TWO craft specialists that are in the country to help local artists with various fundamentals of their art recently facilitated workshop and exhibition at Morija Arts Centre.
The experts are from the United States (US) and Canada and have been mentoring local crafters about entrepreneurship among other facets of their trade.
The crafter from the US has been in the country for two years while the Canadian has been volunteering at Morija Museum since earlier this year.
The two have been helping local artists improve their craft.
Through the programme, 30 local crafters managed to exhibit their work in Canada, courtesy of the Canadian Artisan Hub.
This was the third annual exhibition at the museum.
In 2016, the Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) in Canada launched the Artisan Hub, an innovative new project to promote small and medium enterprises in the specialty textile and garment sector.
For her part, Teyana Neufeld, the volunteer from Canada, said the theme for this event’s exhibition was ‘Food’.
“The theme comes from not so much in creating meals but using food or food packaging as art supplies,” Neufeld said.
She said the markets are non-profit making so as to ensure that participants can afford paying for their exhibition space.
“We just barely break even and I expect this event to do the same. We make renting a table affordable so that the artists make the biggest profits,” she said.
“The price of items ranges from M30 for a pair of recycled paper earrings to M1800 for hand-made wire sculptures.”
She said the exhibitions are meant to bring more visibility for the Morija Arts Centre and local crafters.
“Apart from that, our goal is to inspire Basotho to engage in creating more art themselves which is why most of the artists who are exhibiting and vendors selling food are from Morija,” Miss Neufeld said.
“If customers want something a little bit different than what they see, they are welcome to negotiate a custom piece from any of our artists,” Neufeld said.
She said they are also striving to reach wider markets through the Maeder House Gallery in Morija and other retail outlets in Maseru and South Africa.
“We encourage locals to take advantage of this opportunity to sell their work. Many local artists do not have access to markets in Maseru. This is why we are hoping that visitors will find the items on sale to be unique and affordable. We feel strongly that the Art Market must be accessible to everyone,” Miss Neufeld said.
She said more work undoubtedly needs to be done to further attract more buyers for local artists.
“We understand good marketing aids product development. We try to assist artists in this regard so that their items will stand out for their design and quality,” Neufeld said.
Studio manager and organiser, Sobolivhas Ts’eliso Bernard Sehloho, told the Xpress People they were planning more programmes.
“We are planning on a set of programmes for future reference now that we have contacts from the United States of America and Canada,” Sehloho said.