Handmade showcase of craft creativity

Design Indaba Expo 2010: The Exhibition Collection of the CCDI for the year 2010 features the work of 82 leading crafters in 91 displays.

A curated collection of some of the brightest and best Western Cape craft products that stretch the boundaries of the handmade, promises to be a major draw card at this year’s Design Indaba Expo from 26 to 28 February.

The Exhibition Collection of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) for the year 2010 features the work of 82 leading crafters in 91 displays. Outstanding work of 23 of these craft producers has been handpicked for the New Notions section.

The consistently beautiful and interesting items range from a copper wire lamp, incorporating negative film strips, to a wire truck modelled on international long-haul vehicles. A tiered floral chandelier is made from recycled milk bottles, an ostrich eggshell has evolved into a cosmetics dispenser and driftwood tables have built-in, eco-friendly ethanol fire.

The Exhibition Collection was selected by a panel consisting of Rayda Becker, art curator, Parliament; Lianne Burton, former House and Leisure editor and now destination marketing manager of Cape Town Tourism; retailer Margie Robertson of Africa Nova; Karen Stewart, creative workshop facilitator, CCDI; Bart Vervekken, head of industrial design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology; and CCDI executive director Erica Elk, who chaired the panel.

This is the second CCDI Exhibition Collection – the first Collection was launched in 2009 in response to a stream of requests for quality craft items to display in prominent settings. It showcased the work of 63 Western Cape craft artists and received wide acclaim, while supporting the CCDI’s goal of ensuring regular exposure of fine handmade craft products – it was viewed by an estimated 140 000 people.

“The influence of the Exhibition Collections has been phenomenal,” said Elk. “They stimulate creativity and innovation among producers, offer a new exhibition platform for high quality handmade items, and help raise the profiles of designer makers.

“The 2010 exhibition includes some of South Africa’s finest handmade products and we’re proud to introduce them to both local and international visitors.”

The  Exhibition Collection works will be  on loan  for a year and will be showcased at a variety of  prestigious venues and exhibitions.  A glossy designer catalogue has been produced and it’s hoped that many who view the beautiful works will be encouraged to place orders for similar items.

The CCDI held its first craft exhibition in 2003 with World [piece], which acknowledged the wealth of craft production in the Western Cape. FREEDOM [ten years] in 2004 reflected many craft artists’ experiences of the first ten years of democracy.  Afro [Deco] 2005 explored Art Deco influences, while wire+plus [this is my Cape Town] 2007 gave 11 wire artists the space to explore monumental city art. Iconic [craft] 2007 celebrated the artistry of Western Cape craft icons and was followed by the first CCDI Exhibition Collection in 2009.

The CCDI, now in its tenth year, was set up in 2001 as a Section 21 company in a joint initiative by the Western Cape provincial government and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.   The CCDI’s vision is to help develop dynamic, creative, confident people producing innovative world-class handmade products that reflect the Western Cape and South Africa.

The CCDI has over 1350 craft enterprises on its database and supports these through marketing, exhibitions, newsletters, websites and specific projects with defined outcomes.  Nearly 60% of the enterprises were set up in, or after, 2002.  Each enterprise supports an average of six workers. Some 72% of the organisations are based in the City of Cape Town metropole, while the remaining 28% are established throughout the Province.