The Handmade's Tale

Honouring the beauty of the handmade.

The beauty and tactility of the handmade is singular. The Design Indaba Emerging Creatives featured here might express their creative visions broadly and via different disciplines, but they all harness the skill of handicraft, and its inimitable effect.

 Clement Maenetja

Clement Maenetja’s current body of work, Memories, is an exploration of nostalgia. He was the third overall winner of the Innibos National Craft Awards for this project. Through his preferred medium of clay, he recreates the forms of enamel plates, which he uses as canvases to paint his memories. He recalls his early life, and a shift from an urban to a rural area informs his work. His most successful project to date has been creating artworks for tourists and visitors to the national zoo. 

Babalo Chuma Rozani

Jewellery designer Babalo Chuma Rozani created his Xhosa Bling brand after studying Xhosa anthropology. By using glass beads instead of conventional precious stones he honours the original purpose of Xhosa beadwork as a form of communication and takes traditional techniques and pushes them to a new place. Rozani’s range not only embodies Xhosa culture, but serves as a vehicle for commenting on social issues – he explores notions of status as expressed through contemporary ‘bling’ jewellery.  

Nicola Roberston

Nicola Robertson’s fashion accessories brand Zulu Mien focuses on beaded jewellery with the aim of expressing African elegance and dignity. The pieces feature designs that are handcrafted by rural women who, through their handicraft, keep generations of skill alive. Each Zulu Mien product is carefully created from glass beads and sterling silver, using ancient Nguni methods. This connects the wearer to a multi-layered African communication system, where the bead patterns serve as symbolic markers. 

Brad Jackson

Multimedia artist Brad Jacksonis currently combining his passion for filmmaking and furniture design in The Studio Sessions. This short video series focuses on bespoke furniture made entirely from found objects – most of the materials were rescued off roadsides or salvaged from building sites. The idea behind the project was to showcase a cost-effective and eco-conscious approach to bespoke design. 

Sit up and take note!

19 Chairs brings together the creative clout of 19 big-name designers, including #DI speakers Tom Dixon, Morag Myerscough, and Es Devlin. They have reimagined simple wooden chairs into collector’s pieces that are currently on auction. Bid online in aid of charity! 

It’s Life, but not as we know it…

#DI Speaker Olafur Eliasson’s immersive new work breaks down the barriers between art and life. 

SA designers take on New York

  • 2018 Most Beautiful Object in South Africa nominee Igshaan Adams’ current show in New York pays tribute to his community and heritage via a 10-piece collection.
  • Former Design Indaba Emerging Creative Andile Dyalvane’s iThonga, showing at Friedman Benda, celebrates his Xhosa culture via symbolic ceramic seating.