front: story vases front: story vases
apr 11, 2011

front: story vases

detail of the bead work that is constructed around the form of a vase photo © editions in craft

for milan design week 2011, editions in craft present ‘story vases’ by swedish design collective front and the siyazama project – a collection of women working with traditional beadcraft – at spazio rossana orlandi. ‘story vases’ was conceived during a workshop held in durban, south africa in november 2010.

‘story vase’ by siyazama project + front made by kishwepi sitole + front made in south africa limited edition photo © anna lönnestan

the project tells the personal narratives of five women living in the remote villages of kwazulu-natal, south africa: beauty ndlovu, thokozani sibisi, kishwepi sitole, tholiwe sitole and lobolile ximba, who are all members of the siyazama project.

the project is recorded by front, each of the stories an individual documentation of the daily life of women in rural post-apartheid south africa, many of which are rarely told. together with each of the women, front selected excerpts of their conversations, each women developing their story into text through means of threading glass beads onto metal wires. bead craft is an important part of the zulu tradition, not only as a form of artistic expression, but also as a way of communicating. in the past, patterns and colors have been woven into beadwork, symbolizing emotions and ideas. with these vessels, the wires containing the beaded stories were constructed around vase-shaped moulds, in which glass was then blown by swedish master glassblower reino björk.

‘story vase’ by siyazama project + front made by kishwepi sitole + front made in south africa limited edition photo © anna lönnestan

the vision for the collaboration was to develop a new product together by sharing techniques and exchanging ideas and is an ongoing series, each piece available in a limited edition produced by editions in craft.

‘story vase’ by siyazama project + front made by lobolile ximba + front made in south africa limited edition photo © anna lönnestan

‘story vase’ by siyazama project + front from left to right: lobolile xima + front (blue), kishwepi sitole + front (red), beauty ndlovu + front (black) made in south africa limited edition photo © anna lönnestan

thando mchunu + tholiwe sitole photo © editions in craft

detail of the ‘stories’ being beaded photo © editions in craft

tholiwe sitole photo © editions in craft

charlotte von del lanken, tholiwe sitole + thando mchunu photo © editions in craft

detail photo © editions in craft

detail photo © editions in craft

the vases in process photo © editions in craft

beauty ndlovu + thokozani sibisi photo © editions in craft

charlotte von del lanken, thando mchunu + kishwepi sitole photo © editions in craft

up close look at the vases photo © editions in craft

kishwepi sitole photo © editions in craft

kishwepi sitole’s story: ‘the one bad thing my husband did was take another wife. he stays at my house some days, other days he is with his other wife. some days are not good and I am not satisfied, but other days I just don’t care and just let things be. I am not accepting it, but I didn’t have a choice.’

beauty ndlovu photo © editions in craft

beauty ndlovu’s story: ‘my name is beauty. when I was young I dreamt of my own house. I used to draw houses, and I wanted to become a decorator. now I have built my own house. I have three children, and I am happy to have taught them how to make beads, so they can make their own income.’

thokozani sibisi photo © editions in craft

thokaozani sibisi’s story: ‘my dream was to get married, have four children and to have a good house, a beautiful house with a veranda. my house is not as beautiful as I wanted it. I am married but it’s now how I thought because my husband does not work, so I do not have a veranda.’

lobolile ximba photo © editions in craft

lobolile ximba’s story: ‘I already made plans for the future. if I would get a life threatening illness, I have signed up for legal wise. this will give me legal advice, handicap coverage for my family and a wheel chair if necessary. my dream was to get married and to own a motorcar.’

sofia lagerkvist preparing the ‘story’ for glass blowing photo © editions in craft

a look at the beadwork and glass fused together photo © editions in craft

glass blower reino björk photo © editions in craft

a look at the glass and bead work coming together photo © editions in craft

swedish glassblower reino björk photo © editions in craft

a vase going into the furnace photo © editions in craft

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