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Michaela Howse


"Handcraft is very human - it is never just about making a product. When you produce something in this industry, you are not working with a factory or production unit, but with people. There will be surprises, and there will be more to learn.

Design should have a function: this may be to provide beauty, if it is beauty that is needed; a story, when we have forgotten our own stories; or a springboard back to the imagination, helping us see things anew."

Michaela is no newcomer to the world of craft and design. Since completing her studies in graphic design, she has continued working in the design, craft and social development sectors. Her year-long collaboration with Streetwires artist Elias Kahari, resulting in a signature collection of artworks celebrating Nguni cattle and Xhosa culture, serves as a potent example of the creative potential of collaboration between designers and craft artists.

"I am interested in change and human value systems, how individuals adapt to new situations, and the role of design in education and the shaping of ideas. My collections for the Indalo Project are inspired by the meeting point of nature and industry in the modern city. This was motivated by the desire to study nature as a means of better understanding ourselves. Many of our strengths and vulnerabilities, both beautiful and natural, are hidden by our need to impress through decorative means that are often unnecessary. The marks of construction in the sculptures remain exposed -revealing, rather than disguising, both human and industrial processes."