It feels incredibly lucky to have come across the work of the team at Gone Rural, as the work produced by this brand is so beautiful that each piece feels like a collector’s item. Founded in Swaziland in the 1970s as a small shop that sold, among other things, local handicrafts Gone Rural now engages 770 artisans across 53 communities. It is with a firm vision to empower rural Swazi women to utilize their traditional creative skills that Gone Rural has grown into an organization that exports its products all over the world.
While Gone Rural is the design brand, there is also a non-profit arm, Gone Rural boMake which was founded by Gone Rural to complement the income generated by the women involved by implementing social programmes that further assist them. The key areas it focusses on are; Education, Health, Community Development, Women’s Empowerment.
The key to the success of Gone Rural is several fold; the Artisan Board made up of community members allows the artisans involvement in planning, product pricing and a say in the direction taken. The key raw materials for the Gone Rural group consist of locally-grown Lutindzi grass, sisal fibre, plus clay, which means that the supply of materials is sustainable. Another essential element is upholding traditional skills, such as weaving but adapting them to have a contemporary relevance, for example by updating product colour schemes or experimenting with product shapes. The dynamism of the organisation means that it is responsive to design trends and consumer demands while retaining an authentic-yet-contemporary aesthetic.
We wish Gone Rural continued success and KuDu is very proud to be a Gone Rural stockist!