All dolled up for bead exhibit

What's On - Durban

WITH an international reputation in the art world, bead jewellery designer Jane Bedford brings her exhibition titled uDoli to the Artisan Gallery on Florida Road. But art lovers better hurry if they want to view this exceptional exhibition as it ends on Saturday. Bedford’s striking photography can also be viewed at the gallery.

The uDoli collection, which comprises 163 dolls, has been sold to a gallery in Paris called As’Art and their exhibition will be held on the November 27. The dolls will go on sale online and at the venue the moment their exhibition opens, so anyone can buy them. They will also be shown at Maison et Objet, the biggest trade show in Paris, in September.

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Examples of Jane Bedfords Udoli collection.Bead jewellery designer and photographer, Jane Bedford.

Chatting about her dolls, Bedford shares: “I wanted to do a project that spanned exactly six months and do something fun that neither I nor my small beading team had ever embarked upon. I obviously had to incorporate beads as that is what we know, and then added telephone wire and material into the mix.”

On her website,, she elaborates on the story of her dolls: “The dolls are often crowned by a big bush of scraggly hair which links them to the iSangoma, the shaman, who has the ability to link the living to their dead. It is the ancestor who controls all life in the community. The dolls strive vertically as a male form, but are supported at all levels with big, voluptuous rings of fertility reminiscent of the queen bees and termites that are considered the ultimate bearers of life. Into this world I have injected my own passion, my own visions, my own creativity and it has given me a chance to develop further as an artist. These are my totems, my personal way of asking the same questions.”

Shape, texture and beauty is all Bedford has ever seen in her surroundings: “Colour vibrates, stimulates and excites me, makes me happy. I am more creative when I stretch myself out of my comfort zone and try new things.”

As for her creative process, the artist says her ideas come from a Creator: “From dreams I am given daily through my ancestors, from my interaction with nature, seeing not only the positive spaces but the negative spaces as well, and always looking for ideas I can pass on to others. Travel is a wonderful source of ideas and if you are constantly looking, you’ll always be rewarded. You just have to ask and the ideas will come pouring in. So my ambition as an artist is to create beauty that is not only satisfying to myself, but to others. To share in my joy of seeing things differently. Basically, to share the gift I have been given with as many as who want to recognise it.”

So what can art lovers expect from uDoli? Bedford hopes people will realise that anything and everything is possible: “You just have to be passionate about what you do and believe in yourself. Not everyone will like everything and some might not like anything, but at least you have been true to yourself, and if some small little aspect resonates and helps another in their quest to express themselves, then it has been worth it.”

• The exhibition runs at the Artisan Gallery until Saturday. Call 031 312 4364.

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