|Rustic Wire & BeadsAngelika Eichas and Petra Naruses of Rustic Wire & Beads are the creative minds and capable hands behind a range of wired, beaded and recycled light-fittings, lampshades, mobiles and decorative craft for the home. The arrangement of their handmade items at their stall in the Namibia Craft Centre has the unique ability to draw the visitor’s eyes upwards into a suspended wonderland of wire, wire-mesh and beaded light-fittings.
Using recycled material such as beer-bottle tops, caps, wire, bicycle tyres, makalani shells and old zinc sheets, the women create a remarkable variety of popular lampshades and light-fittings within the parametres of an urbanised aesthetic. The combination of hauntingly rural Namibian colour palettes (earthy browns, rusty reds, sandy tans) with bright, shiny wire-mesh or dulled rusted wire, lend an almost otherworldly ‘look and feel’ to the mobiles and light-fittings made by Eichas and Naruses.
Rustic Wire & Beads opened for business in 2005. Angelika and Petra created a unique space for themselves on the Namibian decor landscape by seizing the opportunity to offer something different to the discerning decorator. Their handmade light-fittings in particular are versatile enough to stylishly compliment the interiors of both chic urban and elegant, rural farmsteads. The natural materials (acacia seeds, old zinc, pips, pods, and driftwood) combined in the making of the mobiles, a welcome addition to any home, betray an artistically-oriented patterned organisation makers Angelika and Petra share.
A visit to Rustic Wire & Beads is compulsory for the homemaker or decorator who seeks uniquely Namibian yet sophisticated handmade accessories for the home.
|Saras Sara'nSara Basson hails from the historically significant settlement of Leonardville in the Omaheke Region, eastern Namibia. Leonardville was the traditional settlement of the Khauas Nama (Red Nation), a sub-tribe of the Orlam Nama, and is still called by its original name, ‘Naosanabis’, by many of its older inhabitants. In 1894, German colonial troops expelled the Khauas Nama from Leonardville and the entire group perished in the Herero/Namaqua genocide of 1904-1905. After the genocide, the Witbooi Orlam Nama tribe settled at Naosanabis (Leonardville), where their descendants live to this day.
Sara Basson, from Leonardville, is a producer of what is traditionally known as ‘handicraft’, meaning she produces useful, decorative pieces made completely by hand or using only the simplest of tools. The ‘simple tools’ Basson uses to make a variety of bead-edged doilies, dolls, placemats and mobiles are none other than her hands.
Sara has been a crafter for as long as she can remember and was taught to sew by her mother, making her a second generation crafter. Her entire life and its course to date were shaped by her skills at crafting. After moving to Windhoek, in search of a better life, higher income and confident of her skills, she initially sold her handicraft on the streets of the city before applying successfully for a stall at the Namibia Craft Centre.
The curios and crafts at her stall reflect Sara Basson’s distinctly rural Namibian aesthetics, almost untouched by her urban surroundings, an innate sense of proportion (small dolls) and an endearing quest for quality as shown by the pristine finishing on her handmade doilies and knitted items.
Sara vows to continue producing handmade craft until the day she dies because she enjoys working with her hands. Each item at Saras Sara'n, the name of her stall, is handmade and entirely unique; the singular manifestation of one brave, rural Namibian woman’s inspiration.
|Tikoloshe AfrikaThe roots of mopane and ironwood trees in Namibia are shaped into generous, graceful curves and low, sensual loops by the ebbs and flows of soil, nature and nutrition, richly coloured in a pleasing variety of earthy browns.
In 1990, Paul Goldbach met Paulo Cashinga, a Namibian from Kavango, and a skilled woodcarver, on a farm near Tsumeb, north-central Namibia. Goldbach had first encountered root carving in South America but when he witnessed Cashinga carve a springbok from a root, he was so impressed he asked Cashinga to join him in a business venture.
Paul managed the business and Paulo Cashinga carved an amazing and fascinating variety of Namibian fauna from the roots of mopane and ironwood trees. The success of the venture was almost instantaneous. One of Paulo’s sculptures won a prize in a national art competition, giving the duo the required confidence to invest in and expand Tikoloshe Afrika.
It takes a trained eye and a lively imagination to visualise in dry tree roots the entwined necks of giraffes, a nibbling porcupine, a grazing tortoise or a herd of elephants but that is exactly what Goldbach and Cashinga have managed to do. Unfortunately, the talented Paulo Cashinga passed away in 2012 but his signature pieces of root carved sculptures continue to grace tables and homes, locally and internationally.
Paul Goldbach has a new team of four woodcarvers namely Johannes Lirunga, Lino Kativa, Lipenda Kambinda and Ndingi Ndumba who share the late Paulo Cashinga’s skill and ability to visualise in and carve from gnarled, curved roots, quirky, almost animated Namibian wild animals which always enthral and fascinate visitors to the Namibia Craft Centre and at the Tikoloshe Afrika stall.
For truly unique, unforgettable and 100% natural sculptures, shaped by the deft hands of instinctive and intuitive Namibian woodcarvers using the natural curves and swerves of tree roots, a visit to the Tikoloshe Afrika stall is compulsory.
|Kasupi Trading The Kasupi Trading stall at the Namibia Craft Centre is well-lit, white-floored, and invitingly friendly, presenting itself with as much style as a small, high-end boutique...with a difference. TomKat exclusively retails ‘fashionable’ clothing, jewellery, accessories and selected apparel, like T-shirts, made or decorated by hand, almost entirely originating from the Namibian craft sector.
Kathleen Newton, owner of Kasupi Trading, is proud the stall retails fashionable Namibian-made products and aims to create a niche market for these items. Co-owner of the stall, Josephine Kasupi, is from a previously disadvantaged community and has worked at Kasupi Tarding for thirteen years. She enjoys providing visitors with an experience of a ‘different’ kind of craft stall.
Kasupi Trading offers the adventurous fashionista leather bags made from flawless springbok and zebra hides which follow the design and pattern of mainstream handbags, clutches and shoulder-slings, and are conventional enough to take to the office. Kasupi Trading's famous leather springbok fur sandals are often available in fashionable colours like bright greens and screaming pinks. The jewellery at the stall is conventionally mounted and set with surprising and intriguing combinations of semi-precious stones. Unique hand-painted aprons, T-shirts and hats in pastel colours provide for a softer, more creative tone to the stall, causing visitors to pause and ponder in the selection process.
If you are in search of crafty items produced by COSDEF (Community Skills Development Foundation) in Namibia, look no further than the TomKat stall; a Namibian craft outlet with the look and feel of a boutique.
|Work Of Our HandsIn 2003, American citizen Valerie Garber started a non-profit organisation for disadvantaged women in Five Rand, an informal settlement of Okahandja, Namibia. The project has a literal name, ‘Work of Our Hands’ and currently supports 13 women with skills transfer and craft education.
The women participating in the project are taught a variety of skills, among others the art of making jewellery using wire and beads. Intriguingly, the women ‘crochet’ the wire to make attractive, durable adornments for the wrist and the neckline, in colours and hues compatible with the most sophisticated of wardrobes. The ceramic beads used to make the jewellery, earrings in particular, are also handmade by the women of the project making every item a unique piece of art.
The women of ‘Work of Our Hands’ take pride in their creations; every handmade item of jewellery is accompanied by the name and a small photograph of its creator, adding dimension to the beautiful items, handmade by disadvantaged women in informal settlements in Namibia. Recently, women from the Nau Aib informal settlement, Okahandja, also joined the ‘Work of Our Hands’ project.
The income generated by sales of the jewellery benefits the disadvantaged women involved in the project, to purchase raw materials, pay rents and sales staff. The ultimate purpose of the project however, is to create and nurture independent entrepreneurs.