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Lighting Nov 10, 2020

ReflektSA Lighting: A Celebration of Art & Sustainable Design

 “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Today we chat to Charmaine Gower, artist and visionary at ReflektSA about her lighting sculptures and artistic creations that continue to make an impression on the design industry in South Africa.

Tell us more about yourself… 

I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape. My father could build absolutely anything mechanical. If it was not available for sale, he would make it himself. I like to think I inherited a bit of that from him. My mother knew exactly how to deal with everything that went on in farm life from feeding animals to crop rotation and growing incredible flowers which she sold at markets. I definitely inherited my love of gardening and the earth from her. Growing up, we utilised everything we had, throwing nothing away. Recycling has therefore been a way of life for me since a very early age. I love nature in all it’s forms and find plastic pollution, especially in the oceans, heartbreaking.


Sustainability in design is taking off. What inspires you?

Sustainable design leads to a resourceful way of life. I am inspired when the products of these designs are used in our daily lives, protecting the earth and sustaining its resources. This ensures that the earth can continue to provide humans with sufficient resources for rich, full lives, for generations to come.

Charmaine Gower

Why did you decide to go into the field?

I recycle by making art, it’s something that gives me such joy. I believe that leading by example would encourage people to find their own way to recycle items they normally throw away and in turn become an example to their families and others they may influence to do the same.

What interests you most about recycling?

I have been busy recycling materials into art all my life and always have a couple of projects on the go at one time. Recycling for me is my way of creating something different, beautiful and useful by redirecting the path of the items I use not to the inevitable, easy path to the landfill, but to my workshop instead, where I transform the item into something amazing.



How would you describe your work?

My work is bold and wild, smooth and spiky, tough and durable, unusual and exclusive. Each piece has been put together with many hours of care and attention to detail.

Tell me about the challenges you’ve faced while working with the design elements?

Turning round bottles into strips of plastic requires cutting, heating, drilling, grit, determination and imagination. The best part is assembling all the bits together, screwing in the bulb and switching it on.

Any interesting projects you are currently busy with?

I’m currently working on room dividers/screens, knitting beautiful cushion covers, growing cocktail tomatoes and herbs.

What elements are you working with at the moment?

Metal, plastic, paper and wool.

Contact:  Reflektsa 

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