Getting creative at Cape Craft Centre

Staff of the Cape Craft Centre are, from left, volunteers Elma de Almeide and Sharon Levers; Mathilda Lourens-Visser who runs the admin; volunteers Martha van Zyl and Leentie Feirreira; founders Rozanne Visagie and Marie van der Watt; and seated is Anne-Maré Swanepoel

The Cape Craft Centre gives women free arts-and-crafts training so they can explore their creative side and even make a small living selling their handmade goods.

Based in Table View, the centre welcomes people from surrounding areas to its weekly classes that include painting, drawing, needlework, crocheting, woodwork, knitting and more.

At the Leibrandt Van Niekerk Hall, where the group meets, silver tins, assorted materials, glues, paints, sticks and more are spread on a table.

Today the women are learning how to beautify a tin that can be used to hold stationery, kitchen utensils or anything else for that matter.

At the far end of the hall, is a small table of treats brought by some of the women.

Marie van der Watt, a retired arts teacher from Parklands, runs the project with Rozanne Visagie, the founder of the I Will Be Your Voice non profit organisation, who is”behind the scenes” .

The women hope to grow the group and find a permanent venue for classes, sewing machines, carpentry tools and pottery ovens.

The ideal option, Ms Van der Watt said, would be an old house in Table View they could renovate or municipal land where a community centre could be build.

“If crafters can sit and work here and display and sell their goods in a small shop, that could be open to the public and tourists, it would be a big incentive to produce wares of good quality and workmanship,” she said.

“I have all sorts of materials and even sewing machines that have been donated to the centre, but these things are sitting on my stoep.

“We need a venue where we will be able to use machines and be able to lock things up.”

The women said they would like to start a small organic vegetable garden and a coffee shop once they have a more permanent set-up.

“This will not only bring in some extra income for the project with which materials can be bought, but would also be another job-creation opportunity,” said Ms Van Der Watt.

Another future goal is for the centre to work with the homeless in the area, giving them arts-and-crafts classes. The centre has between 20 to 30 members, but not everyone shows up every week. Sally Scott sits at the painters’ table surrounded by brushes, pencils and paper. Head bowed over her watercolour, the retired bookkeeper describes the enjoyment her weekly visits give her. She hasn’t missed a class since joining a year ago.

“Someone in my complex was coming and as soon she said there were art classes I said I’m coming,” she said.

Look for the Cape Craft Centre on Facebook or call Ms Van Der Watt at 071 606 4221 or Mathilda Lourens-Visser on 082 927 3654 or email Rozanne Visagie on