Medium of Work:
Artist Siphiwe Bulose was born in the rural KwaNyuswa region of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where he continues to live. He originally learned his highly technical, beaded basketry style from his uncle. Today, Bulose creates intricate, utterly unique wire-and-glass bead baskets and accessories using recycled or discarded copper wire.
Designs and shapes are inspired by traditional Zulu grass baskets that were used to store food and grain, while other motifs have their origins in Zulu beadwork. To construct these baskets, Bulose uses discarded copper wire, glass beads, and various molds. First, he cuts the wire, then starts forming it around the mold, moving from the top downwards, and adding beads to form pre-determined designs. Baskets and bowls come in a variety of sizes and contain myriad colors, sometimes in complementary schemes and sometimes in vibrantly contrasting tones; often, they are adorned with energetic, zig-zagging stripes. Additionally, Bulose makes items like napkin rings, placemats, and coasters.
For millennia, Africa’s Zulu communities have made and used baskets of woven ilia palm. Inspired by the beauty of old designs and traditions, Bulose reimagines ancient styles in a new, contemporary medium. Over the years, Bulose has been recognized for his uniquely constructed baskets. He has traveled regionally and internationally to participate in assorted exhibitions. Now, Bulose is passing his skills to young people within his community, and has plans to start an artist collective.