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Wired: Contemporary Zulu Telephone Wire Baskets [Hardcover]

D. Arment , Marisa Fick-Jordaan , Paul Mikula , Andrew Cerino


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Book Description

1 April 2005
The manufacture and decorative use of wire in Southern Africa traditional arts dates back to the first millennium AD. With advancements in telecommunications, a new type of wire - multi-colored plastic-coated copper wire, often referred to as telephone wire - came into being. Beginning in the late 1960's, Zulu night watchmen started weaving scraps of this wire around their traditional sticks. This new material was also applied to making izimbenge - beer pot covers - that had been traditionally made from grass and palm. Today, there is wide variety in the creative use of this wire, and, in post-Apartheid South Africa, Zulu craft artists are imbuing old forms with the colourful contemporary material of telecommunications. The result is a vibrant, distinctive new folk form gaining international attention. This is the first and only publication to document the development of this transitional art. Including more than two-hundred examples of baskets, this book traces telephone-wire weaving from its roots to its most current forms, featuring the works of the most renowned contemporary weavers. The accompanying text - from some of the foremost experts in African art and craft - traces the history of telephone-wire weaving as well as discussing its significance to South African culture and art history. Today telephone wire baskets are at the heart of growing markets for South African products and sustainable cultural industry in Zululand.

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About the Author

Dallas based art collector David Arment spent many years travelling in Africa, and bought his first telephone wire basket in 1992. He has since built one of the premier collections of telephone-wire baskets by contemporary master weavers Marisa Fick-Jordaan is the founder of the Bartel Arts Trust (BAT) Shop in Durban, South Africa. A designer and craft development consultant, through the BAT Shop she plays a pivotal role in the development of international markets for telephone wire baskets. Paul Mikula is a Durban, South Africa based architect who was the first local patron and collector of Zulu telephone wire weaving. A founding trustee of the Bartel Arts Trust (BAT) he is also the owner of the Phansi Museum which houses a comprehensive collection of South African indigenous artefacts.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, great information! 13 April 2005
By basketsofafrica.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an extremely high quality "art book" which will be at home on any coffee table or in any library of people interested in baskets, Africa or any indigenous arts and crafts. The photographs are outstanding, the paper weight feels wonderful in your hand, it's a very well produced volume. I especially enjoyed the introduction by Paul Mikula which gave a great context for how difficult the baskets are to weave and spoke to the history of the weaving from more of the standpoint of the Zulu people. I have been carrying these types of baskets for over 3 years now and there has been a big void in the world for information on these baskets. This book fills the void plus some! Thanks to the authors for a great information source!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE This Book 10 April 2005
By Trisha Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just got a copy of this book and it is extraordinary!!! I travel to South Africa frequently and have several telephone wire baskets. I often wondered who made these baskets, and how they were connected to traditional African baskets and crafts. Well, this book answers my questions and more. The history is well written, including a GREAT foreword by Karel Nel, THE expert on South African art. In addition, the book gives the artist's their due, highlighting 14 weavers (or should I say artists), with their personal story and images of their work. I can now identify baskets in my collection, some by these weavers. This is a book you will love.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous and Important Reference Work 6 April 2005
By Harry Greiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book documents a marvelously vital art form and is itself a beautiful work of art. It is obviously expensively produced and carefully executed. The jacket, the cover , the paper, everything about it is absolutely first rate. An informative and very entertaining documentation of this fascinating art form. The photography by Andrew Cerino and the well known interiors photographer Peter Vitale is brilliant and voluptous (the color reproduction is astonishing).

I couldn't be happier with it and I think it will soon be a very valuable and much sought-after reference source.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great New Book on Zulu Telephone Wire 10 April 2005
By Jim Rimelspach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book on the Zulu art of making baskets out of colorful telephone wire. Not only is this a fascinating collection of images that jump off the pages, but it gives this art form its due. The use of wire in sub-Saharan Africa is explained and adds some historic context to this contemporary art form. The development of this form by the pioneers of the craft - the true night watchmen, is also documented here for the first time. The book also highlights the masters of this art form, with some personal history and images of each person's work. This is a highly recommended addition to you collection of books on African Art.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Richter 18 May 2005
By C. Richter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Wired is a beautifully produced book from cover to cover. This extraordinary art form is depicted eloquently in text and photos and is the perfect addition to any art book collector's library. I found Mr. Arment's historic representation of the craft to be informative and the featured artisan weaver's stories to be both compelling and personal. The contemporary design, exquisite photography and high quality of production contribute to an outstanding book.
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