Contemporary embroidery work based on Shangaan stories
Kaross™ is an embroidery initiative started in 1989 with a few (five) Shangaan embroiders and Irma van Rooyen, a visual artist, as creative director and founder. Sitting on a Kaross™ (blanket) the ladies started creating works of art own to themselves and their cultural background. The objective was to create pieces of excellent quality, and a fresh approach to handwork. Over the past 18 years Kaross™ became the voice of 1000+ Shangaan people and their communities in the Letsitele/Giyani area of the Limpopo Province. Kaross™ is re-writing a culture by exploring its heritage and re-applying it to modern, marketable products and artworks.
Kaross™’s incentive is to create jobs and opportunities for mainly, rural woman to make a living by being creative within the realm of their own tradition background. The job-creation and upliftment aspect of the project remains a driving force and is key to all developmental and business decisions in Kaross™. A strengthened cultural awareness followed and formed the basis of many Shangaan people’s perception of themselves within the context of South Africa and the rest of the world. This awareness of being yourself within a more global environment is an important concept in terms of sustainable development and the upliftment of people. There exist a need for woman in the rural areas of South Africa, and specifically the Limpopo Province in this regard, to acknowledge and explore their own capacity to take part in making a difference in their communities and South Africa as a whole. Kaross™ believes to play a part in realizing these peoples potential.
Home to the Shangaan and Sotho people, Kaross Workers provides for the rich tradition of embroidery and art making and creates diverse possibilities for a healthy exchange among artists. The success of the Kaross Workers derives from a contract system the embroiderers are based on. The embroiderer receive cloth, which is mainly black, with the design pre-drawn onto the cloth together with a range of cottons. After completing the work at their homes, the worker returns for payment and new work. The work is then made into tablecloths, placemats, cushion covers, wall hangings and bed linen.
Tel +27(0)15 345 1458