Mar 21, 2011
Zelda Harrison

Cape Town’s Creative Class

There’s nothing more inspiring–and encouraging!– than municipal support for creatives. Cape Town’s world class creative scene is a testimonial to the efforts of municipal leaders united with the arts/crafts communities. Read on for the latest event in the Western Cape of South Africa.

What do finely crocheted thread earrings, a protea constructed from the pages of a magazine, and a mosaic inspired by a sangoma all have in common?

These are some of the 47 objects that make up the Cape Craft & Design Institute’s annual Handmade Exhibition Collection. The Collection was derived through a careful selection from 215 entries.

The Handmade Collection, now in its third year, is the premier showcase of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI), a company set up ten years ago by the Province and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to promote and grow the craft and design sector.

The curator/jury was made up of various arts, culture and media institutions, who looked for superb design, excellent craftsmanship and a high degree of innovation, and according to CCDI’s Communications manager Marjorie Naidoo,“The focus is on only the very best handmade objects… (to) prove the relevance, creativity and collectability of handmade products…”

This year’s collection includes ceramicist Hennie Meyer and fabric designer Jane Solomon, who submitted a seat upholstered in a new fabric inspired by indigenous birds.  There were also newcomers such as City University student Amy Rusch who made a crown of wire, cotton thread and recycled magazine paper – “a playful object made for the fun of stitching.”

‘Up-cycling’ and ‘repurposing’ is  a common theme,  with winning entries including  a large bottle cap and wire basket by Phanny Mangwiro,  and a cupboard made from antique wooden printers’ trays by Kate Thompson of Recreate.

There is even an evening suit embroidered in African designs and decorated with appliquéd images, recycled buttons and plastic. The suit was inspired by traditional Cockney pearly kings and queens, whose clothes are decorated with thousands of pearl buttons.  This was designed by Monique Fagan, produced by Lizzie Ngwenya of the Leechar Homes craft collective in Heideveld, with skills training funded by the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG).

Some of the more unusual items include a mechanical head made from stoneware clay “showing the cogs expressing the inner workings of the mind”, according to its creator Alessandro Pappada, and colourful skulls embroidered on felt by Nicola de Jager of Calavera.

Lifestyle and homeware items include finely wrought jewellery, lighting, a merino wool and mohair handbag (Bridget Henderson of cowgirlblues), ceramics, exquisite hand-blown vases (Elizabeth Lacey of Red Hot Glass), a large wirework chair by Willard Musarurwa and maple and rosewood candlesticks by Bert Parker.

To learn more about the handmade and arts/crafts industry in the Western Cape visit the CCDI website, or contact Judy Bryant Communications.

A slideshow of some of the key creations on show at DI2011 Expo is available at this link.

XCD would like to thank the following for photography and information:

The Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI)
75 Harrington Street, East City, Cape Town
Phone: +27 21 461 1488 – Fax: +27 21 460 1228

Judy Bryant 083 2867168 ¦

Marjorie Naidoo
CCDI Communications Manager
(021) 4611 488

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