We met her a few years ago at Capetown’s annual Design Indaba, a design show that attracts exciting exhibitors from all over Southern Africa and is truly a hot-bed of creativity. For CO, it was a perfect fit. Ronel Jordaan’s work is contemporary, functional and beautiful backed up by a sophisticated understanding of the concept of sustainability to which she is firmly committed.
Inspired by the eloquence and serenity of nature, Ronel uses pure South African merino wool to create, completely by hand, her collection of felt rock cushions, pebble carpets and textiles. We sell her rock cushions and ottomans to dedicated fans all over North America. They are sublime. With no stitches they look just like beautiful rocks.
She is committed to practicing fair trade and all her pieces are made with an eye to environmental and social responsibility. And job creation is at the forefront of her business. Her workshop is staffed by people from local communities whom she has personally trained and several of whom are now felters of international standing.
Ronel Jordaan’s business is a success story. In May of this year industry editors at New York’s Contemporary Furniture Fair awarded her the very prestigious Editors’ Choice Award as the best of this year’s exhibitors in the textile category.
Ronel Jordaan (Source: Design Network Africa)
Achieving this level of success is no mean feat, particularly given the added mandate that she imposes on herself and her production to employ sustainable processes. Yet she has made it work without compromising on her design or sacrificing quality. Read on to learn a just a little bit more about this very inspiring designer.
Galerie CO: What is your current state of mind?
Ronel Jordaan: Filled with happiness.
Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?
Ronel: To be able to constantly produce ethical, eco friendly designs and products, and to manifest growth.
Galerie CO: What was your first artistic creation?
Ronel: A drawing of a teddy bear.
Galerie CO: What is your favourite work of art?
Ronel: A painting done by a friend Zak de Villiers.
Galerie CO: What kind of weather makes you feel the most creative?
Ronel: All kinds of weather. It is pressure that is my best friend when designing.
Galerie CO: What keeps you busy when you’re not working/designing/creating?
Galerie CO: Who is your favourite designer?
Ronel: Campana Brothers
Brazil’s Campana Brothers. (Source: Galerie CO via brazilianfurnituredesign.com)
Galerie CO: What is your favourite meal?
Ronel: Mozambique Prawns, on the beach, over a basic grill.
On the beach in Mozambique (Source: Ronel Jordaan)
Galerie CO: What is your most treasured possession?
Ronel: My son’s wedding ring. He and his wife were killed in a car crash.
Galerie CO: What do you most value in your friends?
Ronel: Listening and always being supportive.
Galerie CO: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Ronel: Having a glass of wine at sunset in the bush veld.
Galerie CO: What is your greatest extravagance?
Ronel: Art purchases. I have no more wall space!
Galerie CO: What is your favourite city?
Ronel: Lalibella, Ethiopia.
Galerie CO: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Ronel: Creating employment.
Galerie CO: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Ronel: Being able to concentrate. My mind forever wonders.
Galerie CO: What is your motto?
Ronel: Carpe Diem.
Galerie CO: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Ronel: Ja nee. Only South Africans will understand.
Ronel: So difficult but… the life size wire gazelle.