Saturday Snapshots #8

BeadedGiraffe 

Beaded giraffe, 2007

South Africans have a long tradition of beadwork, with some tribes like the amaZulu even using beads to compose love-letters.  Enterprising craftsmen have adapted their craft to modern times and these days it is possible to buy a range of non-traditional beaded items, often from roadside vendors in cities.  You can often watch these guys sitting by the roadside with their wire, their beads and a set of pliers, creating beaded works of art seemingly out of nothing.  There is still jewellery on offer, but there are also bowls, boxes, lampshades, mobiles and a mind-boggling menagerie of beaded animals, from beautiful traditional Nguni cattle and life-sized sheep, to elephants, lizards and this 40cm tall giraffe that lives in my lounge in London.

This is part of a series of non-food photographs that will be published every Saturday on CookSister. Click here for a full list of photographs previously featured.  If you like this or any other photo featured in Saturday Snapshots, why not buy it as a greeting card or print in my RedBubble store?

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  1. says

    How beautiful…this is just like the tribals make in India. They sit on tiny roadside shops with piles of beads & wire making absolute magic. The giraffe is really pretty! Hope you had fun in Chicago!

  2. says

    We need a giraffe to keep our wire chameleons company! We bought them three years ago, and they are still the children’s favourite toys. Indestructible too.

  3. says

    Beautiful giraffe!!
    Hope you have great time in Chicago… never been there… from US I know only Miami but maybe one day…
    I just remember that once you post comment about hate for beetroot and thought I should give you this link, I made it once from Ruth recipe and since that day we make it all the time, even my Michael that use to hate beetroot, now eat it even in sandwich if anything is left over the dinner. I just wake up and I see him eating it in his cheese sandwich 😉
    Roasted Carrots and Beets in Balsamic Maple Syrup
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=1901

  4. says

    Beautiful giraffe!!
    Hope you have great time in Chicago… never been there… from US I know only Miami but maybe one day…
    I just remember that once you post comment about hate for beetroot and thought I should give you this link, I made it once from Ruth recipe and since that day we make it all the time, even my Michael that use to hate beetroot, now eat it even in sandwich if anything is left over the dinner. I just wake up and I see him eating it in his cheese sandwich 😉
    Roasted Carrots and Beets in Balsamic Maple Syrup
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=1901

  5. says

    Beautiful giraffe!!
    Hope you have great time in Chicago… never been there… from US I know only Miami but maybe one day…
    I just remember that once you post comment about hate for beetroot and thought I should give you this link, I made it once from Ruth recipe and since that day we make it all the time, even my Michael that use to hate beetroot, now eat it even in sandwich if anything is left over the dinner. I just wake up and I see him eating it in his cheese sandwich 😉
    Roasted Carrots and Beets in Balsamic Maple Syrup
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=1901

  6. says

    What really amazes me is how little money these guys want for their art. Some of them are truly amazing. I can’t stand it when people try to bargain them down, knowing that if it were in a shop it would cost 10 times more.

  7. says

    hi Jeanne. in answer to your comment, yes it is a huge shame, so many old buildings are getting trashed and we also think it is probably deliberate. I don’t need to tell you who owns it now! we don’t use the wordpress site any more, it was created when we were having problems with blogger, but that is fixed now so the new posts are all on the blogger site.

  8. says

    Rosemary: You’re right in the sense that we should support these people who are trying to be productive and make a living, but when it comes to bargaining, it’s a different matter. Back in January, we visited Cape Town and went to Greenmarket Square to buy some curios for overseas friends. Since living in the UK for a few years my accent might have changed, since they didn’t recognise me as a South African and an Afrikaans one at that. Thinking I’m a foreigner, they charged me exorbitant prices and were clearly taking the piss. For the first time in my life I bargained and after asking around at a few different dealers the price dropped dramatically on the same type of item. However, there seems to be an agreed price between them all, sort of the minimum price they will accept.
    The products they produce are amazing and I have an undying love for wooden carvings. Who knows what these people would have become if they had the opportunity?!?