Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fibre with a Difference: South Africa HANDS purse

When I wrote about this purse, I didn't have the information that came with it. Yesterday while looking for a photograph I found the info sheet. The purse was made by women who are part of HANDS. Quoting from the brochure:
Based in the Western Cape, South Africa, HANDS is an independent empowerment and skills training program for women who are victims of rape, including women who are HIV positive. Since its inception in November 2002 HANDS has grown from a home based business employing two women into a studio-based business employing about 30 women referred through the Helderberg Rape Crisis Center in Somerset West. The increase in employment is directly linked to an ever increasing demand from both local and international markets for the exclusive beadwork products designed and produced at HANDS. At HANDS women are provided with a safe, nurturing and creative environment while acquiring a range of skills that will enable them to become crafters and entrepreneurs in their own right.
Hands creates exclusive designs using up to 50,000 glass beads. Their exquisite functional artworks are a crossover from traditional indigenous tribal beadwork to contemporary design -- fusing knitting, weaving, embroidery, crocheting and macramé techniques. Weeks of dedication and patience combine aestheticism and functionality in a way that blurs the traditional boundaries between art and craft.
I looked for a direct link to HANDS, but was unable to find one. Seven years have passed since my beloved surprised me with this purse and I wonder if the HANDS fibre cooperative will celebrate their tenth anniversary this November. The above purse is an example of the beauty that can come out of great difficulty.

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