There has been such a change to the feel of Stellenbosch, since my parents originally moved there in 1989. More and more hip coffee shops, restaurants and galleries are opening, making it a fun town to visit. One place I love going back to every year when we visit, is Die Dorpstraat Galery. This is a gallery, as well as a shop and an exhibition space. Lucky for me, that Richard LOVES going there. It’s also a guaranteed place he can run into right before Christmas, buy me a present and just know that I am going to love it!
You can’t help but walk into the shop as soon as you walk by the entrance. There are displays of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery…. it’s just full of good taste.
Although we have been coming here for years, we only started speaking to the owner on this trip. Mike was very passionate when we asked a few questions about the gorgeous beaded necklaces we fell in love with. We then realised that he is the one actually making the necklaces in the shop. He has his own work as well as other local artists displayed in the shop.
Here is our interview with Mike:
Q: When did you open Dorpstraat Gallery, and what was your idea behind opening the shop?
A: The Dorp Street Gallery is the oldest gallery in Stellenbosch. (27 years) I took over in 2008 and changed the look and feel of the gallery to make it more accessible to more people. We introduced a variety of interesting small items, ceramics, sculptures, and interesting pieces of African Trade Bead jewellery. We found that the strings of beads we were buying from different African countries needed some upscaling so we started making a few pieces in the gallery. It was a matter of trial and error in the beginning. Today we are making a wide selection of one off pieces.
Q: Where do you source your materials? From where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
A: I hand pick every item in the gallery and source products from all over Africa. The jewellery pieces we make are all one-offs and unique to us. I get inspiration from the actual beads we buy. I have always love going for “over the top” pieces.
Q: You have your own designs as well as other artists/designers works in your shop. How do you choose which designers you would work with and feature in your shop?
A: After owning the gallery for many years, we have developed a name amongst local designers and artists. Many a time we get offered local designers product due to our selection process exclusivity and location.
Q: Are most of your clients tourists or do you also have many local clientele?
A: We are very lucky to have a good balance local and foreigner customers.
Make sure you stop by when you are next in Stellenbosch!