Craft Editions in South Africa

The main purpose of our trips to South Africa were to meet a number of makers whose work will feature in our first curated Edition to launch in May 2017. On both trips we met with Design Afrika and Barrydale Weavers to plan for items to be made and shipped to the UK. On our visit in November we met with John Newdigate and were fortunate to arrive in time to see his highly successful exhibition “Square Clouds in a High Sky” at Ebony, Franschhoek. We came home from both trips full of inspiration and plans for Craft Editions. Here are 5 makers that we met on our visits, some of whom appear in the Featured Makers section on the Craft Editions website.

John Newdigate - John Newdigate was one of the first Featured Makers on Craft Editions back in April 2016. Based in Swellendam in the Western Cape, John works in semi-porcelain and makes exquisite bowls, platters and pot-bellied jars and vases. All his work is meticulously made by hand – either slip cast, or for larger pieces, built with coils. John’s painterly finish is inspired by his surroundings and the abundant nature of the Western Cape. Find out more about John Newdigate here.

Design Afrika - Design Afrika is based in Cape Town and was established in 1995 by Binky Newman. Binky’s passion for baskets has taken her to many remote parts of Africa, working with rural communities to nurture their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Design Afrika and their many talented makers produce a range of beautiful hand woven baskets and associated products. On our visit we met with Binky, Giulietta and Dean and spend lots of time chatting and exploring the wonderful range of baskets in their showroom. Find out more about Design Afrika here.

Art in the Forest - Located in a stunning setting looking over Cape Town, Art in the Forest is a thriving centre for ceramic excellence and offers ceramic classes, ceramic education, exhibitions and workshops. Managed and run by well-known ceramicist Anthony Shapiro, the heart of Art in the Forest is their community clay programmes, which give local children access to creativity and self-expression. 100% of profits from Art in the Forest are invested into the Light from Africa Foundation, which stimulates job creation and sponsorship of artists, often from disadvantaged backgrounds. Find out more about Art in the Forest here.

Barrydale Weavers - While in South Africa Craft Editions met with Carol Morris at Barrydale Weavers, located on Route 62, just outside Barrydale in the Klein Karoo. Carol and Tivane Mavuma, a master weaver, train local people to weave by hand and produce a wonderful range of homewares including towels, bedspreads and rugs. The items they produce have a distinctive look as they are woven by hand from natural unbleached cotton. The business has grown rapidly since its start in 2007 and now employs over 17 people. Find out more about Barrydale Weavers here.

Zanele Seweni - Zanele is largely self-taught and makes a range of items that she sews in her home in Masakhane, just outside Gansbaai in the Western Cape. She is originally from the Eastern Cape and came to Gansbaai with her husband some years ago in search of opportunity. We met Zanele through local friends and we are delighted to be working with Zanele and Seweni Creations in designing and making some pieces for our first Craft Editions range launching in 2017.

Thanks to all the makers for meeting with Craft Editions and sharing their stories.

All images by Craft Editions and courtesy of John Newdigate and Barrydale Weavers.

SouthBrian Waring