Cart

Press Enter / Return to begin your search.

Africa’s Basket Weavers Telling Stories Through Basketry

Basketry is a skill that has been practiced up and down the continent for centuries with examples from the past coveted by collectors around the world. Today Africa’s basket weavers are redefining the art form employing ingenious methods to create modern functional home decor products. But whilst these baskets may appear to be merely functional or decorative products, taking the time to look beyond the aesthetics reveals the layers of stories woven into the strands; as basketry -a skill traditionally practiced by women- carries within it the stories of livelihoods, of hopes, dreams, achievements, and sacrifices. Highlighting just how powerfully […]

Read More

Design: Contemporary South African Design at West Elm

West Elm/South African Design [Africa Inspired] West Elm is a Brooklyn based company whose Autumn 2012 collaboration collections see a range of products produced in collaboration with some of South Africa’s leading interior furniture and accessories designers and producers. A recent visit to South Africa saw the company work with fifteen South African design studios, and one from Swaziland to produce a range of products bursting with colour, shape, and texture that will brighten up the interior once the darker days set in. Some of the designers; Imiso, Gone Rural, John Vogel and Wola Nani, I have previously featured on African Daydreams; others are new discoveries […]

Read More

Lifestyle: Colourful Uniquely Patterned Swazi Candles

Swazi Candles [Swaziland / Eswatini] [Image credits: Swazi Candles] In the mountainous countryside of the Kingdom of Swaziland a disused cowshed in a former dairy was turned into a candlemaking workshop that has become a local tourist attraction as visitors from all over the world stop by to see the production process and an array of unique candles. Whether round or triangular, animal or fruit; carved or hand-painted Swazi Candles are created and finished by hand meaning no two will be the same. 

Read More

Basketry: Madwa Woven Traditions

Madwa [Madagascar / South Africa / Eswatini / Swaziland] [Image credits: Madwa] Inspired by craft and tradition, Madwa is an ethical craft project that works with small groups of master weavers in Madagascar and Swaziland to produce contemporary ranges of woven textiles, homeware, and accessories. Based in South Africa, Madwa harnesses the unique weaving skills of the different cultural groups and regions it works with, and is about the preservation of a unique craft heritage, assisting the weavers with product development and gaining access to international markets. 

Read More

Decor: Ngwenya Glass Blowers

Ngwenya Glass Blowers [Swaziland] [Image Credit: Crooked Stem Wine Glass – Ngwenya Glass] Ngwenya means ‘crocodile’ and encircled by mountains nestles the tiny kingdom of Swaziland, where one of the mountains is said to resemble a basking crocodile; at the summit of this mountain is an ancient iron ore mine that dates back 43 000 years and at the foot, you will find the Ngwenya Village, home to the Ngwenya Glass Blowers. I mentioned Ngwenya Glass in the recent post I did on the ‘Piece’ jewellery exhibition and although they created some of the beads that were used, Ngwenya Glass’s scope is […]

Read More

Lifestyle: Lanvin Dolls In Collaboration with Dessine L’Espoir 

Lanvin / Dessine L’Espoir [Eswatini / Swaziland] Lanvin, acknowledged as the longest-running couture fashion house, recently launched its first-ever girls wear collection, called ‘Lanvin Petite’ and to mark the occasion has commissioned a set of four very chic soft dolls. Designed by Elber Albaz, Lanvin’s celebrated Creative Director, the beautifully hand-embroidered and hand-stitched limited edition dolls were produced by a community of women in Swaziland and will be on sale from November. Lanvin, a fashion house with a rich heritage teamed up with charity Dessine L’Espoir (also known as Designing Hope) to create the pretty little dolls which are dressed in miniature versions of […]

Read More

Textiles: Coral Stephens Hand-Woven Textiles

Coral Stephens [Eswatini / Swaziland] In Northern Swaziland lies an area called Piggs Peak home to Coral Stephens; a close-knit community hand weaving high-quality luxurious textiles for home and personal use. Founded in 1949 by Coral Stephens the company produces carpets, rugs, blankets, curtains, shawls and fabrics woven from hand-spun mohair and silk; cotton, raffia and wool. Plain or textured designs are skillfully showcased through complimentary hand-dyed contemporary colour palettes like; ecru, fawn, brown, duck egg blue, olive and ruby.   

Read More

Design: Gone Rural Redefining African Basketry

Gone Rural [Swaziland] Picking up from where I left off on my exploration into the different types of basketry found across the continent; I find myself quite taken by these glass bowls edged with a swathe of woven basketry. Created by Swaziland-based, Gone Rural I came across them on the US-based Amaridian Gallery, and they give a fresh updated look to the traditional woven basket. The way the basket weaving techniques have been combined with recycled glass has produced some beautiful, unique looking bowls. [image credit: Gone Rural – Amaridian Gallery] A socially responsible business set up by the late Jenny Thorne in […]

Read More

Food & Drink: Dorah Sithole Cooking from Cape to Cairo

Dorah Sithole [South Africa] [Image source: Tafelberg] Whether it’s a steaming plate of sadza ne nyama, a beautifully fragranced lamb tagine, spicy jollof rice or a Sunday roast; our favourite foods done just the way we like it provide a source of comfort, reminding us of Mum’s good home cooking and with Mother’s Day in the UK a week away, on Sunday 3rd April what a good day as any to get together, cook up a feast and honour our Mothers as we make them feel extra, extra special. As the flurry of gift buying gets underway if your Mum […]

Read More

Lifestyle: An African Inspired Christmas

Tintsaba [Swaziland]     [Image credits: Tintsaba] Getting ready to trim the tree? Christmas is a time for giving, receiving and sharing so why not let your tree embody that sentiment with meaningful ornaments. Bypass the convenience of picking up mass-produced baubles from your highstreet store, instead find out what local artists, designers or community organisations have to offer, and it goes without saying your local church, school and community fairs are sources for uncovering some unique gems. With so much to chose from I have zoomed the spotlight on Tintsaba whose wonderfully simple yet stylish ornaments brought a smile to my face. […]

Read More