Alex & Marla


A few years ago I featured Leanda Trautman’s beautiful Happiness bags and after taking some time off and having two bambinos, Alex and Marla, she’s back with an incredible line of handcrafted leather bags.

Her bags are made using only the finest soft, thick, nut toffee coloured leather. The leather  also features an anti- scratch oil protection layer, which makes caring for your bag simple.

“I have two beautiful daughters: Alex and Marla. They are the love of my life.

It is the unconditional love between us that occupies my thoughts and makes me happy.

Years ago I decided to see what working with leather was like. Immediately, I realized that this was something I’ll always want to do. I love it, it is my passion, the kind of passion that makes my working hours fly.

When I am working I feel I am creating something special, something unique… something from me.

I live to be inspired. And I transform that inspiration into designing and making leather bags. Being able to share them, makes me happy.”

Shibby Beats

Shibby BeatsShibby UNWIND. Portable Bluetooth speaker made from real walnut wood.

Shibby beatsShibby ROAD TRIP. Portable bamboo Bluetooth speaker with up to 10 hours battery life.

Shibby Beats

How beautiful are these eco-conscious portable bluetooth speakers by local brand Shibby Beats. This local speaker company was started in Port Elizabeth by husband and wife duo Michelle and Grant Tomlinson.

“The Shibby Unwind is the kind of speaker that will make you want to call up a group of friends and get everyone down to the beach for a bit of a party. It boasts clear, quality sound and naturally enhanced bass, perfect for getting a vibe going with a group of mates.”


– Latest Bluetooth technology, 10m range

– Up to 10 hours playback from a single charge

– Size: 22.5cm x 11.5cm x 5.5cm


– 1x micro USB charging cable

– 1x Aux cable

Bad ass yarn graffiti

Yes, it’s called yarn graffiti/bombing and no it’s anything but bad ass. In fact, it couldn’t be daintier, prettier or more perfect if it was made from unicorn nostril hair. The talented Isabeau Joubert from Isabeau Peep created this beautiful installation for the Dear Me/Tjing Tjing Bar event TOGETHER.

“We decided that the staircase leading from the exhibition space to the bar would be a great place for a dainty, Victorian style yarn bombing. Something that the Thursday fine diners would also enjoy and completely versatile to take off and/or dye in any colour. (the ultimate room accessory)

All together it adds up to about 4 meters of fine lace work, 2 weeks of non-stop till late night work and 5 hours to put up/install. So worth it.”

Oh yes it was. Thanks so much Isabeau, you can bomb my house any time.

Images via

Timeless, handcrafted furniture by John Vogel

John Vogel’s beautifully handcrafted furniture embodies a distinct South African vernacular. His products draw inspiration from the specifics of our land and he believes in creating works that stand apart from the mass-produced and readily available.

“John Vogel has a design background in architecture and first started creating furniture as a student. Although he has worked in many materials, his strongest affinity is for timber and most of his inspiration comes from the natural world and the exploration of organic forms.

He designs, prototypes and manufactures in-house, and his Cape Town workshop is equipped to supply quality products anywhere in the world.

He believes strongly in a sustainable business model: tree planting is funded from products sold and in time more wood will be replaced than used.”

For more check out his website:

Indalo Project – Craft + Design

See what happens when professional designers and crafters get together to create beautiful new handcrafted product ranges. The Indalo Project is a unique design and marketing intervention aimed at driving the development of innovative project ranges and sustainable job creation in the South African Craft and Design sector.

“We believe that extraordinary products can be created when accomplished, market-driven designers join forces with skilled craft artists. Indalo will not only support partner organisations in direct sales, but also in developing focused and proactive marketing strategies. Our objectives? Long-term relational investment, grassroots skills advancement, evidence-based sustainable job creation and the transfer of design and marketing expertise.

Magazine Rack. Designer: Mireille van Heerden Producer: Mielie

African print bowl. Designer: Nicci Drzewicki Producer: Wola Nani

Protea Lazy Lamp. Designer: Nicci Drzewicki Producer: Streetwires

Imbizo bowl. Designer: Mireille van Reenen Producer: Nuno

Protea Cluster Pendant Light. Designer: Nicci Drzewicki Producer: Streetwires

African print bowl. Designer: Nicci Drzewicki Producer: Wola Nani

Happy Camper Mattress Sofa. Designer: Mireille van Reenen Producer: Mielie

All these products are available from the online store on their website.  They’ve also recently launched an Etsy shop for international shoppers.

Meeting the Makers Contemporary Craft Exhibition

Koop Design. Linenfold Sideboard.

Jabu Mnguni. Umkhamba tree.

Guido Van Besouw. Glass Bowl.

Florence Shezi. Woven Dog.

Shaw Sisters. Paper Flowers.

A groundbreaking exhibition opening at the Tatham Art Gallery in July will unite a broad diversity of contemporary craft producers in KZN. From the beautifully rendered work of crafters such as Bonginkosi Tshabalala and Humphrey Modibedi to commercially produced products from internationally acclaimed talents Egg Design and Richard Stretton, Meeting the Makers promises a cross-section of high quality, sustainable objects that bridge the divide between traditional craft and so-called ‘high art’.

The collection ranges from traditional Zulu ceramics to contemporary lighting designs, and includes a bespoke collection of basketry, embroidery, wood turning, jewellery and wire work. There is an impressive mix of traditional craft-making and cutting edge design, with over 150 pieces produced by nearly 100 crafters. Embroidery produced by local crafters from the Ingwavuma region sits alongside a high-tech lamp by urban product designers, Egg Designs.

Other work on display includes turned bowls by Andrew Early, furniture from Koop Design, paper flowers from the award-winning Shaw Sisters and phenomenal beadwork from members of the Hillcrest Aids Centre.

Meeting the Makers: Contemporary Craft in KZN opens at the Tatham Art Gallery Pietermaritzburg on Thursday 28th July at 18h00 and runs until Sunday 18th September at 17h00 Tatham Art Gallery:
Phone +27 (0)33 392 2801

Artist Profile: The Talented Miss Fowler



We were lucky enough to get a glimpse into the mind of talented graphic designer, crafter and illustrator Lauren Fowler.

Where do you live and what’s your daily routine when it comes to creating your lovely things?

I currently live in Kalk Bay in Cape Town. It’s the cutest little seaside town and gets crazy busy on weekends. I love the weekdays best because no one’s around and I feel like I have the whole bay to myself.

My daily routine is very unroutiney which is probably a bad thing. I’ll have days where I sit down at my desk and work all day, sometimes I’ll ride my bike to Empire Cafe in Muizenberg and work there off their wifi since I don’t have internet at home. Some days, most days now, I go into the city to have meetings, drop stock at shops, go to the printers etc. It’s very disruptive, I’m figuring out a way to make it all work, so hopefully in a couple of months I can be more productive.

What’s your background?

I grew up in the city bowl in Cape Town and went to school there too. I got my degree at AAA School of Advertising, if anyone wants to study graphic design, I can highly recommend the school. I tried to work in a web design agency and hated it with a passion. I ended up working as a sales assistant in a boutique shop on Long Street and spent my days there sewing or knitting. That’s how I got into craft again. Trying to pass time. I eventually started doing illustration work for magazines and a few private clients. I moved house a lot around the city bowl and eventually grew tired of city living. I moved to Kalk Bay to gather my thoughts and reconnect with myself and my work. After 2 years living here, I feel I’m ready to move back to the city bowl.

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Klone & Mervyn Gers

The Klone Vintage African range collaborated with Cape Town potter and ceramicist Mervyn Gers to create this beautiful ‘Vintage Florals’ range which was launched at the Design Indaba. The Klone range is “inspired by our unique South African lifestyle & heritage, created & crafted by South African artists & artisans.”

Have a look at their site:

More work by Mervyn Gers at:

Photos by the Neo Group:

Artist Profile: Meet Nadia from Cupcake Couture

Nadia van der Mescht tells us a bit more about Cupcake Couture:

“Cupcake Couture is a small accessories brand that I started in order to create and craft.  It has grown to so much more and is now my full time focus, coupled with the digital management side of the business and the creative consulting that I do.  Each product is handmade and created with lots of love.  I imagine the person who might use it or wear it and enjoy adding each precious button and detail.  I hunt for special things…buttons, old haberdashery items, ribbons and beautiful vintage pieces to embellish each brooch or accessory. 

 You can find my products via my online shop…place your order and expect a pretty package.  You can visit me at I heart Market in Durban which is on the first Saturday of each month.  Here you will find my pop up shop and Build-a-Brooch stall which allows you to design your own brooch.”

Her pretty Blog:

Her Shop:

Thanks Nadia!