“All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners… Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing… not moving toward excellence.” – Dennis Waitley
On 17 and 18 July the craft centre team of Londolozi gathered at midday for a workshop run by Sandi Collins of the Marmalade Cat and Cat Walk Boutique in Darling in the Western Cape. Sandi was asked to give a talk to the team and advise them on some ideas for their businesses – the Women’s Co-Op run their own vegetable gardens that they use to supply food to the Londolozi Kitchen and even make crafts that are sold in the Shangaan village where guests are invited to explore the homes and stories and learn more about the traditions of the Shangaan culture.
The ladies including one gentleman gathered in the Londolozi Ubuntu Hut where Sandi began her talk along with a demonstration of some of her own ideas that she shared showing how simple ideas can be incredibly effective when making crafts. She also emphasized how each craft should have its maker’s signature style to represent their work. “If you have your own style and love what you have made, the purchaser will pick up on this and may love it as much as you do.” Sandi gathered the team together around a table and showed them a beetle pattern that can be created using off cuts of all sorts of materials and patterns. The result was a fun and unique print that was sewn on material and used to cover a notebook that Sandi had brought with her. “It can be used on a sunglass case, an iPad or on a cushion cover – the possibilities for using this pattern are endless,” she said.
The workshop began on Friday and it was very clear that the group attending were incredibly enthusiastic about their new task. Each person set about cutting out material to fit the cover of the book and started working on their beetles – carefully selecting the patterns that they liked most. Sandi informed the group that colours did not have to match but rather suggested mixing and matching to make the beetle distinctive on the plainer background. The lovely Gogo Mo and Jess MacLarty who organised the workshop were on hand to assist and even took part in making their own creations while Sandi went around helping and giving advice to the talented sewers.
The Women’s Co-Op loved the workshop so much that they continued their course the next day – coincidentally on Mandela Day. I’m sure Mandela who had a great passion for empowering women would have been very pleased to see these bright ladies learning new skills. It was heartening to see everyone working together and enjoying the course – even more so was that they knew that this was their first attempt and there would be a few errors to contend with. Each person learnt from this and ended up with a near-perfect beetle design on their next try.
Ironing, flattening, precise cutting, bright materials, patterns and concentration as well as lots of smiles and laughter filled the table. It was a fun two-days with a lot of learning and we are looking forward to see how these beetles come along. Will we be seeing their works of art in the Craft Centre soon? We will keep you updated on the team’s progress.
Thank you to Sandi for coming to give this workshop and to Gogo Mo and Jess for organising it – I am sure we will see many more wonderful ideas emerging in the near future.
Written by: Kate Collins, Londolozi Blog Editor