African Baroque Textile Jewels are created in my light-filled seaside studio near the very southernmost tip of Africa.
No two days are ever the same. A trip to the backstreets of Cape Town leads me to traders from far away lands where beautiful beads, masks and strange musical instruments are only some of the mystical discoveries I uncover. It is on these journeys that I am privileged to learn, firsthand, the stories of Africa the way they have always been shared, verbally, in long and gentle conversations. My interactions with African vendors continue to teach me so much about the humility, courage and resourcefulness of the people of this huge continent. And once I’m home there is the joy of unpacking, from crumpled packets, the strands of dusty beads threaded on soft cotton and bound by raffia. Textiles, hand woven, hand dyed, worn and yet more beautiful for being imperfect.
Opposites Do Attract
It was only after several years in the South African fine art world that I exchanged toxic materials, inky fingers and the smell of turpentine for the colour and texture of gorgeous African hand-made beads and textiles. It’s here, in a state of organised chaos, that I play with vivid colour and glorious natural materials.
It was late in 2015 that I began experimenting with opposites; Bogolanfini and raw silk, Ghanaian brass and vintage pearls. The process is slow, meditative and intuitive. The result an eclectic reinterpretation of African crafts strongly rooted in a passion and respect for the labour intensive traditional processes, many of which go back centuries. Through these creations I hope to help build respect for the men and women of Africa who create such beauty from simple materials such as grasses, mud, old pots, pans and discarded glassware.
Craft is the New Luxury
Each necklace, bag or bangle is a luxury item; a handmade wearable artwork that evolves slowly with careful thought going into the selection of each colour, bead, thread and stitch placement. These are rare treasures, each one offering you an antidote to the superficial mass production that forms the basis of our throwaway global society.
Each adornment is a functional yet nuanced reflection of my life as a white person in the great continent of Africa; my birthplace and the home that I love.