Necklaces are my thing … so when Joni Brenner started working with Marigold Bead Collective and brought their wonderful products down to South Africa from Zimbabwe, I was in heaven. Joni, a well known Johannesburg-based artist, has a fine eye for the aesthetic and the exquisite and when her eye for the beautiful met the Marigold women’s beading skills and abilities, things really took off. The Marigold Bead Collective was founded in 1992 in Bulawayo. Over the next 20 years the women battled to find a market for their work and their output dwindled. That was until Joni recognized their amazing talent and started working with the women, developing designs as well as selecting and buying the beads and thread – the beading is hand woven on a loom. From a few women, the collective has grown to over 12 women who now develop their own colour combinations, with Joni still buying the beads and thread and directing the shifts in design.
These necklaces are addictive. Their colour combinations are exquisite and their design is so simple, elegant and sophisticated. The variances that happen when the same bead is woven with a different thread, is amazingly subtle and beautiful. The skill and commitment is extraordinary: each strand takes a full working day to complete and contains approximately 3000 seed beads. For more wonderful images see http://www.marigoldbeads.com/GalleryA.html
But no image does the real thing justice – you have to see and feel these beaded necklaces to understand why they are so addictive. Marigold beads are stocked at Kim Sacks Art Gallery in Parkwood and vary from R225 a strand for the thin strands (4 beads across), to R275 for the standard strands (8 beads across), to R1375 for the very long strands (12 beads across). I think these are the prices .. but don’t hold me to it if they vary slightly! They are also available through Lisa Espi-Sanchez by appointment in Cape Town. You can get her on firstname.lastname@example.org Joni occasionally does pop-up shops where the extraordinary strands are laid out in all their glorious combinations.
The artistic and aesthetic value of these necklaces has been recognized internationally and the necklaces are now stocked in the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. What an amazing achievement for the Marigold Bead Collective and all that have made it possible.