Lorin Strieman formed Queenbead towards end of 2002 as a job creation project for Grace Faleni and her family. In 2004 it has grown to an informal group of 19 beaders, mostly young men, based in Crossroads, Cape Town. By 2006 a few of the original members had either moved places or found more permanent jobs so we are now a smaller group of 8 people including some new ladies from Izama Iyethu in Hout Bay .
Lorin and Grace met in 1997 at the Pan African Market, Cape Town. Lorin was selling her handprinted textiles and Grace was doing char work at the Market. Grace was born in Indwe, a small village in the Transkei. She taught Lorin how to bead on a simple homemade loom - a cardboard tomato box.
Lorin is a textile designer having worked from 1994 - 2001 designing for Mens, Ladies and Girlswear. She designs the beadwork patterns and the members of Queenbead 'bead' them to life. Design influences are a mix of various motifs of the cultures in South Africa - Sotho, Tsonga, Zulu and Xhosa, as well as facial scarification designs of the Dinka people of East Africa. Colour choice is more contemporary based than traditional.
Each member works independently at home and beads and payment are exchanged weekly at central meeting places: bus stops, parking lots, fruit sellers or under the 'big tree' in Nyanga.
In 2003 we were awarded beadwork tender of 'Art in Bedrooms' for new Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town. Two thousand and sixty beadwork panels were produced in three and a half months. There are three to four pieces that hang on walls of each bedroom.
Exhibitions we have been selected to participate in are:
2006 - Design Indaba, Convention Centre, Cape Town
2005 - Design Indaba, Convention Centre, Cape Town
2004 - Buzz Art Exhibition, NSA Gallery, Durban
2004 - Rose Korber "Art Salon at the Bay" Exhibition
2004 - Decorex, Johannesburg
2004 - Finalists in "Freedom (10 years)" Exhibition, facilitated by Cape Craft and Design Institute
2004 - Design Indaba, Convention Centre, Cape Town
2003 - Rose Korber "Art Salon at the Bay" Exhibition
2003 - Southern African Craft Exhibition, US Chamber of Commerce, Washington, sponsored by Kellogg Foundation
2003 - Decorex Cape "World Piece" exhibition
The members of Queenbead have been empowered by this project as most are sole breadwinners. Their dedication and skilled craftsmanship inspires hope.