About the artist - Nadja Shields

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 !!!





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