Streetwires

About This Project

Streetwires recruits unemployed people and through formal training develops them as wire and bead artists. Established in 2000, Streetwires began with the idea that for something as dynamic and imaginative as wire art, there should be a supportive business structure to boost the craft. Streetwires is a fair trade accredited organisation audited by IFAT – the International Fair Trade Organisation – to verify that we adhere to the social and operational regulations stipulated under the IFAT charter.


Streetwires

By providing people with a workplace, permanent employment, a sense of purpose and access to resources like skills training and personal development, Streetwires is helping to improve the life of many formerly destitute South Africans. Focusing on the unique and dynamic genre of wire art, streetwires is providing the skills training, support and raw materials necessary to enable over 100 formerly unemployed men and women to channel their natural creative energies into this vibrant art form.

Street wire art, unique to Southern Africa and largely unavailable beyond our borders, is a living testimony to the industriousness and creative spirit of our people. Born in the shanty towns and dusty backroads and baptised on the streets, today this genre is a thriving and legitimate art form in its own right, with many ‘wiremasters’ making a living selling their creations not only on street corners and at craft markets, but also in upmarket shops and galleries around the world. Like our people, each hand-crafted piece is special in its own way, and each one has its own story to tell, while the scope for training, development and upliftment is enormous. In addition, most wire art lends itself readily to being branded, thereby increasing the appeal of these products for promotional purposes and corporate gifts, an area that Streetwires has pioneered.

In April 2005, with the support of the Department of Arts and Culture, we opened our first Rural Wire Art Centre in the impoverished farming community of Clanwilliam, three hours west of Cape Town. Future plans include establishing Streetwires Centres in rural areas throughout the country, all offering sustainable employment, hope and a sense of purpose to as many needy South Africans as possible, in places where intervention and opportunities are needed the most.

Visitors

The friendly Streetwires Shop is the only dedicated African Wire and Bead Craft Shop in the Western Cape.

This project can be visited individually or in conjunction with a City Tour. Fully Guided Tours of the vibrant working studio offers the opportunity for visitors to chat to over 100 artists and to see them creating the wonderful products available for purchase in the shop. From Mondays to Fridays between 9am and 4:30pm

Workshop

1½ hour workshop from entrance to exit. This includes a full tour of Streetwires plus a practical workshop session whereby participants are shown and actually create wire art pieces. These pieces can be kept by the visitor. Each participant is provided with tools plus a wire and bead kit. Instructors are allocated to each group to demonstrate the steps involved in making wire art.

Costs

1.5 hours at R180 per person, Minimum 2 and Maximum 300 people

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