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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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Meet Gloria

Gloria’s ancestor’s hail from Ireland and Mauritius, she chuckles: “My brother has red hair, black eyebrows and a blonde mustache”. She learned to knit at the age of six, with initial guidance from her mother, until she eventually flew solo and taught herself the rest. “…the first thing I made was a scarf for my brother, who would wear it proudly while it flapped behind him on his bicycle.” Gloria raised four children as a single mother, and would knit to make ends meet “…I fired my first husband when my youngest child was just six months old… I had to find ways to supplement my income, and so I would take on knitting commissions.”  With a BA in social...

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Meet Mavis

When trying to recall how old she was when she started crocheting Mavis crumples her eyebrows and giggles with a wry smile: “Now you are asking something… I suppose I was 10 or so”… after a long pause Mavis realizes that she has been crocheting for over half a century “…as long as that!” she lets out a surprised sigh. Mavis is the ultimate innovator at the Wearable Library Project. She courageously edits and adapts crochet patterns to accommodate her latest inspiration, or as Mavis puts it: “I improvise.” An accomplished designer and inspired collaborator, she might have a secret super power as no one else can work as fast as her. She brings us a new garment almost every...

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