Kaross is an embroidery initiative that started in 1989 with five Shangaan embroiders on a citrus farm in Letsitele, Northern Limpopo. Today it offer job opportunities to more than 6000 people.Visual artists Irma van Rooyen, is the creative director and founder of Kaross™. Sitting on a Kaross (blanket) under a Marula tree, five ladies started by embroidering their own stories and that of their community and culture.
The voice of 6000+ local families
Irma’s objective was to create pieces with excellent quality and had this quality-CrartArt approach to handwork ever since. Over the past 20 odd years Kaross became the voice of 6000+ Shangaan people and their families staying in communities in the Letsitele/Giyani area of Limpopo Province. Kaross document the changes in culture this way and at the same time explore presenting heritage in the jacket of modern, marketable products and artworks.
Earning by doing what they love and are good at
Moms working at home positive influence on social fibre of community
Letsitele is the home-ground of the talented and skillful Shangaan/Tsonga people. Kaross™ provides diverse possibilities for local women to capitalize on their rich creative tradition and creates healthy exchange of creative forces among artists. The success of Kaross™ derives from a contract system with the embroiderers. The embroiderer receive cloth, mainly black, with the design pre-drawn onto it, together with a range of cotton-thread. After completing the work at their homes, the worker returns for payment and new work. These embroidered pieces is then made into tablecloths, place mats, cushion covers, wall hangings and bed linen. This way women of the region (and later on men, even tractor drivers on the farms) could stay and work at home and look after their children whilst getting an income at the same time. This has a positive influence on the very fibre of the community.