Meet The Designers
ABDULAI ISSAKA M.
Abdulai is a Ghanaian designer based in Accra. He has been in the beads industry for over 15 years. He learnt the craft from his brother, and he, in turn, learned it from his father. It's a family business. He got his inspiration from his grandfather. He uses glass beads, recycled beads, Krobo beads, Diquida beads from Mali, terracotta beads from Burkina Faso, Senegalese beads, brass and many more.
Belinda is the designer behind Hololo, a home-based local design and production, uniquely South African contemporary jewellery.
Their styling is bright and bold and inspired by traditional African adornment.
They say that it is always fun to make up their ranges and collections with a variety of interesting materials – they use glass, resin, wood, horn, bone, semi-precious stone, pure brass and plated and painted metals, stainless steel, rubber, leather, faux suede, elastic, cotton cord and African fabrics.
Bili Beadwear is a South African social, entrepreneurial enterprise based in the township of Wallacedene, near Cape Town. The all women team seek to tackle social and economic challenges experienced in this country including economic inclusion, gender equality, women empowerment and cultural preservation. The business does so through artisanal, handcrafted items produced by previously disadvantaged women. In support of sustainable fashion/design, Bili Beadwear backs the labour resource that is abundantly available enabling a platform for creativity to manifest and world-class beading skills to be applied. The team of women, mainly mothers engage their artistic talents and impeccable work ethic to weave into the fabric of South African society, by sustaining their homes and educating their children.
Rwanda / Kenya
Chantal is a designer from Rwanda now based in Kenya. She produces handmade necklaces, earrings and bracelets primarily using cotton print fabric (African prints). She also uses paper mache for her candy necklaces. She is involved in different projects such as homeware, fabric toy-making and wedding dresses.
ERIC KITHAMI M.
Eric is a Kenyan designer based in Nairobi.
He was inspired to start this path by his dad, who was dealing with African beads. Back in those days, theydecided to name their business Gaturu Creations. In those days, he would follow his dada everywhere. His dad bought three pliers, a round notch, a flat notch and a cutter notch and Eric started making earrings and keychains. After sometime he found himself so deep in beads, in a way he couldn't part away from them. Now beads are everything for him. In his workshop they use recycled old beads, recycled bones and horns materials most in making of earrings and necklaces. They like to use locally sourced materials. to promote the young generation and to preserve our culture.
Refentse "Fentse" Mokale is a jewellery designer and multidisciplinary creative from South Africa. Her company, Marabou Essentials is a passion fueled brand of accessories and artwork that connects the authenticity of traditional African aesthetics with a modern urban flair.
The whole idea of Marabou Essentials came from Fentse’s desire to make a mark in the world through the use of her creativity. Her accessories are individual pieces celebrating art, her travels, the connection she makes with the people as well as her love for design and storytelling.
The jewellery and accessories are inspired by the African aesthetic- the prominence of daring colours, the distinctiveness of bold prints and the inventiveness of intricate patterns. The designs are influenced by clean lines, bold shapes and elegant curves with the use of mostly rope, fabric and painted wood.
After losing his mother and brother in a tragic car accident, Leeroy vowed to continue their legacy in design. Using beads as a medium, he started making portraits and now his focus is on jewellery.
His earrings are made by carefully pasting every bead individually on a wooden background using a particular type of gel, then polished for the shiny effect.
His patient character makes it look easy, but it takes serious concentration and precision to execute. His motivation is to honour and expand the potential of his mother.
Mano is the designer behind Muzeum Creations' brand, started in the 1980s and was born in South Africa to Greek parents.
In the 1950's Mano's father started the lucky packet factory in South Africa.
Parents used the lucky packet to cajole, plead and bribe children to bend to their will.
"If you are good, you will get a lucky packet" was a ubiquitous phrase in our childhoods.
The lucky packet was filled with an array of sweets and cheap plastic novelties that never seemed to stop amusing us. Mano was brought up in this desirable world. The influence of the sweets, charms and trinkets is evident in his jewellery today, each piece being a sumptuous feast of wearable art.
"Proud of my Art orientated and positive minded family". Nabisenke Teddy is a recycling, interactive Jewellery and installation Artist who finds Visual Art as an appropriate language to tickle the audience about prevailing issues using a variety of materials, especially both organic and inorganic to send out her message. She executes her works of art as a means to dialogue and establishes relationships between different fields of society. Keeping in mind that the executed works communicate both to her and to the public.
Nabisenke's choice of subject matter normally comes from the public's five senses (hear, smell, see, feel, taste) of human nature. This has enabled her to turn thoughts into tangible creations. "I always work quietly but my consciousness becomes the best manager".
PHATHI K. HLONGWANE
Phathi is the designer behind Inkaturah, a contemporary
African jewellery brand which creates unique pieces for the woman who loves art and wants to make a statement.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe she moved to South Africa for tertiary education when she was 18. She finished her masters in Architecture in 2012 and began designing jewellery a few years later after making a transition into the fashion industry.
Her designs have a unique aesthetic because she combined the skills she has gained in architecture with her interest in fashion and the different materials she has seen growing up. She predominantly works with wood which is combined with beads, brass, print fabric and copper. She has spent a lot of time experimenting with the way in which these can be either
layered together or manipulated to create interesting shapes and combinations. She maintains diversity in each collection by either telling a narrative through the pieces, or
exploring new materials and techniques.