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Hand-dyed Linen by Esther Ganca


29 March 2008

loretta and glassware

In the modern world of advanced technologies and hardcore commercialism, true craft is often pushed aside in favour of the mass-produced made-to-formula products that fill chain-store shelves or are packed closely onto the rails of clothing stores. Any item that is not identical to others of its batch, becomes a reject even though its flaws probably only give it more individuality that all the others of its kind.


Thankfully, respect for true craft is still alive and well and living within the environment of this commercial plethora. Expressive minds and caring hands still fashion craft from the heart, producing creations that take pride in their uniqueness, and revel in their non-conformism. Thankfully too, there are still those who seek true hand-crafted products, that bears unashamedly the fingerprints of their makers.


Perhaps true craft reaches it peak when the tools are the most basic, and imagination and craftiness have to stand in for machines and technology. Esther Ganca is such a crafter, working from Khayelitsha with elementary tools and techniques, to produce images of Africa, captured in dyes on cloth.


head cushion



Esther is one of the many enterprising people who have risen to the challenge of unemployment by starting her own micro business in 1999, producing resist-dyed fabric items. Her presence at the Country Craft Market make a good contribution towards the market's mission to promote only hand-crafter work of the best quality.




at her stall




Esther's work comes about as close to the true definition of handwork as is possible. Her equipment is minimal and she depends on hand skills to produce her designs. The techniques she uses make use of simple components that belie the final decorative result.






giraffe cushion



Starting with plain coloured, or white, cloth, she applies chalk, bread flower, water, heat and other ingredients reminiscent of a cooking recipe …. but you will know all this if you were at her demonstration at the Country Craft Market on 29 March.



Suffice to say that the images that Esther captures on cloth are vibrantly naive and filled with the essence of Africa. From patterns to faces, animals to appliquéd effects, they are bold, but unobtrusive.



giraffe cushion




But these designs are just the first step towards producing her craftwork that finally emerges in the form of table cloths and place mats, cushions and cushion covers, aprons, and even for the fashion extrovert, waistcoats. Esther does all her own sewing and uses various sewing techniques to ensure the dyed images are presented in the best way.





Esther added extra interest to the Country Craft Market of 29 March and entertained her visitors by demonstrating her craft and displaying her range of fabric products that are imbued with her special interpretation of Africa.

table cloth



Last Updated 03 November 2017 12:46