This year has been a rollercoaster. Our homes, and what’s inside them, have never been more important. The items you surround yourself with can bring joy, nostalgia and happiness, especially when you are trapped inside lockdown after lockdown…
My African Home
Lisa had a very successful interior design career before becoming a surface pattern designer. She has a passion for African art and has done a number of collaborations with African artists. Her house is filled with bright and brilliant African homeware. Perhaps they can inspire your interiors and bring a little joy into your home too!
These are a few of her favourite things…
As a little girl growing up in Durban, we had a blue felt hand sewn beaded tea cosy. I wonder if my love of beadwork came from there…I am currently working on a project with bead artist extraordinaire, Valencia.
Monkeybiz is a women’s bead cooperative based in Cape Town. My collection of beaded animals include a large pink poodle, a tiny turquoise elephant and a black and white patterned half zebra, half wildebeest. I have a prized large framed work of beaded mats made by them as interpretations of my Ndebele series of paintings. These formed the basis of an award-winning collection which almost made it to the exhibition of South African art at the British Museum.
African Zulu telephone wire dishes
I have a multi-coloured patterned Zulu telephone wire dish designed and made by Ntombifuti Magwese, one of the last master Zulu telephone wire artists. I acquired this quite recently with the help of African art expert Margie at Africa Nova Cape Town. By complete coincidence, Ntombifuti has a piece in the Royal Collection at our neighbours at Windsor Castle, made specially as a gift for the Queen Mother on her visit to South Africa.
My fluted Zulu telephone wire vases made the four-month journey during lockdown and arrived in a battered wet cardboard box. But it was worth the wait, their bold swirls of colour are so expertly blended.
The African ceramist Maureen Visage
Maureen Visage is my favourite ceramicist and is based in Cape Town. The 3 Graces is a custom handmade piece of three women to celebrate the eternal bond between my mum, my daughter and me.
Nelson Mandela… my owl
Nelson Mandela lives in my garden. He was inspired by the Zulu telephone wire bowls. The owl is decorated in colourful swirls and was sponsored by South African investment bank Sanlam as part of the public sculpture trail Minerva’s Owls in Bath.
My handmade mermaid jug
My favourite wedding present. I have always loved the ethereal beauty of mermaids and Liv and I spent many years drawing and decorating mermaid cards to sell at school fairs.
Monochrome fruit bowl
My black and white striped curvaceous ceramic fruit bowl has inspired several paintings and velvets. The best interior purchases are the ones that strike creative inspiration.
Vintage lady heads
No not real heads! I found these 1950s American vases on eBay and they live together on a shelf, backed by a large mirror. Their detail still fascinates me. I can’t help but admire their pin curls and pearl earrings.
Painting of a Haitian girl by Luise Kimme
Luise Kimme was a fabulous artist living in Tobago. The painting was on a piece of paper when we met, she painted the background right in front of us from a large pot of emulsion paint! I had no idea how famous she was. She was living alone creating timber painted sculptures of Trinidadian carnival dancers from whole tree trunks, with only her dogs and assistants for company. Luise was eternally glamorous; her tiny bedroom was tucked away in the eaves of the studio, complete with a 50s style dressing table covered in Chanel perfumes and lipsticks. We corresponded until her untimely death. Her extraordinary home is now the Tobago Museum of Art.
If you are feeling inspired by Lisa’s collection of African homewares look out for her Africa-influenced home edit coming in the new year. Lisa will be curating and selling unique and beautiful homewares from independent creatives across Africa.