Africa is the birthplace of mankind and human civilization. It is also where people first made and wore jewelry. Perforated pea-sized snail shells used as beads dating back 75,000 years have been unearthed in a cave, named Blombos, on the coast of South Africa.
Humans need to journey. Feet moving left, right in a tandem stride balances the mind and invigorates the body. Ever since our ancestors stood upright and gazed over the tall grass of the African savannahs we have looked for places of safety, watering holes, shady outcrops and verdant hills of fruit-laden trees as destinations of succor and sustenance. We have created pathways of trodden grass, beaten bushes, and downed trees and, as we turned into purposeful communities, we
Photo Credit: Lee Howell (Beautiful Masaai images available at http://www.leehowellphotography.com).
Kindred Kouture is Sister Source’s “Made in Africa” garment initiative that creatively combines African regional textiles. West African Wax Print is combined with East African Masaai Shuka cloth to create capes and shawls that astonish the eye with complementary color and texture. These wraps are wearable art — casually matched with blue jeans or formally, with ball gowns, the pieces make a strong and memorable fashion statement.
The Design: A necklace crafted with a rainbow of multiple colored strands of Czechoslovakian glass seed beads accented at the base with gold bars
Johannesburg, the city of gold, is the largest metropolis in the “rainbow nation” that is South Africa. Born on grassy highlands, at 1753 meters above sea level, with few natural water sources, and a climate unfriendly to vegetation, it had little above ground to attract human settlement. But the treasure of gold below ground, revealed to the world in 1886, triggered a rush of migrants from all over the planet to exploit the area’s mineral riches. Laborers from within the country and from surrounding states, streamed into the area to man the gold mines and create the foundation of the colorful cultural amalgamation that became fully expressed after the end of South Africa’s oppressive Apartheid era (1948-1991). The symbol of the rainbow, taken from the story of Noah and the flood, was adopted to represent South Africa’s hope for a bright future after a period of tragedy.
Egoli (ɛˈɡəʊlɪ ) noun. a local name for Johannesburg. origin. Zulu
At its industrial height, the Johannesburg area produced 40% of the world’s gold. Presently the city is home to over 4 million people. This piece of wearable art celebrates a history of tragedy and triumph that is the legacy of this fascinating city.
For a few weeks, up until the US presidential election, I worked with beadwork designer Pretty Nkogatsi on a piece of wearable art celebrating the forthcoming inauguration of the first female president of the US. On November 8th, our hopes were shattered by the election of a person who promotes hatred, misogyny, and division. A time of anticipated celebration turned into a time for deep reflection. So instead of joyfully announcing SISTER SOURCE CELEBRATES Hillary Clinton, Our initiative took a pensive turn and became SISTER SOURCE REFLECTS on Unity in Diversity. Fortunately, the design lent itself to the reinterpretation.