Creative Crafters of the Midlands
“Art takes nature as its model.” – Aristotle.
We recently ran a competition on the N3 Gateway social media platforms. We asked the question “What makes the Midlands Meander unique?“. That question received an overwhelming response. Most answers included the ‘spectacular beauty’ of the region, ‘incredible food’ and nearly every answer included the ‘arts and crafts’ created on the Midlands Meander.
We contacted the Midlands Meander Association to find out more about their Midlands Meander Emerging Artists/ Crafter Project, which began in 2014.
The Manager of the MMA explains: “The aim of the project was to pass down skills from one generation to the next through talented artists. Plus ensure the Arts and Crafts culture of the Midlands Meander remains active.” Judging by our followers responses, this is certainly the case!
The Midlands Meander Association supports emerging artists within its boundaries by hosting a training session once a month, where artists receive assistance on:
- Creating vision boards
- Goal setting
- The difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’
- Commitment to each other
- How to sell
Thanks to N3 Toll Concession funding, the MMA is able to provide these artists with the correct marketing channels. Such as through the Midlands Meander Association guide book, social media platforms and retail space.
We learn more about Themba Creations:
Themba Creations is a community based initiative supporting woman in Mooi River, who are grass mat weavers, seamstresses and crocheters.
“The project originated with a natural gathering occurring once a month at Themba Community Church in the rural Middelrus valley. As the mobile clinic visited the area, people from the vicinity, both young and old, would wait in line to be seen by the doctors and nurses. One day Mrs Mulambwa Gondwe, a volunteer worker from Zambia, saw an opportunity, to empower the people of the area. Gondwe started by teaching the ladies to crochet while they waited. The project then quickly became a weekly social and skills development initiative. Themba Creations was born.”
“In time, a supporting church from Doha was told about this initiative and raised money. Money bought sewing machines and helped the ladies in Middelrus. There was much jubilation when a group of ladies from Doha arrived, not only with machines, but also with the know how to impart new skills. Local sheshwe fabrics were bought and Mrs Gondwe then carried on to further train the ladies in the art of sewing and other skills.”
“Furthermore the project has grown to include 22 women. In addition to the crochet and sewing these ladies create paper beadwork as well. They take every opportunity to sell their products at markets and through connections to help supplement their family income.”
The Midlands Meander Association has set up a shop with the help of N3TC funding, at the Mandela Capture Site. Here you can find Themba Creations and other Emerging Artist & Crafter items for sale. This outlet has been open for a year and is a must for anyone visiting the area.
Next time you visit the Mandela Capture Site, come and visit the Gallery to purchase a gift for a friend or your home and support local business!