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VaTsonga Embroidery and Ecobrick Furniture Win Big at Innibos National Craft Awards

If the winners of the Innibos National Craft Awards are anything to go by, the future of the handmade in SA is set to be bright.

Yolanda Winfield, Innibos National Craft Awards
Yolanda Winfield’s steel and wood Kudu Bull Skull took home third prize at the Innibos National Craft Awards.


The Innibos National Craft Awards are always a good place to take the measure of South Africa’s design industry, and if the 2019 entrants are anything to go by, the future of handmade local design is looking bright. With over 1200 entries from as far afield as rural Limpopo, the contributions offer a diverse insight into the way some of the country's most talented designers are embracing a return to making by hand. 


“Best Friend” #karossart @innibosnationalcraftawards

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Two projects shared first place this year. One half of the prize was awarded to the legendary Kaross organisation, a rural embroidery project in Limpopo’s Letsitele Valley.

The other winner is Clare Rothwell, who crafted an upcycled chair made of Ecobricks – plastic bottles stuffed with non-recyclable waste, upcycled corrugated cardboard and 500 sheets of newspaper. ‘This work was inspired by my surroundings, childhood memories of curling up with a book, and my passion for upcycling,’ Clare says.

The Kaross organisation is one of the country’s most inspiring craft initiatives, forming part of many talented craft groups thriving in Limpopo. Kaross' handembroidered designs have been exhibited around the world, and this is the second time the organisation has won first prize at the Innibos National Craft Awards. They took home the shared first prize this year for their 'Best Friend' tapestry. 

Anthony Shapiro and Linda Khuzwayo from Art in the Forest, a Cape Town-based ceramics centre, took second place with their set of contemporary Delft vases.

Pretoria-based boat builder Yolanda Winfield’s steel and wood Kudu Bull Skull took home third prize. 

Master craftsman Simon Masilo, who passed away in November last year, was awarded with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the development and preservation of indigenous earthenware techniques. Masilo was also honoured for his work at the Katlehong Art Centre in Gauteng, and its ideal of ‘removing youth from the streets’. On display at the awards event were a few of Masilo’s extraordinary burnished pieces, which still shine with the polish his unique skill brought to their clay surfaces. 

To see the rest of the finalists and learn more about the award, follow Innibos National Craft Awards on Facebook.