Now that we’ve got through that Lockdown phase of throwing things out in order to create more space, it’s time to indulge in a few items that might bring us a spark of joy on a daily basis. Nothing does this better than a beautifully crafted object… except perhaps a beautifully crafted object made by a local artisanal designer. With the Constantia Gift Fair on the horizon (11 to 15 November 2020 at the Baxter Theatre Centre) we thought we’d take a look at a few of the creative locals who can be found there.
Candace di Talamo is a Cape Town-based illustrator who returned home from a stint in London’s film industry with a baby on her hip and a novel business idea. Kink Ink designs are characterised by an off-centre approach, “with a dash of dark humour and a large pinch of sass”. Candace creates all the artwork by hand, working with black ink and brushes, and incorporating other mixed media. The result is hand-drawn artworks with attitude. She finds beauty in imperfections and humour in everyday life. Her range of t-shirts, art prints, and gift cards is available year round via her website.
Many years ago a group of college friends would spend hours chatting over a pot of freshly brewed masala tea. Years later – over a pot of chai – it was realised that the playful idea of ‘Chaiwala’ had the potential to become a business. And so Queen of Chai was born. Run by husband and wife team, Hajirah and Taariq Dawray-Cassiem, Queen of Chai sells a whole range of teas from chai-infused Black, Lemongrass, Honeybush and Rooibos loose tea leaves to Golden Milk Latte and Masala Chai, made from pure spices. The website is bursting with comments from happy customers testifying to the medicinal benefits of the chai on conditions ranging from asthma to fibromyalgia, as well as the warm and friendly service offered. In addition to the beautifully packed teas, Queen of Chai also offers dried fruit and nuts, and even teapots and strainers.
The Sticker Studio – which began as a vinyl decal business, hence the name – now specialises in a range of gift and décor items. Owner Tammy Verne describes herself as “inspired daily by the beauty of our country. Surrounded by creativity and splendour it is easy to find new products and ideas all the time.” Her popular Advent Town is just such a product: a take on the traditional advent calendar, it is made up of a series of flatpack houses, inside each of which can be hidden a small gift – a chocolate, perhaps, or even a piece of jewellery. They can be hidden around the house, or clustered together to form a ‘village’ – thereby achieving both Christmas decor and a great game which will appeal to all ages. This unique twist on the classic Festive Season countdown is available at the Constantia Gift Fair and also online, with nationwide delivery and wholesale options.
Anneme Grobler is South Africa’s own Cath Kidston. Her funky designs, under the label Anna Me Handmade, make for great personal style statements, and they are also supremely practical: the PVC seal over the beautiful cotton fabrics ensures the items are long-lasting and easy to clean. The meticulously crafted range includes pencil bags, kids’ aprons, handbags, make-up bags, tablet sleeves, lunch bags, sunglass cases, laptop bags and more. From gorgeous flamingoes to geometric designs in stunning, vivid colours, these accessories are all available from the online shop in individual and wholesale orders.
Minki’s loyal Facebook following speaks for itself. This is a well-established range of cutlery and crockery – recently extended to include kitchen linen – combines an elegant style with with easy-to-clean practicality. Owner Mienkie Swiegers was inspired by the local craftwork she saw when travelling, recognising that often the crafters she saw in remote villages had no knowledge of or exposure to the modern world’s décor trends. This lent a freshness to their work, and an opportunity to Mienkie, who makes a point of ensuring her products are not only handmade, but ethically sourced and socially responsible. Originally distributed only at local markets, demand for Minki products has led to a nationwide representation in select shops and markets.
All of the above artisanal designers can be found at the Constantia Gift Fair, 11 to 15 November 2020 at the Baxter Theatre Centre, and year-round online.