Printmaking and performance art involving needlework were Colleen’s original passion but the dark nature of the work began to take it’s toll.She found herself increasingly drawn to colour and texture in fabric and stitching, and particularly the textures of African fabrics such as handwoven, hand dyed indigo cloth. While sourcing fabrics she discovered the beautiful handmade beads of Africa and so the journey of African Baroque began.
It is surprisingly difficult to find quality African Beads. The untimely passing of Mr Sillah, bead merchant from Gambia has made this even more difficult. But there are still some to be found in and around Cape Town at various African markets.
Colleen also uses lots of authentic, colourful South African Shweshwe fabric to make her jewellery. She combines this with raw silk, African waxprint and pure linen as well as found fabrics creating an eclectic culture mix that is powerful and texturally rich.
African Baroque is all about seeing perfection in imperfection; the marks left on a brass bead by the flight of a file, speckle of sand and grit creating a frosted texture in a glass bead. These visual clues provide an insight into the craftsmen and women in remote villages who still practise ancient techniques using humble tools to create the beads that we share with you.