About the artist - Nadja Shields
The name ‘Imbali’ was borrowed from the Siswati language and has two meanings: It is the word for ‘flower’ but is also - quite befittingly - the word for young Swazi maidens that gather once a year for a special ceremony held for the king of Swaziland. This was the perfect name hence ‘Imbali Crafts’ was named.
My family has always been a very crafty lot. Some of my fondest memories as a little girl are spending many blissful hours making Christmas decorations, mask sculptures and paintings with my mum and gran. I first learned about macrame at school and my first project was - you guessed it - a macrame pot hanger! But it was not until I moved to Swaziland, in Southern Africa, many years later that I discovered micro macrame. On one of my numerous visits to one of the fabulous local markets I saw a Swazi woman weaving the most beautiful handiwork. It turned out the be a beaded ceremonial piece worn by the young Imbali while partaking in the Swazi umhlanga reed dance. I was inspired by the colourful African art and began to develop my own style, learning as I went along. I believe that handmade jewellery is special because each piece is unique and can capture part of the creators spirit.
I loved (and still do!) using natural materials for my projects and sourced these wherever I could. I taught myself as best as possible, but often had frustrating moments where I could simply not figure out how to make a specific pattern or style. A few years on, with this in mind, I decided to make guides for like minded ‘knotters’ that want to create their own unique jewellery pieces. Teaching others this wonderful craft is something I truly enjoy, so I hope you will have fun working with my classes. You can also tune in to Jewellery maker for live shows where I will be teaching alongside many very talented artists. To see when I am on just take a look at the programme guide.
Happy Crafting !!!