Green Product: Wirework takes a contemporary twist on traditional crafts

The South African self-help project uses recycled materials to create functional art.

Wirework started in 1994, as an initiative that aims to motivate locals, mainly women, in the rural parts of KwaZulu-Natal. The self-help project encourages them to provide for themselves and their families by utilising their heritage and traditions in arts and crafts. Yet, through the use of alternative materials, they have put a contemporary twist on their work.

The idea arose out of their need for everyday objects such as baskets and vases, as well as having left over telephone cables at their disposal. They use copper wire, coloured insulated wire and glass beads to create their designs.

The project is run under fair trade conditions and hopes to be able to economically sustain local communities.  Each piece created is both artistic and functional, and is a testament to the skill and dexterity of its creators.

WireWork is one of the selections for Berlin’s Green Product Award. The international competition recognises innovative and sustainable products and services around the world.

Wireworks copper wire products

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