On Aug. 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) and the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa welcomes Beloved Beadwork designer and founder Anna Richerby from Cape Town, South Africa for a trunk show and designer “meet and greet” in the NMWA museum shop. This small company of 12 Cape Town women, who create intricate pieces of high-end jewelry using complex weaving techniques and glass beads, was founded by Richerby in 2009. She designs the company’s necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings while providing sustainable, flexible jobs for talented local bead workers.
“This cooperative group of jewelers, heavily influenced by the feminist movement, is a perfect fit for the museum’s mission and its shop,” said Director of Retail and Wholesale Operations Lynda Marks. “NMWA’s Empowering Women through Art shop initiative supports socially responsible artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors of women artists worldwide by actively promoting the sale of and information about products they create.”
The Beloved Beadwork company was awarded a grant to exhibit at the NY Now trade show earlier in August by the Cape Craft & Design Institute, which promotes the growth of craft as an economic sector, and the South African Department of Trade and Industry, responsible for commercial and industrial policy. They will present the trunk show at NMWA before returning to Cape Town.
“We are over the moon at this opportunity,” said Beloved Beadwork founder Richerby. “Cape Town is the birthplace of the first human-made beads. Beads have a history of trade, of desire, of communication, of love, of belonging, of creativity expressed and enjoyed. I’m thrilled that while in the U.S., I’ll have the opportunity to show our work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.”
Although Beloved Beadwork’s glass seed beads are imported from Japan, their design potential is unearthed by the talented Cape Town bead weavers in designs that transcend categories.
“Some people try to define us as ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary,’ or ‘African’ or ‘Western,’ but our work transcends these boundaries, and we enjoy that,” said Ms. Richerby.
Beloved Beadwork’s jewelry has been exhibited at the South African National Gallery and Design Indaba, and featured in the accessory collections at South African Fashion Week. In the United States, the jewelry is featured in art galleries, boutiques and NMWA’s museum shop in Washington, D.C.