Mapula Embroidery Women's Empowerment Project
During a recent trip to South Africa a we encountered amazing embroidery work designed and hand-stitched by a group of women in the Winterveld area, outside Pretoria. The stitches are carefully placed and sewn. The images radiate the joy of children at play, women tending to chores, chickens strutting about the family yard, and men engaged in the work of building and feeding the family. BUT, then there are the native animals. They too enjoy excellent stitchery as they are sometimes fanciful in the embroiderer's creative mind. Who would expect to see a blue giraffe or a vibrant multi-colored elephant?

The Mapula Embroidery Women's Empowerment Project was created to help its members generate or supplement their family income while creating inspired images of the world in which they live.  The images, so carefully embroidered, are reflections of life in rural villages - family life within the village confines, wild animals roaming freely beyond village fences, and the often unexpected and sometimes startlingly colorful decoration of mud walled homes with thatched roofs. The images are magical!

The products of the Mapula Embroidery Project range from place mats, tote bags, and pillow covers to more complex picture stories in wall hangings.  It is through careful examination of the 'story' told in the wall hangings that one captures a sense of the typical rural village life of individuals, families, and communities. The tone of the stories told in the wall hangings are typically pastoral but are sometimes very contemporary and reach beyond the rural South African village confines - a 'picture story' wall hanging of the Covid-19 is on its way to us.

Lovely, exciting, unusual.