WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES Russell Smith
The Wola Nani Craft project was created in response to the need for unemployed HIV-positive women to earn an income. Jaco Janse van Rensburg and Kay Abrahams of Envy&Co chatted to us about the hand-crafted papier- mâché bowls that make up the Mineral range, which comprises 12 original designs.
What inspired the collaboration with Wola Nani?
We are always looking for interesting items made locally from recycled materials. The Wola Nani product is biodegradable and every piece is signed by the crafter, both of which add layers of significance. It’s a wonderful antidote to the mass-produced items flooding the local decor scene.
Tell us about the pieces in the range?
We purposefully moved away from the curio aesthetic by creating a South African homeware collection for Wola Nani. The range is inspired by minerals, as we have an affinity with malachite stone. We also introduced new shapes to their existing catalogue.
What was the design process for the bowls?
We chose the theme and colours – malachite and various metals. Then we did sketches of the shapes and went through the process of prototyping with Zanele Ruth Zondi and her team of crafters at Wola Nani HQ in Observatory, Cape Town. We hope this will inspire other designers to create their own ranges.
What other plans do you have for the Envy Collection?
At the heart of the collection is our commitment to collaborating with local artists, artisans, crafters and brands. Currently, we are working on new ranges with Hertex, a jeweller, a fine-art photographer and an industrial designer. We are also introducing Envy Disco, a curated celebration of music, design and the culture of the ’80s. Watch this space!