduma collection ... I'm a big fan.
Beloved Beadwork plays a part in continuing and developing the glass weaving tradition in South Africa. The company produces handmade complex, geometric, three-dimensional pieces of unusual jewelry. Their work features in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
This project was founded by Stella, who left the healthcare field to launch this group for parents of disabled children in Durban, South Africa who were unable to provide for their children, who, as a result, also suffered from severe malnutrition. There are currently 40 mothers working in the project. They work from their homes, meeting at the workshop once or twice a week to receive raw materials and receive payment for their completed designs. Their home-based work means they can look after their children and save money on transport.
AB Beadwork was founded in 1985 and is based in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, a region plagued with unemployment and poverty. Its workforce consists solely of rural women from the area, giving them a platform for their beadwork skills, as well as the means to support themselves and their families. The beaders take traditional Zulu beadwork to new levels by combining traditional skill with contemporary designs, to create jewellery and objects that delight the senses with their richness and colour. AB not only provides its employees with a stable income, but also gives them real input in the development of their business products. It offers numerous skills development programmes, giving their employees the opportunity to grow beyond the business. Every employee has a bank account into which their wages are paid and they have learnt the skills of how to manage their money.
Guidemore was born in Zimbabwe in 1973, one of 9 children. After school, he studied motor mechanics and qualified in 1996. He came to South Africa in 2003 as a refugee and immediately found employment with a basketry and tribal art business in Cape Town.
He was soon producing necklaces laden with new patterns, colours and designs of his own. Using recycled glass and old African trading beads, as well us up- and recycling the most unlikely elements, he quickly developed a name for unusual and intriguing designs, and is now running his own successful business.
Aretha is a creative soul that not only wanted to go green and decrease her carbon foot print, but also look great doing it. She started collecting used cans, and along with Sethu, her sister, designed a range of jewellery that was both unique and ecological. In their Cape Town based studio they take used aluminium can (or pop) tabs and crochet them together to make these contemporary and fun pieces of jewellery. Their business has been so successful that they have trained up women from local townships to help them produce their designs.
What I particularly like about their range is their use of squared-off tabs (as opposed to the more common rounded-off ones) which give a really graphic look to the finished pieces. These two sisters are full of energy and ideas and a great pleasure to work with.
Shauna is the owner of, and creative force behind a range of jewellery. All of their pieces are handmade in Durban, South Africa by a small team of previously unemployed women, who have been trained in the art of jewelry making and general business skills.
Her brand ethos is deeply rooted in the desire to create pieces which appeal to the contemporary woman wanting something unique and considered, that not everyone else is wearing.
“I never create a piece that I would not wear myself, which keeps me true to what I believe is good design and good workmanship.”
Africa!Ignite is a rural development agency established in 2004 that works across KwaZulu-Natal, focusing on women, youth and enterprise development. Their vision is a self-reliant Africa alight with energy and innovation, and their purpose is to create partnerships with rural and marginalised communities to facilitate their fair participation in the economy and society, and to help make their voices heard.
Sam Cross Art
I am a south african artist and live wherever the warm African sun is closest to the earth at any time of the year. Recycling is vital in keeping our environment clean and is for me,a creative way of turning typically south African brands into unique works of art. Affordable,lightweight and easy to post, these tokens of Africa make delightful gifts.
Be gentle on our earth.
BB designs unique handmade jewellery and home accessories. They are locally designed and assembled by a local skills development and income generation project just outside Cape Town. It is a limited edition range and no two pieces are identical.
Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust
HACT is a grassroots-based organisation that adopts a holistic and family-centric approach to tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Woza Moya (Come Spirit of Change in IsiZulu language) is a fair trade economic empowerment project and part of the HACT trust. They specialize in traditional, local, quality, and handmade South African crafts made by indigent people in the KwaZulu, Natal province.
Tanya designs and manufactures limited ranges of African and contemporary bead necklaces. The products are fresh, light and classic in feel. The current range is made predominantly with natural materials such as light wood, bone and horn beads, but also includes glass, wire and porcelain. It uses mostly neutral colours – black, white and natural wood.