Creative SA: Lulasclan

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we would like to introduce you to the bright and bold creations of Lulasclan Design Studio.

Lulasclan (or Lula’s Clan) is the brainchild of Bonolo Helen Chepape, a Joburg based creative with a background in graphic design. While the Lulasclan style is steeped in Bonolo’s African heritage, it undeniably has a strong contemporary appeal. Bonolo refers to this style as “New African” – a fresh and chic interpretation on African design.

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Following her passion, Bonolo left her 9-to-5 last November striking out on her own to form Lulasclan. It is in fact amazing to see how far she has come in such a short period of time – a true testament that one should heed Passion’s call.

Lulasclan recently launched a collection of scatter cushions titled “AfricanWest”. True to its name, the designs feature a marriage of African and “Western” motifs. Finding inspiration in the leaded lines of stained glass windows often found in Roman Cathedrals, Bonolo fused it with the shapes and bold colours of the traditional patterns of the Nguni people.

I am however even more taken with funky designs of Lulasclan’s previous scatter cushion range. The “Meet the Other Side of Africa” collection was launched end last year and features the retro-tastic portraits of several modish African ladies.

The series is said to celebrate Women. Each cushion, each woman, has her own inspiring story and individual characteristics. These scatters have a distinct Pop Art flavour and the use of pattern and colour within the designs are quite striking.

I think what appeals to me most about Lulasclan is the masterful fusion of two worlds and cultures. Her chic designs perfectly illustrate how African aesthetics can find a voice and global appeal in the contemporary design market.

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Be sure to check out the Lulasclan website to see their full range of scatters.

You can also follow Lulasclan on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

The Rare African Leprechaun

St. Patrick’s Day had us thinking – if the lucky Irish Leprechaun had an African cousin he would probably look like this…

Rose and I spotted this intricate green beaded suit at Design Indaba and we thought St. Pat’s would be the perfect time to share it with you.

But all jokes aside – this crafted masterpiece has an excellent story behind it. It’s handmade by over 40 women from several communities in the Valley of 1000 Hills region, and made up of over 400 individual patches of bead work. The suit was designed by international award-winning fashion designer, Terrence Bray, for Woza Moya an income-generating project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The project spanned eight weeks from conception to completion and was designed as a “go green” initiative. It also provided an income for the 40-odd women who worked on it.

The suit consists of a suit jacket, pants, a top hat and an isagila (a traditional Zulu walking stick). Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, it will hopefully provoke discussion around environmental issues. Words and phrases related to green issues are featured on the suit.

The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust assists men and women infected and affected by HIV/Aids, as well as families in need of an income. They support over 300 crafters with sustainable employment and provides training and a market for beautiful, handmade, contemporary crafts. Woza Moya is known for its beautiful beaded jewellery, which is sold around the world. It also produces a range of wirework, fabric-painted mats, conference bags, crochet and ceramic items. Woza Moya is the home of the Little Traveller, which is a tiny beaded doll that travels the world spreading a message of love and hope. By making Little Travellers, families have been fed, lights have been switched on, children have gone to school, water has poured out of taps and, most importantly, hope has been restored.”  – www.designindaba.com

If you can recall, Woza Moya is also responsible for last year’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa winner, The Dreams for Africa Chair, which symbolises hope and the importance of dreams, whilst also raising HIV/Aids awareness. On display at this year’s Design Indaba, the chair usually travels around South Africa and abroad.

A happy St. Paddy’s Day to you all!

Love, Rose and Marica x x

Images and  info via Design IndabaThe Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust