Initiative unites local crafters

Residents from Grassy Park have established a Craft Route where like-minded people have come together to make a difference. Robin Oakes, chairperson of the Craft Route, said the organisation is made up of a group of multi-skilled people.

The Craft Route falls under the community’s Think Tank initiative. The route consists of a powerful meeting of local craft leaders, craft facilitators, professional crafters, community historians and heritage activists.

The Think Tank allows the community to come together and think about macro endeavours that develop other ideas like the Craft Route.

Members have pledged themselves to develop the route within the Grassy Park community to its full potential.

Amanda Lopes, one of the representatives who also owned a craft store for many years, said the aim is to create a programme for crafters in the area.

“We are trying to get people in the community together,” she said.

Lopes said there are about 20 people who are part of the crafters. She said they need more crafters because their work does not get the exposure it deserves.

“We want to show people our culture and heritage,” she said. The crafters come from Cafda, Grassy Park, Zeekoevlei, Lotus River, Phumlani, Parkwood Estate, Montague Estate, Schaapkraal, Pelican Park, other surrounding areas and have 20 years of experience. Oakes said the crafters are facilitators, they host workshops and are social activists. He said the organisation was established two years ago and aims to uncover and promote local heritage. “Through the craft, we want to look at the local development and give ownership to people,” he said.

Oakes said the organisation wants to create a space in the community where people can buy crafts.

“Whether it’s someone making something in the backyard or at home, the route wants to give them exposure and show the community their talents and quality work,” he said.

Oakes said their aim is to create a market from home.

“We want to change the thinking about what quality is,” he said. “Most importantly, we want to create craft markets that reflect our heritage and educate the community and the children within the community.”

“We want to re-introduce the spending power by looking at our neighbours and see how we can help each other,” said Oakes.

The Craft Route is open to all crafters, artists, poets and story-tellers and the intention is to expand into other areas.


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