This article appeared in The Herald, La Femme of 30 March 2016.
Childhood food memories triggered off a series of prints that took textile design graduate Hele de Beer – formerly of George – into a select group of “Emerging Creatives” at last month’s Design Indaba in Cape Town.
Hele, 24, was one of 40 designers asked to take part in this year’s DI Emerging Creatives Programme for her quirky and imaginative printed textiles, which were based on a tasteful subject matter: childhood picnics and tea-time treats.
The past pupil of Outeniqua High School entered the programme which provides support, education and mentoring for South Africa’s future designers who have relatively little industry exposure. Architects, fashion designers, illustrators, furniture designers or jewellers – all sectors are welcome and participants are selected based on the quality and originality of their work and its ability to stand alongside world-class designs.
De Beer’s submission was a nostalgic look at her Afrikaans childhood memories, taking foods such as fizzer sweets, biscuits and cookies, mealies, sliced ham, hard-boiled eggs and chicken drumsticks and translating them into contemporary textile design.
“I was actually playing around with dino-gummy sweets when I was doing my BTech last year and had this drive to create,” she said in an interview, outlining how she assembled the individual items into symmetrical arrangements, then photographed and photoshopped it.
The results look like floral prints when viewed from a few metres away, yet up close reveal their subject matter.
The Emerging Creatives Programme has helped launch the careers of celebrated and vibrant young designers such as fellow Port Elizabeth designer Laduma Ngxokolo and others over in the past 10 years.
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