Front Design, an all-girl Swedish threesome (and former foursome), has unveiled a moving new project that throws the spotlight on poor South African women by literally beading their narratives onto vases. Think of it as the craft equivalent of Story Corps.
The Story Vases, which debuted at the Milan furniture fair on Tuesday, tell the tales of five women who live in rural, post-apartheid South Africa. The women — Beauty Ndlovu, Thokozani Sibisi, Kishwepi Sitole, Tholiwe Sitole, and Lobolile Ximba — shared their personal stories with Front, touching on everything from love and business to death and the impact of HIV on their lives in the remote reaches of KwaZulu-Natal.
Then they worked with the designers to select which passages to feature. The women, all members of a beadcraft collective, did the beadwork themselves.
The vases are on view at Milan Design Week through April 17. For the design newbies among you, Milan Design Week is the time of year when designers from all over the world show off an orgy of expensive furniture that only people with private jets and vacation homes in St. Tropez can afford. So it’s nice to see a project here that does more than cater to the rich.
[Images via Front Design]