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The Indalo Project revolutionises local craft industry

The Indalo Project is calling this week’s first range launch “a revolution in the South African craft industry.” Open to the public from the 19th of January, the Indalo Gallery will showcase the work of prominent designers and local artists.

By pairing successful designers with artists all over the city, the Indalo Project has created and sustained jobs for over 500 beneficiaries.

Indalo’s 2010 five designers were paired with twelve local craft organizations to produce new products and ideas. For designer and Indalo Project mastermind, Patrick Schofield, finding qualified and talented designers was as simple as asking some friends to join him.

“If you want to change a nation, work with a woman,” Schofield said. “Through craft, we can make a massive difference with the power of women.”

The designers and crafters were brought together to create pieces that will advance local South African craft, and include names like architect and interior designer, Nicci Drzewicki, design company owner, Mireille van Reenen, co-founder of a Zimbabwe-based social enterprise, Hayley Rodgersdesign, illustrator, Sharon Boonzaaier and Streetwires designer, Michaela Howse.

“Designers get so stuck in their spaces, but when we add new fresh blood, they are able to mix it up and come up with something completely different,” Schofield said. Artists within this project may be highly qualified in their craft, but are unable to sell their products on the street. Indalo Project allows them an opportunity to work and see revenue from that work.

By introducing a high end design into the market, Schofield said a higher price is perceived and artist and designer are given more power.

The range covers a variety of items from lampshades and memory sticks, to felt and car-shaped wire radios made, protea-shaped candle holders and ostrich-leather mouse pads.

Meaning creation in Xhosa, the Indalo Project is a design and marketing company that works with currently successful organizations to increase their revenue and enhance their environmental sustainability.

Indalo is the creation of Schofield, founder of  Streetwires—the first company to produce the now familiar ‘wire sheep’, and such pieces as the Nelson Mandela Sculpture featured in the Rhodes Mandela Square in Cape Town—and is funded through an in kind partnership with Streetwires, and a sizable grant from the Shared Growth Challenge Fund.

Although it is a for-profit  organization, Schofield said its focus is on reinvesting in development.

“The beauty of the Indalo network is that artists and designers have a majority share in the marketing agency, so they ensure the money goes where they want it to,” Schofield said.

Over the past year of collaboration, designing and planning, Indalo will count 600 direct and indirect beneficiaries and provide 85 fulltime jobs to others.

Tuesday night marked the end of development and the launch of Indalo’s marketing stage. Purchases can be made on Indalo’s website, and until 28 February, they are offering a 15 percent discount on all orders.

For Schofield, the launch of the Indalo Project will mean empowerment to local designers, and a prosperous future for artists.

“If we can create a sustainable product in the world, then I think we’ve done a fantastic thing.”

Visit the Indalo Gallery on the second floor of the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in De Waterkant, Cape Town. The gallery is open from 19 January, 09h00 to 18h00 daily.
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