Home' Scoop Homes and Art : SHA 29 Winter 2011 Contents 122 HOMES ART WINTER
She may be the businesswoman
behind a global homewares
empire, but Carrol Boyes still
has the eye of an artist. "I look at
anything, and I see a human in it," she says
So it's not surprising that the human
figure has become a hallmark of her
designs, which push conventional
household items to their aesthetic limits.
1500 pieces are
faces carved into
cutlery and torsos
that form slender
door handles. e
tactility of such
objects make them worthy of the label
'functional art'. "I really like the idea
that beautiful things can be a part of your
everyday and not just something you look
at in a museum or gallery," Carrol says.
"It's a joy for me to know that people will
pick up a pair of salad servers, and in doing
so, they will be using sculpture."
is philosophy has resonated with
customers around the world, leading
Carrol to open retail stores not only in
South Africa, but also in cities such as New
York, Paris, Athens and Perth.
South African artist and business icon Carrol Boyes has a talent for
turning often overlooked household items into functional works of
art WORDS Jessica Matthews
"When people respond to that sense of fun and
sensuality, then I believe they're relating to the
same things as South African people"
In 2008, she won the arts and culture
category of South Africa's Most Influential
Women in Business and Government, and in
2010 was included in the book South Africa's
Greatest Entrepreneurs (MME Media) by
media figure Moky Makura, who says she's
put South African design on the global map.
Such accolades are a long way from the
company's humble beginnings in the early
90s. "I'd been teaching for 12 years, but
decided to pursue my passion for art and
sculpture full-time," Carrol says.
She set herself a time limit of six months
to test if she could earn a living through it.
She needn't have worried -- huge demand
ensured the brand developed quickly.
Today, she operates a factory in Cape
Town and another in the northern
Limpopo Province, one of the country's
poorest areas. Employing people in
Limpopo highlights her commitment to
social change because it enables people
to have a secure monthly wage. She says
research shows that if one person has a job,
it looks after eight to 10 people. "So, when
you start doing the multiplications, that
becomes very meaningful for the area."
Carrol sees her relationship with the
Limpopo people as a partnership, saying
their strong tradition of creating wooden
sculpture has given them unique skills.
" at's been
fantastic for our
are my designs,
other people finish
them off -- so their
soul and eye and
creativity also goes into each piece."
Perhaps that's why the Carrol Boyes
Collection resonates with such a strong
sense of South Africa. "I don't believe you
can change your handwriting," Carrol
says. "Where I grew up is a very important
influence on my designs. When people
respond to that sense of fun and sensuality
-- if it makes them smile -- then I believe
they're relating to the same things as
South African people."
Carrol Boyes Functional Art,
CLOCKWISE Carrol Boyes with employees in
South Africa; the human figure emerges in one of
Carrol's designs; an employee finishes products by
hand; Carrol Boyes at her studio.
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