In the city of Khenifra, Morocco, it is traditional for women to have artistic skills which can be used both for the needs of the family, and also to generate income if needed; one of these skills is button weaving, which is passed from generation to generation matrilineally. This woven button, called the djellaba, is […]
Niger’s Tuareg people are responsible for artwork of legendary beauty, including fine silver jewelry and textiles. Leather goods from the region are distinctive for their vibrant, rainbow range of colors, as well for the intricacy of their decoration. Master leatherworker Haoua Albaka tans, dyes and sews leather purses, wallets, belts, and other items using natural […]
The female artisans of Rwanda’s Gahaya Links arguably produce some of the most recognizable items at the International Folk Art Market. Finely woven baskets, adorned with geometric patterning and vibrant, naturally dyed colors, commingle with whimsical, tall-necked woven vessels with tapering tops that seem to sway gently to the left and right. Immediately appealing for […]
Extending on centuries of tradition, jewelry made by the Maasai women of Beads of Esiteti incorporates bright, colorful seed beads, locally purchased from Nairobi and arranged into any number of intricately designed, eye catching combinations.
Using earth-friendly practices, the 275 artisans—all female—of the Esiteti artisan collective use recycled string, which comes from discarded rice and flower […]
Edwin Konde and Laura Efron are the artistic duo behind Cape Town, South Africa-based collective African Eyes. Together, they are building an interdisciplinary, multi-traditional jewelry project. By merging Andean weaving traditions with indigenous South African methods, Efron and Konde create strikingly modern, beautifully wearable rope necklaces and other woven jewelry.
Konde learned traditional means of beading, […]
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 […]
Based in Durban, in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa, ZuluGal Retro was founded in 2014 by artist Nozipho Zulu. As both a creative and social enterprise, the group works with young people who have learning disabilities and special needs by equipping them with art and craft skills, enabling them to earn income from […]
Comprised of around 15 artisans, Botswana’sKuru Development Trust is an award-winning creative organization. The art collective was founded in a small village called D’Kar in the early 1990s, with an original goal that continues today: to provide regional African artists with opportunities for creative expression and financial stability.
For thousands of years, the Bushman artists of […]
Lhoucine is the president of the Azlag Dagger Cooperative and represents 70 artisans — the only group of its kind — following a tradition of handcrafted designs, which have been influenced by the mix of cultures in this North African kingdom. Dagger making has over 700 years of history with the Amazigh, or Berbers, in […]
Wide, whisper-soft scarves in radiant colors; multi-colored and energetically patterned placemats and wall hangings; and traditional African men’s shirts featuring vibrant radials achieved using hand-dyed methods. Artist Habibou Coulibaly offers an intriguingly wide and varied range of products.
In his workshop, Coulibaly uses bogolan, a traditional, regional dye made of tree leaves, bark, grains and clay. […]
Comprising hundreds of female artisans, many of them from rural areas of Swaziland, the Tintsaba Master Sisal Weavers collective was established in 1985 as a basket weaving business, with the purpose of holistically improving the lives of its weavers by providing them with stable income opportunities, education, and healthcare. To date, Tintsaba has engaged and […]
For 35 years, artisans at the Madagascar cooperative textile organization Tahiana Creation have been producing a range of natural-fiber products. Tahiana’s founder, Marie Alexandrine Rasoanantenaina, started out by selling handmade clothing door-to-door in the 1980s; Within a few years, she was able to hire additional women to help with sewing and embroidery. As Rasoanantenaina’s business […]
The artisans of eKhaya eKasi (“Home in the Hood”) make some of the most fanciful and eye-catching artwork imaginable, but the group has a serious mission: to preserve and develop bead and wire sculpture in South Africa. Most of the Khayelitsha-based collective’s members come from other provinces, imbuing the beaded items with a rich background […]
Sidai Maasai Women’s Organization, a charitable entity that works to embolden women through community development and education, involves over fifty women in gathering materials and crafting one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other items.
For millennia, members of Africa’s Maasai tribe have lived in Tanzania’s arid north-central region, where years of drought, overpopulation, and economic strain have […]
Master textile artisan Aïssata Namoko of Mali first learned to sew from her mother, an accomplished seamstress, as an eight-year-old child. As Namoko continued to fine-tune her abilities as an artist, she also received a degree in accounting at college, which led to a career at Mali’s National Center of Cooperatives. She returned full time […]
After decades of war, South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in 2011. The Roots Project employs more than 60 women from nearly twenty unique tribal groups that are known for their beaded jewelry and clothing. The colors, patterns, and styles of each piece are specific to the tribe of the maker. The organization markets […]
The Tuareg, a semi-nomadic people of North Africa, are world-renowned for their gorgeous sterling silver jewelry. Their culture continues to fascinate due to their elegant dress, exquisite ornamentation, refined speech, song, and dance. Master jeweler Moussa Albaka of Niger creates elegant silver jewelry, embellished with ebony, carnelian, and other natural elements. Resulting adornments are elegant […]
Evah’s ilala palm baskets are used for serving fruit and gathering eggs, as well as for decorative purposes. They are given as a traditional wedding gift, due to their fine beauty and practical uses. The designs used date back to the period of the Great Zimbabwe, the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, where the […]
Master jeweler Karim Oukin Ouksel was born in the tiny Berber village of Ath Yani, Algeria; though small, Ath Yani has a centuries-old status as a producer of highly skilled artisans, who make meticulously crafted, strikingly colorful jewelry. To this day it is hailed by many as the most important region for Kabyl Berber jewelry-making […]
South Africa is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse population, and complex history. It’s understandable that a region so diverse and culturally rich is home to master artists like Jabulile Nala. Female potters of southern Africa have been renowned for their skill for over 2,000 years. Nala carries on a rich tradition of pottery-making, […]
Northern Mali artist collective Timidwa was founded with the mission of bringing people together, united in common creative goals. Comprising 150 male and female artisans from different ethnicities and professions, Timidwa’s members not only support each other creatively – sharing skills and design techniques – but also socially.
Timidwa’s artisans are ethnically Tuareg, a traditionally nomadic […]
Meeri Tuya is a bead artist and project manager representing Maji Moto Maasai Women’s Project in the Maji Moto Village in Kenya. Widows in the village make a living through the sales of their beadwork, fashioned from colorful beads, leather, seeds, wires, and string, and combined in artful ways in a wide range of jewelry […]
Akeem Ayanniyi makes traditional West African drums that are played for ceremonial and religious functions. Drums are among some of the oldest village-to-village communication instruments in Nigeria. The instruments are handmade with local materials. Akeem uses from mahogany or teak, topped with cowhide, and laced with rope. The shape creates the sound of the drum. […]
In the Krobo region of Ghana, strands of colorful glass beads are worn in everyday life, as well as to celebrate special occasions. Ghanaian bead-maker Nomoda Ebenezer Djaba (known as “Cedi” for short), began designing powder glass beads at the tender age of seven; precocious, certainly, but also brave, since traditionally, Ghanaian bead artisans are […]
Representing artists from four distinct Namibian tribes, the Omba Arts Trust provides rural artisans with a means of income and creative expression. For decades, Namibia has been struck by economic hardship, and artmaking has long represented a crucial source of income for its inhabitants. Omba’s members produce a range of strikingly innovative—and astonishingly beautiful—items, from […]
For generations the Koumamas, a family of nomadic Tuareg silversmiths, traveled the Sahara selling their fine silver goods. In the 1970s, however, droughts caused the family to settle in Agadez, Niger, where master jeweler Elhadji Khoumama was born. A 25th generation silversmith, Elhadji continues the family’s long artistic tradition with his elegant, highly refined range […]
Angeline Bonisiwe Masuku resides in rural Hlabisa, in northern South Africa. She first learned to weave baskets at eight years old under the watchful eye of her aunt, a master weaver of traditional Zulu ilala baskets, which typically include subtle coloration and intricate design. Often, animals are ingeniously woven into the design of the basket, […]