The southern Free State town of Jagersfontein was once famous for its diamonds.
But in the old De Beer’s building just off Jagersfontein’s main road, there is another kind of industry now – Glaasstudio Wire Crafts.
Inside, you will find a modest shop and craftsmen working with lengths of wire, soldering irons and colourful beads.
At Glaasstudio, they make all kinds of desirable objects – little animals, big lizards and beautiful bowls – using a combination of African and French wire techniques.
Trustee Gillian Vermaak started the business with her late husband Naas in 2000. She is an artist and trained draftswoman skilled at turning ideas into artefacts.
In its 15 years of operation, Glaasstudio has developed a reputation for supplying beautifully-made, elegant objects combining wire, beads and glass to outlets in South Africa and abroad.
They also do bespoke work for interior designers and individuals.
Two of the longest-standing employees are Lawrance Legetla and Jim Mafata.
Lawrance started at Glaasstudio in 2000. At the time his only work experience had been doing some piecework – mostly plumbing.
Now he specialises in soldering (and still does some plumbing).
Jim Mafata’s only experience was working with horses when he started at Glaasstudio in 2000. These days you’ll find him handy with almost anything to do with wire.
Glaasstudio uses fair trade principles in its business dealings and has won a number of awards.
To see more of their products, have a look at the Glaasstudio Wire Crafts Facebook page.