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Ardmore has given local artists the opportunity they needed to create artworks based on meanings within the context of their culture, and which have become much sought-after ‘modern collectibles’. Each Ardmore creation could only have come from this unique setting: the villages of the Natal Midlands, where traditions run deep but innovation is prized as people seek new ways to express their identities, hopes and dreams.
Limited edition sofas
Ardmore designers have given us two signature limited edition sofas with the launch of the Sabie fabric collection 2020, both in a rich and sensual velvet. The sofa’s border base and arms are framed with Zulu beaded striped-like pattern, so often seen in the bases of Ardmore Ceramic works. These sofas transport us into a magical animal and botanical fantasy.
Marigold is the name of a co-operative specialising in loomed beadwork, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Established in 1992, Marigold produced items such as headbands, chokers, purses and belts for local and overseas markets. Since 2011 they have collaborated with Bulawayo-born, Johannesburg-based artist Joni Brenner to make hand-loomed necklaces.
© Joni Brenner | Marigold Beadwork co-operative, Bulawayo
© Photography: Liz Whitter
The signature Marigold necklace is a pure continuous loop of loomed beadwork. Whilst the basic structure or format remains unchanged there is an explorative creativity that unfolds within this established parameter – to date more than 65 shifts to the design have evolved. The technical skill has a flawless quality not always associated with handwork and combines with constant design variation within the maintained form of the endless loop. Both these qualities define the product. Marigold necklaces are made in a range of lengths and widths, each taking anything from a full day to a full week to complete. The extra-length variety gives options for wearing them wrapped twice around the neck.
Marigold necklaces are available directly from Joni Brenner, by appointment through the Marigold Beads website, and in select stores:
Imbali Visual Literacy Project
Founded in 1988, the Imbali Visual Literacy Project is a non-profit organisation that provides crafts training and skills development to youth and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to job creation and economic empowerment for these individuals. In addition, we facilitate the ongoing development of creative arts teachers, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
The Imbali shop
The Imbali shop, inside Museum Africa, is a permanent showcase of the handmade products created by students, graduates and facilitators of Imbali. The range is ever-changing, as Imbali adapts and innovates with the changing times and seasons. The unexpectedness, beauty and charm of the products result from a combination of the unique vision of each individual crafter, their inventiveness in the use of colours and patterns and their ability to re-think conventions in design – all combined with a rigorous insistence on quality craftsmanship.
Keiskamma Art Project
The Keiskamma Art Project is known for communicating the realities of life with HIV/AIDS, the effects of poverty, but also the effects of hope, in our communities. We have succeeded in this through our monumental embroidered artworks like the Keiskamma Altarpiece and Keiskamma Guernica, priceless pieces in the South African art canon, archiving Eastern Cape rural collective memory and preserving oral history. Now, in this, our twentieth year, our voice must rise again.
Photographs © Keiskamma Trust
COVID-19 resilience fundraiser
The Keiskamma Art Project has started a COVID-19 resilience fundraiser to create a 7.5 metre-long tapestry with the aim of providing 55 families with an income through work over six months. Woven through the months of the year, beginning in February 2020, will be the symbolism of birds of Keiskamma, changing seasons and poetic Xhosa imagery shared with us by Marguerite Poland. Two ‘prophets’, old and new, Nongqawuse and Ramaphosa stand at its beginning, bringing change through their visions to the health of the region. Now our branches must spread to reach embroiderers in nearby villages as the designs on the hessian take shape.