Blog Archives


By Marica

Another emerging creative stand that caught our eye at this year’s Indaba was that of product designer Blaire Rieger. The story of Milkshed, a recently registered NPO, is a heart-warming one. They transform reclaimed wood, offcuts, and other discarded potential-filled materials into cute and quirky handcrafted furniture pieces. The best part – 100% of the profits (that’s right, every single cent) is pumped back into the local community where it is most needed.

“We care about the integrity of wood. A lot. Our products are all made from reclaimed wood and when each piece arrives at the Milkshed its destiny is determined not by some preplanned design but rather by its unique character. This process is facilitated by the ‘The Wood Whisperer’ aka Douglas who transforms the wood into something truly special whether it be a lamp that will cast light onto the pages of an avid reader’s book or a young’uns very first little tricycle.” ~ Blaire Rieger, Milkshed

One of these community projects includes the renovation of a school on the outskirts of Cathcart. Previously little more than a ramshackle outbuilding, Milkshed facilitated the school’s simplistic and inexpensive transformation. Found objects such as an old shopping trolley and some shipping pallets, now with the help of a fresh lick of bright paint and some TLC, became quirky toy storage and colourful upholstered activity/sleeping mats. Like Blair says on their Facebook page: “It’s about small changes that have a big impact. And that’s our story.

To find out more about Milkshed please visit their website: here, or the Facebook page: here.

Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid

Image via

{Tricycle Image via}

Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)
Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)
{All other images via Milkshed}

Farah Hernandez Porcelain

By Marica

Last week we featured surface designer Tersia Fisher as one of our favourite Emerging Creatives at this year’s Design Indaba Expo. As promised, this week we’ll introduce you to yet another creative, a talented lady by the name of Farah Hernandez

Farah creates fresh individual porcelain pieces that range from paper-thin vases and framed porcelain “canvases” to dainty planters – both wall-mounted and hanging.

Her current range allows her to combine her three loves: illustration, porcelain, and plants. Staying true to the ancient porcelain tradition of “cobalt on white” (first popularized in 14th century China), her latest collection makes use of blue as its only colour. Farah however keeps the overall style contemporary – clean and elegant lines with light-hearted whimsy illustration.

She uses the white porcelain as a blank canvas, emphasising the hand-painted designs – intricate patterns that evolve into simplistic shapes and landscapes. Farah paints the illustrations free hand, without pre-sketching the designs. This “doodling” as she calls it, insures that each item is an unique once-off – she has no desire to become a mass-producer.

To find out more about Farah and her beautiful creations please visit her website: here, or her Facebook page: here.

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (1)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (6)
{Images via Farah Hernandez}

Design Indaba 2013: Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

Time flashes past so unbelievably fast. It’s almost scary. Right now, to me, it feels as if Design Indaba 2013 was long ago, instead of a month ago. Nevertheless, we are keeping it alive going forward into 2013.

Marica has done her take on the Expo (read it: here) and now it is my turn to deliver my take on the Expo, highlighting a few exhibitors that stood out for me. Saying this though, by no means diminishes any of the other many exhibitors. They were without exception, totally amazing in the presentation of their products.

Design Indaba buzzes with the most astounding creative energy and the exhibition stands are mind blowing in their presentation. I really mean that!! The only pity is that due to the immense number of visitors to the stands, being able to get up close and appreciate all the details of not only the exhibition, but the product, is not always possible. And also there is that unspoken pressure brought on by the same crowds (plus the achy back and feet)… to move on. These very same missed details, I was only able to fully appreciate when I sat down to work through all the images taken by our fab photographer, Laurita Smal. All that is left to say is: KUDOS TO EACH CREATIVE EXHIBITOR. YOU GUYS ROCK AND MAKE OUR CHESTS SWELL WITH PRIDE.

{click images to enlarge & start slideshow}

THE ABSA GALLERY:  Artists participating in the exhibition were previous top 100 Absa L’Atelier entrants – some have travelled abroad whilst others have only travelled locally. They then presented the story of their travels in a small vintage suitcase, of which there were so many to view. The one that I could relate to was this one in the image – it obviously tells of an interesting time spent in Italy. So clever.

ELIZABETH GALLOWAY ACADEMY OF FASHION DESIGN:  Their exhibition stand took the form of a ‘laboratory’. It was fascinating, enchanting and captivating. They had a good few design workstations going on, with fashion designers working on their craft, surrounded by the tools of their trade. I went back to their exhibition twice, just to ensure that the gorgeous little details I missed first time round, had another opportunity to be enjoyed. This exhibition spoke absolute volumes about creative flair and inspired leadership in the world of fashion design. I just could not get enough of it.

DEEP SHEEP:  Their product – WOOL. Oh man – they had dem sheep dressed up as various and intriguing characters. Quirky always catches my eye and allows my imagination to develop my own story. I simply admire the ingenious imagination of marketing their product using these sheep characters. I was so sorely tempted to walk away with one of dem sheep. Particularly the gal flaunting her pearl necklace.

CERAMISTS  –  SANDY GODWIN  &  STOOR In fact, as I sit here and write, I realise that the work of these two ceramists were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Amazing what one is attracted to and shows that there is indeed a market of each. Sandy Godwin’s work is ‘laced’ (excuse the pun) with detailed intricacies – lace work that is delicately classy and yet totally sassy. My mind could not cope with how much time such fine work must take. Stoor’s work on the other hand is more rustic and rugged looking. It is has that kinda ‘handsome rugby player’ appeal to it. When applying that antiqued, worn look to a piece of furniture, the technique requires one to rub on some dark finish to make it look as if the grit & dust has become lodged in the little nooks. Stoor has created that same type of finish to their ceramic pieces.  So cool in my books.

LI EDELKOORT’S AFRICANA MEMPHIS:  I am such an admirer of Li Edelkoort and this year she curated an exhibition stand (sponsored by Woolworths). Short of repeating the same ole adjectives to find expression, I have to say, it was something else. It was so different and one had to take time out to read about the arising Neo Memphis trend that Li is opening up to public awareness, to be able to appreciate the vibrancy of the display. The added value was that Africana flavour and style. If I say ‘totem’ what comes to your mind? American Indian totem poles?? Think again – the totem in this case is all about the layering of textures, colours, styles, designs and more.

Did you attend the Design Indaba 2013 Expo? If you did what or who was it that caught your eye? And if you didn’t manage to get there this year, do all you can to get there in 2014.  Sell whatever of your stuff to get a ticket, but just get there.  You will be blown away by the level of creativity that is to be found in South Africa.

%d bloggers like this: