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A day with Renata

Renata Larroyd is a Brazilian photographer that sent us email introducing herself and presenting her work, we all instantly felt in love with her work. A week later, she flew from Johannesburg to Durban and she made time to visit two of our projects: Tafta, that serves Durban's elderly residents, where our knitting and crochet pieces are made and Sewing for Africa at Denis Hurley Centre, which supports migrant communities and the homeless in the city of Durban. We are all so in love with the pictures she beautifully capture of Durban and of us that we would like to share some of them with you.  To learn more about her work please visit rlarroyd.com  

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Gloria, our star, at "Beautiful News"

Meet Gloria here: https://www.beautifulnews.co.za/stories/gloria-cooper-smith   "Gloria Cooper-Smith has been knitting for nearly 70 years. As needles click together in her hands a new creation begins to take shape. This demands time and attention to detail. But the garment she is creating is just one part of her process. It will be sold along with a hand-written letter that captures the essence of Cooper-Smith’s difficult life. The 75-year-old’s words will be intimate, a story told in confidence to a recipient whose identity she does not know. Cooper-Smith is a member of The Wearable Library, a group of women who are combining fashion and storytelling. They come from different places, but have all overcome hardship during their lives. And some, like Cooper-Smith, are...

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About us

What if your dress, jacket, or cardigan could speak? What if they could tell you the stories they were privy to in the places they were made? What if you could ‘meet’ the people who made them? "Shwe: The Wearable Library” comes from the idea that knitting/crochet circles and sewing groups are typically social spaces for learning and story telling, usually populated by woman, but not exclusively so. The items made in these ‘circles’ are privy to many stories and ideas that most of us never get to hear. We want to open up a conversation with the extraordinary people who made them.  We live in a time when everything is disposable, and carries an almost weightless history, as if...

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Meet Edith

Edith is an adventurer and incredible story-teller. You can name an African country and she will tell you a captivating account of that land, that will involve some rare bird and a near scrape with death. Edith spent most of her life as a professional exotic bird trapper, supplying private aviaries and zoos in Europe. This meant she would spend weeks and weeks on end slashing through steamy jungles or crossing desolate dunes to find the bird she needed, she is something out of a Wilbur Smith novel. In the 1980s she found herself in the crossfire of the Angolan/South African boarder war while looking for multicoloured 'bee-eater' birds. To escape the bullets and other ammunition, she hid in the...

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Meet Marthie

When we first met Marthie she was a quiet mousey Tannie (Auntie), who was very shy. As the weeks moved on, and we worked more closely developing a friendship with her she began to blossom and reveal her generous, kind and delicate soul. She has a special gift and love for knitting. She creates richly complicated garments, and is endearingly modest of her exceptional talent. She has three sons, that include a pair of twins, with one living in Hong Kong. She proudly shared with us the photographs of her son's wedding recently, where she designed her own dress for the occasion. Her capacities stretch way beyond knitting. We are always delighted to see the incredible dresses she wears when...

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