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Proe Paarl Provides Showcase for Local Crafters

A group of local crafters from Paarl showcased their work at the inaugural Crafter’s Market hosted at Paarl Tourism Information on Saturday, 10 December as part of the Proe Paarl summer campaign.

Image caption: Local crafters (back l-r) Christina Kuiler, Lilly Rust, Maureen van Rhyn, Katie George, and (front l-r) Beatty Vos, Syrill Simon Lehana and Dorothy De Wet.

According to Annelize Stroebel from the Drakenstein Local Tourism Authority launched earlier this year, the market is the first step to nurture the talent of local artists.  “The first Crafter’s Market forms part of the Drakenstein Local Tourism Association’s Cultural and Community Tourism Outreach Programme in collaboration with the Department of Local Economic Development.  We have enormously gifted artisans and crafters in the Drakenstein area and Proe Paarl has presented the perfect opportunity for about fifteen crafters to raise awareness of their skills and to create a platform to market their products.  This is a fantastic platform to showcase their talent and we hope that both local residents and tourists will enjoy supporting our Love Local, Buy Local initiative and buy these authentic, hand-crafted items,” says Stroebel.

Proe Paarl is a month-long campaign aimed at highlighting the unique flavours of Paarl, including its people, wines, food and attractions.  Someone who undoubtedly captures the history of this Boland town is 82-year old Lilly Rust, who founded the Dorcas Housewives Club 32 years ago to empower local women through skills development.  Visitors to the Crafter’s Market will be charmed by their handy work, which includes a selection of needlework, crochet items, tapestries, woodcraft, beading and various items made from recycled material.

Wire and beading artist Syrill Simon Lehana has turned his hobby into a profession and is no stranger to exhibiting his work at various markets in the area.  Syrill started doing wirework at the age of five and today does exquisite wire, bead and paper mâchè works.

According to Lilly Rust, she and her fellow crafters are very excited about the market. “We love what we do and get together every Tuesday to work on our crafts, share ideas and assist newcomers with skills development.  For many women their crafts are an important source of extra income, which is why I’m am so excited about the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the years and empowering women,” says Lilly.

Dorcas is affiliated to the World League for Women (Wêreldbond vir Vroue) and is involved in various community projects such as Knitting Day, when they get together to knit blankets for the less privileged and Mandela Day, when they provide food the elderly and the frail in their community.

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