If you haven’t had me chew your ear off about it yet, I collaborate with an NGO called Sinikiwe in Daveton, South Africa, teaching tailoring to the peeps there. (I blogged it here if you’re keen). The tailoring classes evolved out of bead work that Sister Desere (who started the NGO) heads up.
Of course my busy hands couldn’t help but try (unsuccessfully) to pick up this ancient skill, and behold (above) my disastrous best accomplishment yet! I can bead a pattern if someone is sitting with me saying ‘two white, one blue. Now three white, two blue. Etc.’ but on my ace a straight band is as far as I can go…oh how they laugh at me at Sinikiwe ;)
GQ Style (South Africa) has done a few editorials recently with beaded menswear accessories, and I can barely take my eyes of these shoots!
I swear people would undress for me in the streets if I walked around with these Lesotho hats and beaded visors!!!! (sorry about the pic quality btw).
I’ve gotten myself some pieces made, and although this necklace and bracelet set is really considered a woman’s fashion item, It always gets me noticed wherever I go. Below is me and Alexia, a sales assistant at my most loved fabric shop, who obviously has GREAT taste in beaded necklaces ;)
It’s gotten me thinking though. Not just about how fabulous beads are, but also about what new and awesome kinds of accessories might be possible as with the GQ shoots. Below Antonio and I messed around with my simple rectangular “masterpiece” to see what we could come up with:
I can’t believe that our awesome South African beadwork isn’t more widely available, but I think one restraint to overcome is that beadwork is seen as a curio rather than an artwork.
Unfortunately turning out a decent accessory (that isn’t attached with pins, with one end so ugly it could make babies cry) is beyond my skill level, or time constraints rights now. As I continue to collaborate with Sinikiwe I hope to be able to offer some of these works done by the real professionals.
But in the meantime we’ll continue enjoying ourselves (in the rare moments that we aren’t sewing) in fantasies of colourfull new shapes and concepts made by the hands of South African artisans.
Let me know what you think about my accessory ideas in the comments, I’m interested to know if this is something people would actually go for.
PS. We’re doing a killer promotion on denim alterations this Winter, don’t miss out!!
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