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Protea

A totally divine richly embellished necklace that I don’t really want to part with!  The colours flow between gorgeous rich pinks and pure black with accents of mossy green.  There’s an energy happening here that is very exciting.

It all began with a rather lovely wax fabric.  What do I mean by “lovely”?  Well you really get wax fabric and then you get wax fabric!  Although most are incredible and vibrant, some are quite ghastly!  This one is really classy and it determined what the piece would look like from day one.

The asymmetrical cluster of tandletons is composed of colours that speak to the original wax fabric.  This interplay carries through to the bead selection and there are some real beauts here.  Look out for a tiny porcelain bead, a gift from internationally known potter John Bauer.  If you’re interested in knowing more about John and his wonderful work do visit his facebook page.

What I think you’ll love about this necklace is the way you’ll see more interesting little details each time you look at it.

Occasionally prospective clients express a concerns about what they’ll be able to wear the pieces with.  But this is really NOT an issue and this piece is a perfect example.  I’ve tested against black, white, brown, purple an endless variations and combinations and it’s absolutely awesome.

Some useful information: Weight: 126g (about 1/4 of a block of butter) Length: 22cm measured from my collar bones – base of neck to the tip of the necklace.

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Lady Haleth Choker

This little Shweshwe, silk, wax fabric and linen choker is beautifully bejewelled with clusters of tiny beads, several of them vintage.

I also used a lot of metallic hand embroidery which has added to a glamorous feel.

The choker ties at the back with a velvet ribbon and can be adjusted to your preference.

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Coptic Cross Beaded Necklace (tangerine)

I’ve used some really fabulous beads on this necklace and a lovely large Coptic cross, handmade in Ethiopia.

The beads are probably made in India and resemble ancient Indus Valley beads.  In other words they are “new” beads made to look old.  But it has been done so successfully that they absolutely have a very special beauty.

I’ve interspersed them with bone beads from Nigeria, carved and uncarved, ebony discs and wooden beads.

The thong is made of plaited leather and the binding is hand dyed hemp cord.

The Coptic cross is large and a lovely example of the latticework employed in Ethiopia.  The cross itself is also full of symbolism that goes right back to ancient Egypt starting with the Ankh-  Egyptian hieroglyph for “life” or “breath of life”.

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My Story

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.