Positive Bead Crafts- African Folklore Embroidery Traveling Exhibition

BEADED AFRICAN VILLAGE, - Positive beadwork and the Rainbow nation


Perceptions and associations of Africa frequently revolve around drought, starvation and AIDS. I wanted to design a piece that reflected the artistic and diverse cultural beauty of South Africa.

While I love living in America I continue to feel a deep love and affiliation towards the country of my birth.  My work while living in South Africa involved research into different tribal communities and sharing those findings amongst all groups to facilitate greater understanding and communication.  This research allowed me to develop an appreciation for the art forms practiced by each tribe.   With South Africa’s eleven official languages it is a country rich and diverse in culture and traditions.

In designing this quilt, I wanted to incorporate the various cultural practices and art forms of the different tribes.  The Ndebele tribe, who are known for their intricate beadwork, beaded dolls and brightly colored wall murals, inspired many of the designs. Basket weaving and pot making are the dominant functional arts of the Zulu tribe and the craft dates back hundreds of years when tribe members began turning dried grass into functional objects, using natural dyes made from grass, berries and roots.



I embroidered the designs using African –hand –dyed threads. These variegated threads are made in South Africa and create employment for women. Hand dying threads is an intricate process, with the threads first washed, then dried on a washing line and then with a teaspoon colors are spooned onto the cotton. The threads are environmentally friendly. All the women involved in the thread dying process have been able to move from shack housing to formal housing with running water and electricity.

Beaded wire art, sunflowers, beaded teaspoon, Beaded bookmarks, beaded Zulu necklace, beaded Zulu love pin , African fabric and buttons have been incorporated into the design, allowing for it to return to the true root of many African arts of including every day objects and artifacts into artistic forms.

Highlighting AIDS in South Africa is part of my mission. Through my work all the beaded items are made by women with AIDS and in purchasing these beaded items it assists in supporting AIDS projects such as Kidzpositive.org and Starfish Charity. South African has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world with nearly five million people infected with HIV.  The beaded pins, beaded spoons, beaded book marks have all been made by women from the KIDZPositive charity and the purchase and use of these items allows them to earn much needed income to support themselves and care for their children who are HIV positive.

Over 20,000 people will be viewing the African Folklore Embroidery special exhibition at the Road to California quilt show, Ontario Convention Center, Jan 14th-17th @2010, Ontario Convention Center, 2200 Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA The exhibition, which coincides with the Martin Luther King weekend, is a celebration of South African art and culture through a fiber art medium, African Folklore Embroidery. The exhibition will be traveling throughout the United States. For dates, lectures and classes you can email info@aflembroidery.com.

Over the past few years, Leora Raikin, a South African native, now living in California, has lectured to nearly 10,000 people about tribal crafts and customs in South Africa, through a cultural needle art, African Folklore Embroidery.  

WHO- Raikin’s lectures, workshops and book, Safari through African Folklore, allow people to experience the beauty of Africa and the wonder of an African Safari, while learning about African tribal traditions and wildlife through a creative and culture needle art called African Folklore Embroidery. Leora Raikin’s newly released book, Safari through African Folklore Embroidery (www.aflembroidery.com) takes the reader on a visual safari using the African Folklore Embroidery designs as the medium to explain and educate about wildlife, the people of South Africa, tribal art forms, cultures and customs of the different tribes, the land and its vegetation.

While many dream of going on an African Safari, movies such as Invictus give a small taste of the rich cultural diversity of South Africa, the rainbow nation. The upcoming World Cup Soccer in 2010 is creating international interest in South Africa as a tourist destination.  African Folklore Embroidery kits are easy to follow and no experience is necessary. Completed craft kits can be made into purses, pillows, quilts or wearable art.

WHEN- In celebration of black history month, - EXHIBITION, of African Folklore Embroidery Art, lecture & book signing at Calabasas Library, Feb 10th 4pm.  23975 Park Sorrento, Calabasas, CA


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