Upcycled craft products were for sale at WTM Africa last week in the trade show’s Sustainability Village. I am nearly always amazed by what can be achieved with imagination and some craft skills.
Godfrey Dambuleni, of Mixed Ideaz specialised in wire art combined with recycled metal.
Not ideal for tourists to carry home, but authentic pieces of craft art and South Africa has a large domestic self-drive tourism market.
Carey Moran at E’Yako Green ,“Think green. Think local. Think us”, makes bags, folders, pemcil cases, book covers and more from upcycled billboards and telephone wire baskets.
Made in South Africa by small producers means that buying these products aids in job creation, building capacity and skills, and advancing sustainability.
Intricately handwoven by Zulu crafters, this urban version of the grass and palm bowls originally made “back home” were started by Zulu men working on the mines, where they discovered off-cuts of plastic-covered telephone wire in a myriad of bright colours, ideally suited to weaving, being fine and flexible and the night watchmen would weave their knobkerries with this wire. This medium of using telephone wire was then used to make the bowls which are worked with great precision into intricate and colourful patterns. The Zulu Telephone Wire work has gained International fame and has become very collectable. These are called soft wire telephone bowls and are very functional for foodstuffs as they are also washable. Adorning your walls with them is a great option too.
Original T-bag Designs empowers members of the Imizamo Yethu community by turning discarded teabags into works of art.
“The T-Bag Designs workshop in Hout Bay employs people from the local townships to create a range of functional art decorated with recycled teabags. These unique products turn tea bags into works of art. We strive to create sustainable arts and crafts for homeware and decor. The tea bags are dried, emptied, ironed then painted by the T-Bag Designs artists – each one is unique. These miniature works of art are then applied to stationery, wooden trays, coasters, fabric items, wall decor and more. This enterprise provides employment and stability for a group of previously disadvantaged people in the Hout Bay area.”
Joanna Orr of Head On Design crafts iconic wildlife sculptures from sustainable and recycled materials, bamboo, birch ply and recycled board, which are flat-packed.
All these craft products are available for online purchase – check them out, and if you are in South Africa, seek them out. They make great branded corporate gifts.