Made In Riebeek – the local arts & crafts initiative sharing the handiwork of the Valley’s talented makers

Made In Riebeek – the local arts & crafts initiative sharing the handiwork of the Valley’s talented makers

One thing is for sure – the Riebeek Valley is chockful of extremely talented people.

We don’t know whether our twin hamlets attract creative people because it’s so beautiful out here, or whether it’s so beautiful out here because there are so many creative humans in the mix. Regardless, the results are just astonishing.

To this end, the Riebeek Valley Tourism team has decided that it’s time to showcase all the amazing things the makers in our region are up to. The result? MIR, as we affectionately refer to Made in Riebeek – our brand-new local arts & crafts initiative that shares the handiwork of the Valley’s talented makers in one convenient spot.

We recently checked in with MIR convener, Zani Brits, to find out where the idea came from, how things are going, and what visitors and residents can expect to find at Made in Riebeek.

“The idea for Made in Riebeek was loaned from Made in Tulbagh, a similar platform that is managed by a passionate Tulbagh local named Gail. We got in touch with her after enjoying a lot of success with Gallery 7 on Plein, which was started by the Riebeek Valley Tourism Board as a platform for up-and-coming artists and emerging crafters from the Valley to showcase their beautiful wares,” Zani explains.

When parts of the Riebeek Valley Tourism building that was previously occupied by other tenants became available, the team decided it was time to put it to good use. They met up with Gayle to see if she would be happy if they followed in the slipstream of her concept, and she was only too happy that another region would benefit from this type of initiative as well.

“The basic idea is to create an opportunity for artists who aren’t quite ready to exhibit in big galleries to show their work in a safe space. However, aside from fine artists, of which we are very fortunate to have many in Riebeek, there are also other creative folks around doing crafts and creating beautiful things on a small scale.

“These talented men and women don’t necessarily currently have the turnover to warrant a storefront, but still need a space to showcase and sell their wonderful wares. This is where MIR comes in!”

And so, the Riebeek Valley Tourism team set to work to do some shopfitting, design a logo and create online marketing channels to get things up and running.

“We will be launching MIR this weekend (1 – 3 April 2022) in conjunction with First Fridays, with this month’s theme being ‘shop local, eat local’. We want to drive home the notion that when you buy from a local maker, you are making a direct impact on the livelihood of a person and a family, rather than a big corporation. You want to help people in our community to thrive,” says Zani.

Shoppers can look forward to a fantastic selection of arts and crafts, including jewelry, ceramics, greeting cards, woodwork items, smaller artworks, and handmade toys. Further exciting products are also in the pipeline, including a range of Riebeek Valley merchandise that will include T-shirts and other branded items that will make lovely keepsakes for visitors.

As an NPO, the tourism board only charges a nominal fee to staff the premises, provide packaging, upkeep the venue and promote MIR. They are also working closely with locals to enable people from within the Riebeek Valley community to earn a sustainable income.

“Our current community project is run in collaboration with five ladies from Riebeek East (Esterhof), who are supported to develop crochet products that will be sold under the MIR label. This includes a range of contemporary crochet items such as place mats and wine bags crafted from high quality cottons and wool,” Zani enthuses.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Feel free to get in touch with our team if you would like to learn more. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Riebeek Valley Tourism Facebook page and Instagram account to keep up to date with the latest news and happenings in our area.

For direct social access to MIR, follow Made in Riebeek on Facebook and Instagram as well. This is where you will get the news fresh from the vine.