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Artist Profile: Abacus

Abacus Beadwork, based in Durban, South Africa, was originally founded in 1985 by Jane Bedford. Jane’s vision was to empower local women through the art of beadwork. Over 20 years later, this vision is continued under the leadership of Mike and Hazel Bartlett.

Although rich in natural beauty and heritage, KwaZulu Natal on the east coast of South Africa, is plagued with unemployment and poverty.

Abacus Beadwork’s workforce consists solely of rural women from the surrounds of Durban, giving them a platform for their beadwork skills, as well as a means to support themselves and their families. The beaders at Abacus Beadwork take traditional Zulu beadwork to new levels by combining traditional skills with contemporary designs, to create jewellery and objects that delight the senses with their richness and colour.