Yda W.


As a young girl, I sewed, knitted and block printed. After high school, I traveled the world, and then completed a four year City and Guilds Diploma Course in Textile Printing and Dyeing in London, UK. Upon completing my course, I worked as a freelance textile designer for an agent who sold my designs globally.  I then returned to South Africa where I continued to work for the same agent but became frustrated with never seeing the end product. I would sell my design which was usually a lino or woodblock print printed on paper, and this would be manufactured into fabric which I would never see. I decided to open a textile studio where I would be involved in every part of the process, from the design to the printing. Fifteen years later the studio now employs five people and me- and we make hand silkscreened textile products primarily for the tourism industry in South Africa. I am currently expanding this range for a more global market. 


I begin with a reference – a photograph, text, or some found image, which I then scale up or down, and transfer to lino. I then carve the lino, and print it onto acetate to make a screen print positive. We then expose the positive onto a silkscreen and print it on fabrics. I often include buttons, buckles and hand stitching in the final work.


I reflect what I see around me in my work.  My work has a narrative – whether it is illustrating the wisdom of African proverbs, or showing the vibrancy of places that I have lived in such as Johannesburg, London, New York – the buildings, its street text, its people. I am currently working with a colleague on a project that explores our Jewish heritage and which will be shown in 2016 at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Museum.