The MarketPlace•Shop is where you’ll find a selection of unique items made with love and care using unusual fabrics or art techniques. South Africans are a creative lot and we love discovering artists and craftspeople who produce handmade products that are different and not something you’d find in a retail shop.
Let’s look at some of the unique gifts you’ll find on our online shopping site and what makes them special.
Unique bags made using shweshwe fabric
SeShweshwe is a uniquely southern African printed and dyed cotton fabric. It’s widely used to make traditional clothing and is instantly recognisable by its striking colours and intricate geometric patterns.
The name shweshwe is derived for the fabric’s association with the ruler of Lesotho, King Moshoeshoe I. His name is also spelt Moshweshwe, hence the origin of the fabric’s name. French missionaries gave King Moshoeshoe the fabric in the 1840s and its popularity over time grew.
Clothing made from shweshwe fabric is traditionally worn by newly-married Xhosa women and married Sotho women. Xhosa women also like to incorporate the shweshwe fabric into their traditional blanket clothing.
Today, shweshwe fabric is entrenched in the South African culture and used to make anything from party dresses and traditional skirts to aprons, wraparound tunics and headgear. It’s also widely used to create beautiful bags, placemats and tablecloths.
Shweshwe fabric is manufactured using a roller-printing technique on pure cotton calico. Colours range from original indigo, chocolate brown and red with a large variety of designs, including florals, stripes, diamonds, squares and geometric patterns.
Beware of buying cheap imitations of shweshwe fabric. The genuine product can be recognised by its distinctive feel, smell, taste and sound.
Unique reusable shopping bags which help support underprivileged women
ReThink Bags (soon to be Bag Ladies) sold by The MarketPlace•Shop are not only pretty and highly practical, they help support underprivileged women in rural Western Cape and help raise awareness of the dire problem of plastic pollution in the region.
ReThink Bags was an initiative created to do two things; to create reusable shopping bags to cut down on the use of plastic supermarket bags, and to provide much-needed income for young women who have not had the opportunity to finish school and further their education.
The founder of ReThink Bags shared her sewing skills with local women in the community and eventually they were creating beautiful and functional reusable shopping bags. Today, sewing is just one of the skills that the women learn through the initiative. They learn everything from computer skills, driving lessons, business management, finance planning and marketing. The ReThink Bags business model is designed to be sustainable so the women involved are not dependent on donations and donor funding.
Even though the reusable shopping bags weigh virtually nothing, they can carry heavy weights and do not tear because they’re made from Ripstop. You can wash them, dry them in a few minutes and fold them away in your handbag for your next shopping trip.
By buying ReThink Bags, you’ll never pay for another plastic bag at a supermarket again which is what we need to save our country from the scourge of plastic pollution. ReThink Bags also make veggie bags you can use to carry your loose veggies and fruit in so you don’t have to use those flimsy plastic bags provided at the fruit and veggies section in a supermarket.
Unique clocks made using acrylic fluid art painting technique
The MarketPlace•Shop offers a range of clocks that are made using the acrylic fluid art painting technique. It’s also known as fluid art, liquid art or acrylic pouring. Basically, abstract masterpieces are created using acrylic paint that has a runny consistency, where it is “spilt’ across a surface.
The artist mixes different acrylic colours with a pouring medium and uses different techniques to create different effects on canvas or board. The paint is not applied with a brush, rather it is poured directly onto the canvas. Let the paint flow and change direction and before you know it, you have psychedelic abstract artwork that’s colourful and unique.
Find what you’re looking for online
The Marketplace•Shop is a leading online craft shop in South Africa. We offer the best unique gifts at affordable prices.
Whether you are looking for a creative, local, "made with love" gift for a Birthday, Mother's day, Father's day, or a gift for anyone special in your life, have a look at our wide variety of Proudly South African handmade gifts. The MarketPlace•Shop is the best site to buy gifts for hobby addicts at reasonable prices.
Like what you see but not ready to check out yet? Add it to your wishlist and continue your shopping spree.
If you are wondering where to sell your one of a kind gifts, contact us to find out more how you can promote your homemade products and gifts on the best online craft shop in South Africa. The MarketPlace•Shop is always looking for unique gifts that are handmade by local artists in South Africa. These three products are only the tip of the iceberg of the incredible talent and the depth of artistic skills that we come across on our travels through South Africa.
We offer nationwide delivery to your door, because we know you can’t wait to get your hands on the perfect gift.