Monday, November 30, 2009

Cape Craft and Design Institute Workshop

- Shireen Reid & Vicky Raft -

How do you find a new way to present and transport a precious, fragile item such as an egg, using only cardboard and toothpicks? Or, why would a group of mature adults model a monster out of clay, pass it on to another person who can then either embellish or destroy it, depending on his or her mood?

This proved to be quite a challenge for us and the other 9 participants who attended the workshop held by the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) in “Die Dam” from 9 to 13 November. These residents of Merweville, Leeu-Gamka, Beaufort West, Klaarstroom and Prince Albert learnt from Mara Fleischer, the very enthusiastic presenter, that the main aim was to think “out of the box” and to see the potential in recycling materials.

Between drawing exercises done to train the eye to recognise negative and positive outlines, 3D models also had to be invented, which we found very difficult. Our wire craft session showed who was really talented as some models were very basic while others were quite impressive. Outlines were made of silhouette drawings and were very life-like.

We were also instructed to make an outfit for a 2010 soccer match as if our luggage had gone missing after our flight. This meant a visit to the recycling project to find enough material to make ourselves outfits. And what a surprise they turned out to be (although not all were suitable for a soccer match!) One hat was made out of a flower pot, decorated with ‘doppies’ and another hat was complete with horns and guitar to match. What a pity the Blue Bulls don’t play soccer! And then there were dresses fit for the Durban July and jewellery made from string or wire and bottle tops.

It was a very industrious and also great fun for all and also included a visit to the Fransie Pienaar Museum. Most participants had never been there before and were very impressed with the contents as well as with the Rooikamp exhibition which Lydia Barella explained to us. We then had to draw an interesting item that we had seen. Reinie Smit was also delighted to have some members join the Library as new ideas for crafts were much in demand.

The CCDI is intent on growing and promoting craft businesses as an economic sector in the Western Cape. It offers product support, workshops, market access advice, exhibitions and competitions. It is a Section 21 not-for-profit organisation and is funded by, amongst others, the National Department of Trade and Industry and the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

To learn more and also access the CCDI’s monthly newsletter, visit their website at

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