Lian Thandiwe Nyathi has always looked at the trending fashion in terms of clothing with the diversity of culture and her hands have become a goddess at doing just that.
She does that by using beads to create the most beautiful jewellery and handbags that would make one give away all her leather handbags and stick to the different beaded coloured and adorned ones she crafts. After all they also come in all shapes and sizes including clutch bags for that sizzling romantic dinner date.
Persuaded by the love of beads and the will to re-discover the identity and beauty of an African woman, her creative process starts with visualising the product and identifying like-colours and materials; this goes to bead weaving, working around with wires, using techniques forming the most beautiful handbags and jewellery.
Her aim is simply to prove to mostly women in our society that fashion does not have to come from across our boarders but that we can set our own trends using our culture and heritage and also setting an example that consistency pays. She sees bead work and jewellery as craftsmanship because it involves hand work without use of machinery at all.
“Basically with a list of materials that I use — creativity has no limits in designing my products. They all blend well together. Sometimes I experiment with new raw material and my latest being creating paper beads,” she said.
“I dilute my designs with the needs of a client or the diversity of the culture through experience and taking risks — paying special attention to neatness and durability of my products.
“For every piece that I create, there is a point of satisfaction that I reach which tells me that now I cannot add or subtract any material. Experience has coached me to discern when to use a certain material. I have developed my career by not only basing on one thing that is production but I am gaining more skills in types of craft work. As I speak I have about five craft skills that have given me a boost in my career development,” she adds.
She always sets the price to her work through the value of a product based on the cost of material and the time applied into creating it — a tip which she always shares with her craft students so as not to under or over charge their handiwork.
Her passion for craft started a few months after she had been asked by a certain lady to help her with some bead work in 2014. After that experience she noticed that she was passionate about hand craft.
This love for craft led her to experiment with different designs aligning with her vision until she started creating what is now a rising trend with most women. Lian then decided not only to create products but to give back to society by teaching women craft work and the results have been satisfying.
“On the socio-economic issues, craft education has helped socially disadvantaged women and even men by creating opportunities for them to earn a living. This has reached out even beyond the boarders helping women in our neighbouring countries where I have visited and conducted lessons for them. Passion Craft is creating job opportunities and empowering women,” she commented.
To keep up with the world trend, Lian navigates the art of the fashion world by pointing out the latest couture which then she mixes with the African culture. Currently Lian says she is following the Kenyan fashion trends which on a daily basis introduce new fresh ideas — her biggest influences being Mabasto Arts and Crafts stationed at City Hall in her hometown Bulawayo and the amazing work of Adubea Jensen from Ghana.
Social media has been a wide platform for her, reaching out to potential clients, networking and participating in exhibitions, her last grand one being the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Expo which got her a wide audience in 2017. She has created a huge client base for herself with an overwhelming demand.
The 26-year-old single mom of two beautiful girls Laylah and Mayah loves God whom she believes most of her drive to success in life comes from. She craves to see change in the lives of women and to continue empowering women.