The world is a place of finite resources. And Burundi, as a small, land-locked country, is a nation of limited means.
At Kaz’O’zah Art we try to use, as much as possible, locally sourced and sustainable materials in the items our artisans produce. Not only that, we try to recycle and reuse materials where we can. Some of our artisans have even been ‘up-cycling’! You may have heard about the ‘up-cycling’ movement – the practice of reusing and repurposing almost anything - fabric, furniture, cars, building materials - into something new, inspired and useful. A wooden crate becomes a table, an old dress becomes a curtain. The movement tries to work against rampant consumerism, convenience purchasing and the ‘throw-away’ mindset. It is about taking something that could easily be discarded and giving it a new life.
In the spirit of reusing, recycling and upcycling, Kaz’O’zah Art jewelry-makers take Kitenge fabric off-cuts, left over from the creation of Kaz’O’zah Art’s fashion pieces, and make them in to stunning necklaces. The fabric is cut using a coin as a stencil and threaded onto fishing line or wire. Beads are often added to create a stunning design. This use of left over fabric cuts down on waste and gives a new life to what would otherwise be unused fabric. On top of all of this, the technique is a simple one. These necklaces can be made by untrained artisans, allowing them to start earning an income straight away while they train to master other, more complex techniques.
Kitenge fabric off-cuts are also used to create Kaz'O'zah Art's professional business product range. It is rare that an entire length of Kitenge is used for fashion pieces. What is left can be used to create striking fabric details on semi-leather notebook, passport and cheque covers.
Shoes are also upcycled at Kaz’O’zah Art. Clients can bring in their old shoes, have them covered in beautiful Kitenge fabric and be given a new lease on life. Of course new pairs can be created for clients as well. Kaz’O’zah Art sources new shoes from the local market here in Bujumbura, and then professionally covers them in Kitenge, creating a one of a kind pair of shoes.
We and our artisans are always looking for new and innovative ways to reuse and recycle materials and produce new designs. If you have any ideas we would love to hear them! Write to us here on the website, or send us a message on Facebook – Kaz’O’zah Art – A bright future for Burundian artisans.