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Bead Looming by Shahieda Salie
14 November 2009
When the two quite different crafts of weaving and beading, meet on the wefts and warps of a loom, an integrated craft with a completely new appeal emerges. At the next Country Craft Market on 14 November 2009, Shahieda Salie will be introducing her approach to this unusual and innovative craft that is know as bead looming.
Shahieda's bead looming is adding a new dimension to the diverse range of craftwork on display at the market, and this is precisely the outcome she had hoped for when she was obliged, some years back, to exchange her day job for a less taxing work environment.
Drawing on much earlier experience in jewellery-making using beads, Shahieda was soon immersed in a new beading venture. But while her unfortunate circumstances took a leading hand in directing Shahieda to return to beading as a means of earning an income, the necessity of her situation also stimulated her inventiveness, and she was determined to produce beadwork with a difference.
This she has achieved and while her end products speak for themselves, Shahieda’s demonstration will fill in the gaps. She will show the intricacies of working with fine thread and tiny beads, to produce expressive collages, and elegant trinkets.
Shahieda Salie is a single mother of three children. She was introduced to beading nearly 20 years ago while working in a clothing factory. She found it necessary to make bead jewellery in her spare time, to earn that little extra income.
Then in 2006, she received some life-changing news from her doctor. Advised that she had a heart condition, Shahieda was forced to give up her nine-to-five job. Her on-the-go, happy-go-lucky lifestyle also came to an end. While struggling to absorb this new aspect to her life, she decided to meet the challenge head on by creating for herself, the exact employment opportunity she needed to suit her situation.
"After some market research," tells Shahieda, "I decided that I would still do beadwork but a different type of beading - something that is not found here in South Africa. I wanted my work to stand out in the crowd and draw people's attention."
Even with this idea firmly in her mind, she still needed to deal with the present, as the first orders started coming into her new business, Kreations. She found herself having to expand her knowledge of beads and beading-techniques significantly. The earlier experience she had gained, only covered a few of the many forms of beading being done. She had to discover new beading techniques, new stitches, new bead types and most importantly, new sources of beads that included faraway places like Czechoslovakia and Japan.
Then amidst all her searching, during a trip to Manchester in 2008 she learned about a new beading technique called bead looming. "My interest was instantly sparked," she tells. "Finally I found something that gave me a new way to expand my product line."
She had entered the realm of bead looming and enthusiastically began to explore its many facets. From this flowed her bead paintings, rugs and many novel jewellery pieces. Shahieda draws her inspiration for a variety of sources, especially "the wonderful city of Cape Town". Museums that have antique or exotic beadwork are also favourite places for her to gather ideas. She has this hope that one day some of her pieces that reflect the South African experience will find their way into just such a cultural repository.
Giving back is an important part of Shahieda's life, and she offers beading classes of various levels, to unemployed women from previously disadvantaged areas. She hopes to assist others with creating their own business opportunities.
As becomes obvious in the crafting arena, craftwork is often much more than the interesting items one sees on display tables at markets. To the devout crafter, each item has a story attached. Visitors to the Country Craft Market on 14 November 2009 will be able to confirm this at Shahieda's stall, and experience her crafting story during her demonstration of bead looming.
Last Updated 01 November 2017 16:11