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September 4, 2019
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September 4, 2019

Award-winning Bespoke Furniture straight from the Eastern Cape!

Khanyi Designs is an upcycling craft enterprise that strives to create attractive items of furniture by upcycling waste, and employing local talent. It is owned and run by Bathurst resident, Clare Rothwell, who won joint first prize in the prestigious Innibos National Craft Awards for her newspaper, cardboard and ecobrick chair, named Nest, in June this year.

We spoke to her about her business.

WHAT IS THE MISSION OF KHANYI DESIGNS?

Khanyi Designs’ mission is two-fold: It aims to improve the lives of people in local communities by providing opportunities for creativity, training and employment, and reducing waste. Through my designs I aim to demonstrate the beauty of upcycled craft.

I’m excited about the potential market of these products in response to current trends of waste reduction, as well as growing international interest in handmade African products.

WHY IS UPCYCLING SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I upcycle because of how harmful many types of packaging are to the environment, particularly to our food and water sources, and I relish the design challenge of making functional and beautiful furniture and décor from waste.

I’m committed to disposing of most of my plastic and non-recyclable waste through making ecobricks, which are incorporated into our upcycled furniture. Many people in South Africa have limited or no access to recycling facilities. Ecobricking offers significant benefits to people and the environment.

TELL US ABOUT THE SKILLS TRAINING YOU HAVE DONE.

I have taught groups in Bathurst, Port Alfred and Makhanda (Grahamstown). I have found it rewarding to see how enthusiastic students at Enkuthazweni Skills Centre in Port Alfred are about making upcycled lamps, bowls and furniture, and how their achievements have boosted their self-esteem. Some have already supplemented their disability grants by selling their own creations and four students demonstrated newspaper weaving at the 2019 Bathurst Agricultural Show.

Younger students at Enkuthazweni Special Needs School have enjoyed making ecostools by covering ecobricks with wildly-painted cardboard and papier-mâché.

CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING JOINT FIRST PLACE IN THE INNIBOS NATIONAL CRAFT AWARDS. WHAT ARE KHANYI DESIGNS’ NEXT STEPS?

Some of my Enkuthazweni students are now also my suppliers. I’ve designed an ecostool that they can produce. I’m in the process of recruiting local suppliers of upcycled frames for the Nest chair, which will be available from my Hello Pretty online store from the end of September.

Selected Khanyi Designs products are already available online at:
www.hellopretty.co.za/khanyi-designs, as well as at the Eastern Cape Craft Collection store in Nahoon, East London.

Contact us on : [email protected] or find us on Facebook, Khanyi Designs, for more information