The Heart of Art: Story Vases

These glass bead vases have an important story to tell.

Story Vases are the brainchild of Front, a Swedish design firm made up of three enterprising women who approach their projects with the goal of exploring and exposing more about the process of design. In this case, Front partnered with the Siyazama Project, a collective of South African women who practice the traditional Zulu craft of beading.

“Bead craft is an important part of Zulu tradition, not only as a means of expression, but also of communication and telling stories. In the past, patterns and colors were woven into beadwork, symbolizing feelings and ideas to lovers and friends, in a way similar to written language.”

Five women from the Project told the details of their daily lives in post-apartheid South Africa to the women of Front. They discussed everything from families and work to issues of gender, AIDS and poverty.

Each of the five women then transformed parts of their story into text via glass beads threaded onto wire which was formed into a mold. Glass was blown into the wire molds creating the final pieces, each unique in shape and story. Learn more about the creative process and the collaboration at Editions in Craft.

“This long-term project aims to broaden the market for the women’s craft and to let their stories, which are seldom told, be heard by more people.”

Front will present Story Vases at Milan Design Week from April 12-17, at Rosanna Orlandi. Each vase will be available in limited edition via Editions in Craft. Prices available upon request.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Kim Derby’s art series at EcoSalon, The Heart of Art. We heart art, and there’s nothing nicer than a daily dose to offer a moment of contemplation.

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2 comments

  1. These vases are beautiful and have a great message behind them!

    1. Kim Derby · · Reply

      I agree! Such amazing women that lead extraordinary lives. There are excerpts from their stories at the Editions in Craft website. Tragic and moving and inspiring all at the same time!

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