The Handmade Trust

The HANDMADE Trust is a non-profit organisation committed to inspiring and reconnecting the public with traditional South African handcraft and crafting knowledge while recognising, empowering and celebrating the individual crafters who still practice this art form. It focuses on the promotion of South African handcraft practices and the sustainable empowerment of traditional crafters. HANDMADE manages both a physical and digital public platform through which the public can learn about, interact with, and celebrate the art of South African handcrafting.

Creating a space for traditional handcraft

HANDMADE has a number of outreach programmes including providing classes (teaching things like basket weaving) and workshops. In March this year, HANDMADE partnered with members of the Gugulethu Collective Action Network (CAN)for a workshop focussing on how teaching traditional handcraft to the public might be a viable business in South Africa. The workshop covered topics like raw material management, opportunities that exist for handcraft teaching, the skills required to teach traditional handcraft, as well as the necessary business skills to try and start a business of this nature.

Workshop attendees were generally aware of these traditional skills but had never practised them before. Along with their teacher, a traditional crafter, they reflected on the importance of practising and honouring these heritage skills. They felt that the workshop was an enjoyable experience and the vision of starting a business around this was an exciting prospect. This is a developing initiative in which the Handmade Trust aims to form a collective that will undergo training with the vision of creating their own handcraft-teaching businesses. To learn more, visit the HANDMADE website.