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How CraftArt.Africa was born

By Sue Heathcock

It all started with a market. Not just any market. The Craft Market at Spier has become known as a specialist market where you can find some of the best of each genre within the craft art sector. It’s where discerning overseas visitors come every year to add to their collection of bead and wire animal heads, recycled metal or random wire creations, original paintings or driftwood sculptures. Other visitors stock up on smaller pieces as inspiring gifts and buy jewellery or clothing for a touch of Afro-chic style.


In its 20 years of trading the market has always been seasonal, opening at the end of September and closing at the beginning of May – Cape winters with their much-needed rainstorms don’t favour open-air trading! The idea of an online shop to help our artists maintain an income through winter has been a dream for several years. It took a pandemic to move the idea from the drawing board to actuality. Having to close two months before the end of our season, leaving our artists and ourselves facing more than six months without sales (and who knows when our new season will be able to start and our much-appreciated overseas visitors return!) made us determined to make it happen.

Two months, we thought - two months to get a small selection of products showcased in a ‘bijou’ gallery. Well the idea grew and grew. It’s been four months in the making, but we now have a fully functional online shop with many more products than originally planned. We’ll be adding more of our artists and more products from other parts of the country as we go, so there will always be something new to browse. Our vision is to be a national showcase, sharing the opportunity with as many artists, makers and designers as possible.


We hope that CraftArt.Africa gives you a small taste of the experience of wandering the market on a sunny summer day in the dappled shade of tall trees. For those of you who had to cut short or cancel a holiday to South Africa, maybe you will find that special piece of handmade art you would have brought home with you. If you travel to South Africa regularly and wish you could fit more into your suitcase, problem solved! For those still dreaming of a visit, experience some of our country’s energy through the eyes of our artists. And for locals, enjoy some of our best handmade craft and art without having to venture out.