Through Collaboration With Local Artists, Cara Saven Wall Design Transforms Beadwork, Ceramics and Collages Into Exquisite Wallpaper Ranges

Cara Saven Wall Design introduces three new ranges to its CS&Co collection, in collaboration with world-renowned South African bead artists Monkeybiz, ceramicist Martine Jackson and collage artist Karen Stewart. The new ranges herald a fresh approach by the Cape Town-based wallpaper company, turning design objects and constructed abstract art into flat surface designs for the home and hospitality industry.

“We’ve never taken 3D objects and transformed them into 2D wallpaper prints before,” says Cara Saven of the unique concept. In the case of Karen Stewart, the tears, cuts and incisions that form part of her multi-layered collage process become hyper-enhanced in this blown-up version of the work, creating an extremely visually textured wall surface, while the intricate beadwork crafted by the talented collective of women at Monkeybiz is transformed into statement wall features in this unexpected iteration.

“Usually, the beaded panels created by our artists cover three-dimensional forms,” says Monkeybiz Creative Director Ben Orkin. “In my eyes, these panels look and feel like tapestries, and I thought it would be interesting if we patched them together and spread them across a wall.”

Each panel is made by a different artist, adding variety to these colourful wall designs. “Every bead artist has a unique technique and visual perspective, so when the panels come together, they tell a beautiful story,” explains Orkin, who worked with Saven to select the most appropriate patterns.

Martine Jackson for CS&Co
Martine Jackson for CS&Co

“Up close, it is obvious that it is beading,” Saven says of the panel designs, “while from a distance it looks so stunningly graphic.”

The Monkeybiz range for CS&Co also features some of the social beading enterprise’s decorative objects, such as dolls and animals, photographed into flat images that are repeated across a wallpaper design.

“It’s impressive to create something as large-scale as wallpaper with our small pieces, and make a ‘beaded’ wall more accessible in terms of price point,” Orkin adds.

Stewart agrees: “It’s exciting to see my work in super-large scale. I created these bespoke pieces to make a statement, be fun and uplift anyone seeing them. As with a lot of my work, the premise is to spread happiness.” Spring Bling, New Gold Dream and Pink Pop Shop are names of some of the impactful mixed-media artworks designed by Stewart especially for her CS&Co range.

It is a pioneering step for Cara Saven Wall Design to present three-dimensional forms as two-dimensional imagery for wall surfaces, and Saven has found the collaborative process creatively fulfilling. She and Martine Jackson worked together closely to develop two unconventional concepts for the ceramic artist’s CS&Co range. One focuses on materiality and texture, by featuring close-up imagery of three of Jackson’s terracotta sculptures – an idea inspired by Mali’s mud dwellings. The resulting wallpaper conjures a feeling of warmth and a sense of protection, turning the space in which it is used into a comforting environment.

Karen Stewart for CS&Co
Karen Stewart for CS&Co

The second design concept places Jackson’s voluptuous ceramic sculptures in digitally enhanced gallery-like settings. One such design includes the image of an archway, with an oversized ceramic vessel placed before it on a plinth, giving the illusion of a passageway extending beyond the wallpaper. Another digital image presents two of Jackson’s bulbous sculptures resting atop weathered white concrete at the level of clouds wafting through a blue sky.

“Through simple wallpaper application, the home environment is completely transformed into a space that resembles the design of a set or an immaculately curated exhibition,” says Saven. “It allows you to ‘construct’ an entirely new atmosphere in your space.”

Saven launched the CS&Co collection last year, after the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa. The three introductory ranges were by Michael Chandler, Lucie de Moyencourt and Joh Del, artists who live within a 10km radius of Saven’s Cape Town home. With the addition of Monkeybiz, Karen Stewart and Martine Jackson, CS&Co currently features the work of 10 local creatives.

Says Saven, “They’re all artists I love, and to whom I wanted to offer a new platform and new audience, for their work to impact a larger-than-life application beyond the canvas, retail space or gallery. If someone doesn’t own one of their artworks or prints, this becomes another avenue to bring their aesthetic into the home, covering walls in their unique designs.”