Peta Becker brings an offbeat sensibility and independent creative vision to the work produced by her handmade-goods label Projekt. Becker left South Africa as a fine art graduate in 1978 to live and work in London as a designer specialising in fashion packaging. In 2004, she returned home with the desire to start a design-based project that would provide skills and income for unemployed women in her area.
‘I wanted to do something with unemployed women in my area, which is Hout Bay, so I began Projekt,’ says Becker. ‘I decided to do something with crochet work because it is a handcraft that you can do anywhere. You don’t need a lot of machinery and it is fairly easy. You just need a little hook and a ball of yarn.’
Ten years later, 35 women work under her design direction, producing quirky crocheted products such as scarves, toys and décor items with a distinct African sensibility that are exported across the globe. The women work from home and produce components for the different designs that then get sewn together at the studio in Woodstock.
Becker believes that there is a crossover between craft and design and that all good craft has a large component of design. For her, the distinction is between whether the product is handmade or machine-made.
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