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Made in the Cape Artisan Market


Every so often on our travels and explores around our gorgeous country, we come across something that moves us profoundly. Sometimes it’s a place, sometimes a performance, sometimes even an event, but always, always, it’s about the people.

As regulars to BigCityLife know, we are passionate about people that are passionate about building, designing and growing themselves, their communities, and those around them.

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Well this month we came across ‘Made in the Cape’ and again we had to stop and reflect on just how much talent, diversity and raw energy we have in our fair land.

This incredible market prides themselves on being the only one in SA with 100% locally produced items. It’s a showcase for the best in local creative and design talent, and it’s all about the artisan. Not mass-produced artisan like the so-called artisan cheese you buy in bulk from trading stores, but proper artisan. The kind where you actually get to meet and interact with the craftsman or craftswoman who made the item. Where you can question the design or build process and learn the background story. On the day we attended, for example, we got to watch a leather crafter draw up, and then stitch a belt from scratch and it truly changes your perspective (and appreciation) when you watch an item slowly take shape under an experts hands.

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As we meandered around Cavendish Square, chatting with these supremely talented entrepreneurs (and their assistants and apprentices who are slowly learning their crafts), it dawned on me that I had long assumed the art of craftsmanship was dead. We met silversmiths, textile designers, carpenters, interior designers, fine artists, ceramic artists, toy makers, leather crafters, and so many more. We tried handmade skincare products made from raw honey from the worlds’ richest floral kingdom (the western Cape) and they were so good you could eat them!

This was not the market I had come to expect, even from natural markets that sometimes slip in the occasional mass-produced ‘stuff’ masquerading as home-made. This was quality, and every item was made by those standing before me! I find it astounding that there is this much local talent and yet we flock to malls and shopping centres, instead of supporting these amazing businesses.

When chatting to the organisers I was also delighted to learn that Made in the Cape is one of the first markets that actively encourages sustainable production. Many of the items you see on sale have come from recycled or upcycled components and sustainability is a large part of the focus for the market.

They also dropped a little nugget! August is their 4th birthday and they are holding a celebration from Thursday the 4th to Sunday the 7th of August and – most importantly for BigCityLifeLovers – there will be delectable treats for the first time at the market, in the form of artisan made food! We can’t wait!

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So go. Go to gain a new understanding of the craftsman’s process. Go to experience the true meaning of quality and to watch the evolution of an item made with love. But most of all, go because you support what we should all be supporting. A return to items made with passion and skill and by people who will assist to grow the economy in South Africa. Go because it’s art. And art feeds your soul.

Need to know:

  • Made in the Cape is an artisan market, held monthly, inside Cavendish Square.
  • 4th birthday celebration: Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August
  • Where: Round the escalator circles, in the heart of Cavendish Square, Claremont.
  • Made in the Cape artisan goods market, www.facebook.com/MadeInTheCape/
Philippa Rose-Tite
About me

Director | Wordsmith ~ Philippa worked her proverbial rear-end off to gain her MBA in 2006, while working full time, getting married, and having 2 babies. Though not regretting it, it certainly taught her how under-appreciated the art of juggling can be. After having worked in a number of sales and operational roles, she got tired of making money for other people and now only works with people and companies she loves. Her company is Purple Raindrop and they are a BigCityLife Partner on all things fabulous.

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