No. 073 SOFT SCULPTURES BY PETA BECKER PROJEKT
Theme: Simply Beautiful
The whimsical crochet creations of Peta Becker Projekt are not only a delight to behold, but also provide income to 35 women in the Hout Bay area. “By designing products for people who really appreciate beautiful handmade work, we have been able to create a sustainable skills training project that pays women in the area well for their craft,” says Becker.
The irony? Becker has never lifted yarn to hook in her life, and has an innate ‘“horror” of crochet. “I admire people who can crochet, and I love the surface of the textiles that we make,” she explains, adding that, together with the palettes they work in, it gives their work a very African feel.
When it comes to the designs, Becker makes a very loose drawing, which her colleague, Monica Mdimutsa, translates into crochet designs, before training the team on how to make them. “The training programme is unique in that nothing is ever written down,” explains Becker. “These women are star makers. They store how to make every design in their heads, through a process of oral learning and drawings.”
Recently, Becker has turned her own creative outlet to ‘Soft Sculptures’. “Sculpture is in my genes, but I somehow never got it before,” she says, explaining that both her grandfather and father were accomplished in the medium. “It was a very slow dawning, but now I am obsessed.”
Once again, Becker’s sculptures start with a drawing, and are often dictated by the failed bits of crochet lying around the studio that she uses to make them. “I don’t know what I am making until about halfway through the piece,” she says. “I usually have a few on the go at the same time, and I like them to hang around until I consider them finished.”
Of the Projekt, Becker believes there will always be a market for well-made, beautiful products. “We never wanted to make keyrings of the South African flag,” she says. “We wanted to create beautiful items, so the people making them would love what they do, and be committed to the project, and, in return, we would be committed to them.”
100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with @platformcreative. To nominate a beautiful thing, visit