Thursday, August 28, 2014

Studio Tour : Beloved Beadworks

Beloved Beadworks is more than just a name for those working there.  It's a way of life.  And setting the precedent is founder and designer Anna Richerby, who is dedicated to the education, preservation and innovation of beadwork- an artform close to her heart.  Their studio in Cape Town, South Africa is a charismatic little spot, aptly situated within a community of other creative crafters.  We were fortunate enough to catch up with Anna for a look inside this current workspace, and to get a sneak peek into a brand new one.

Q. Where is your studio located?

A. We have a lovely space at Montebello Design Centre, in the leafy suburb of Newlands, Cape Town; just down the road from the President’s house! It is a beautiful former farmhouse, surrounded by trees.

Q. What made you choose this space?

A. Montebello was a place I visited years before I ever worked there. When my parents came to visit me from the UK, going to Montebello together for tea was a real treat. Montebello was the perfect place to begin our business. At first we had two little converted shipping containers, and graduated three years later to a brick and mortar space! There’s a great sense of community at the centre, which was given to the purpose of housing artists by philanthropist Cecil Michaelis, and is run as a not-for-profit trust.

Q. What does the look of your studio say about you?

A. To be honest, it says that we’re very busy! We are sixteen people in our business. Laurence, Mado and myself work mostly from our studio and shop (which are in the same room), and the rest of our team work from home, bringing their completed work in once a week and fetching new beads. So there are frequently five of us in the space, all working away on finishing off a piece of beadwork, chatting with customers, and doing administrative tasks. There’s a great atmosphere of joking, gentle teasing, and encouragement between us, and we enjoy working together, even in such a small space! A couple of our colleagues bring children to work with them, and we really love their energy.

Current Studio

New Studio

Q. Use 3 words to describe it.

A. Busy, happy, light.

Q. What does a typical work day look like for you?

A. I had some time off recently, and in that time my colleagues Laurence and Mado took over a lot of my day-to-day work, so typical work days have been very different since I got back! I used to spend most of the day at the studio, but now I’m able to spend more time working from home, and planning our new shop.

We have an amazing organisation in Cape Town called the Cape Craft and Design Institute, who offer support, training, and industry organisation in our sector. Quite often, my day will begin with a training session or meeting there. Then I’ll dash off to a supplier to pick up pretty materials, stop in at a local deli to get lunch, and head to our studio space and shop to see how my colleagues are getting on. This city is so beautiful; the views as I’m dashing around town never get old. Often I’ll take a parcel of finished goodies off to the post office in the afternoon so they can be couriered to a customer.  A couple of hours of admin, and then I’ll spend some time playing with new beads and designs if I can. Today, I went to a local second hand shop, and found a wonderful old draftsman’s desk that, with a lick of paint, will be the perfect thing for our new shop space at the V&A Waterfront in Central Cape Town.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I’m working on our new catalogue for 2015. I’m really excited. My mum brought me a great selection of sample beads from a shop in the UK (though the beads are made in Japan), and I’m busy combining them in different ways to see what might look particularly lovely. I’m also busy designing our new shop space.

Q. How do you keep yourself inspired?

A. I find live music, dance performances, poetry nights, and public lectures at Universities and institutes are the places where I get sudden flashes of inspiration for new designs. So I try to get out as much as I can. Cape Town has an incredible design field, so seeing what my colleagues are up to is always a joy. Aside from that, I love looking for colour inspiration on Pinterest!

Thank you Anna!  Find this lovely Beloved Beadworks necklace on our website.

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