End of Year Summer Day Out

Yesterday we had our annual End-of-year summer day out in Hout Bay. It was a truly Recreate affair with some Bethel-inspired impromptu rubbish collection, coffee in a container and a recycled art workshop visit.

The team (plus Bethel, Admire’s son, and unfortunately minus Sive, who left for the Eastern Cape the day before) met up at Mariner’s Wharf at the Hout Bay Harbour and had a quick walk down the pier to scope for some seals.

Having missed our morning coffee, we couldn’t resist a quick cup at Muriel’s Munchies; a café, with a deck, made out of a shipping container. Then we visited the sculpture workshop and galleries behind the Hout Bay Market. A lot of the work created in these spaces is recycled from found objects, with some truly inspiring life-size animals made out of scrap metal and little driftwood creatures.

We picked up some fish and chips from the famous Fish on the Rocks and took them takeaway to the beach where we set up a picnic.

Bethel then got us all involved in making sandcastles. Katie showed him how to use a shell for a window and then Bethel started collecting discarded straws to decorate his castle. That got us all started; a quick round of picking out the pieces of plastic and glass shining in the sand.

Of course, a swim, and then a sleepy Bethel on the drive home; the mark of a successful day out!

Interview: Phanny Mangwiro | Bottle Cap Craft

Phanny Mangwiro is the creator and owner of Bottle Cap Craft. Phanny came over to the studio for an interview where we got to know a little bit more about his life and design practice.

Phanny, thank you for coming today! To start off with, where were you born?
I was born in Zimbabwe, on the 1st of the 1st, 1957. I grew up in Zimbabwe and I was a soldier in the army from 1974 to 1998.

Can you tell me about your experience of being a soldier?
I wanted to be a soldier, it was my choice. My first wish was to defend my country.  I also got to travel to Mozambique, Kenya, Somalia and Angola during my service.

What did you do after your service?
I worked for a progressive insurance company in Zim, which is where I learned about trading; about buying and selling goods in order to make a profit.

It was in 2002 (by now I have three children, two girls and one boy), that I came up with a good idea. The Zim dollar was becoming a problem at this time, as our currency was becoming useless. I was working for a salary and on commission in Zimbabwe but I was struggling to pay for my children’s education and to support my family.

So what was your good idea!?
When I thought of coming to South Africa to work, I realized that I couldn’t work with my papers, but I could buy and resell. So I began to buy art in Zimbabwe and bring it back to South Africa to resell it here to the art market. I realized I was wasting a lot of money on transporting the goods, so in 2003 I started to make the goods here.

What brought about your use of recycled materials?

I began to use the bottle caps in 2005 because the beads were so expensive. I wanted to find a way to make money without buying and then I found the bottle tops. Using recycled materials firstly reduced the cost of production and then created a brand new product.

I used to buy the wire to join the bottle tops but I wanted my product to be recycled completely. I wanted the whole product to be recycled. So now I get the wire from the scrapyard.

Photo: Eric Miller

How do you come up with your ideas?
I do a lot of reading; magazines and books. While I was in the army I read books to keep myself inspired. I am also inspired by people!

Where do you work from?
I work from home. If I get a big order I have some guys that I have trained and they work for me.

When did you begin creating art and design?
I have a background in art from when I was younger. During my time in the army I would help artists with their beading work as I enjoyed working with my hands.

Have you had any help in growing your business?
In 2010 I joined the CCDI (The Craft and Design Institute) and they taught me how to improve my way of selling, to perfect my product and how to better market my product.

What are your aims with your business?
I want to show younger people that you are able to work for yourself. I also want people to support local.

Thank you Phanny for sharing your story with us!

Meet The Team

Have you met the quirky characters behind Recreate?

Katie Thompson

~ Founder, Owner, Interior Designer ~

The Recreate team is led by interior designer, Katie Thompson. After graduating with distinction from the Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town, Katie went on to gain valuable experience of the design, furniture and fabric industry in London. Upon her return to Cape Town, she founded Recreate in order to explore her new-found passion for finding the hidden beauty and potential purpose of the many abandoned items she found while engaging in her favourite pastime: vintage treasure hunting. As a true perfectionist, innovator and remarkably enthusiastic hoarder, Katie’s natural flair for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary is apparent in each and every piece of functional art she recreates.

Admire Muzvidziwa

~ Workshop Manager ~

As the head of Recreate’s small workshop team, Admire can generally be found with his hands full of odds and ends and a large smile on his face. Originally from Zimbabwe, Admire joined Recreate in 2010 and has kept it running on schedule ever since. This multitasking-extraordinaire is always organized, efficient and friendly with a true passion for his work. Every product that goes through his workshop gets the best treatment and receives the highest standard of quality workmanship.

Sive Nthebe

~ Workshop Assistant ~

Originally from Tabase in the Eastern Cape, Sive joined Recreate in 2016. As Admire’s capable right-hand-man, he ensures that all of our orders are processed on time and that each of the heirlooms we receive are well taken care of while they are being recreated. Sive is a quiet yet cheerful addition to the Recreate team and we are always impressed by his ability to remain cool, calm and collected under pressure.

Alexandra Kaczmarek

~ Photographer, Content Manager ~

After completing a year of graphic design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Alex transferred to the University of Cape Town and graduated with a Fine Art Honours Degree in 2016. Since joining the Recreate team in May 2017, Alex has proven to be a valuable asset to the company and continues to amaze us with her creativity, her strong work ethic, and her impressive eye for detail.

Mama Gi

~ Administration, Inspiration ~

As the saying goes, behind every great woman stands her mother. Gigi Thompson has been involved in Recreate since its inception. Dotter of I’s and crosser of T’s, Mama Gi keeps our books in order, makes sure all the paperwork is filed and, like any good mother, makes sure that we’re all happy and fed. Always available for an emergency delivery or an emergency chat, Gigi is truly invaluable to the Recreate team.

Year End Beach Outing – 2016

Our Recreate team may be small but we are not too young for traditions! Our end of year beach outing has become a much anticipated tradition over the past few years and this December 2016 we had another fantastic day!

On the way to the beach, we stopped off for a coffee and some exploring!
Admire and Michelle
Team Recreate (& Admire’s son) head to the Beach
Mama Gigi & Admire’s son, Bethel, go swimming
Picnic lunch before we go swimming
A happy sleepy team on the way home!

Season Opening Hours


We’re almost at the end of 2016 and this year has flown by. We wish you all happy holidays!

Our studio hours will be as follows over the festive season:

OPEN – Friday, 16th December  9am – 3pm
OPEN – Saturday, 17th December 9am – 3pm
CLOSED – Saturday, 24th December
CLOSED – Monday, 26th December
CLOSED – Tuesday, 27th December
CLOSED – Saturday, 31st December
CLOSED – Monday, 2nd January
OPEN & BUSINESS AS USUAL – Tuesday, 3rd January 9am – 4:30pm

Good Taste Magazine 2016

Hilary from Good Taste magazine wrote a brilliant article about  South African designers who have taken going green to a new level, and we are one of them! Thanks for the great write up. See the article below.




Upcycled Keyboard Magnets

Have you seen what we create with your EWaste at our Cape Town studio?

Firstly, we source the broken old keyboards from an Ewaste facility that looks something like this:

Image credit: http://ewasteguide.info/location/south_africa

After stripping and cleaning the keyboards, we glue a sturdy magnet to each key by hand. Here our magnets are drying overnight:


Next we package and label the keyboard magnets.  Each glass jar contains 1 full keyboard of magnets! Perfect to organise your fridge or office white board.

keyboard magnets label

We are left with these bins of keyboard cases which we then return to the E waste depo.


They are crushed and bundled and remade into plastic used for clothing and toys.


Our glass jars of keyboard magnets are sold in our Cape Town Studio, sold on our website and available from some of Cape Towns quirkiest gift stores.

So now you know the story of our fantastic keyboard magnet jars!

Happy Womans Day


Mail on Sunday – London

We made an appearance in Mail on Sunday in London. Gold seems to be the trend this month. W

What are your thoughts?

uk star

Pinterest Boards

So we’re finally REALLY on Pinterest!


We’ve always had an account but never really made the time and effort… but we’re slowly getting the hang of it and want you to be inspired by what inspires us. Follow and pin along if you dare! It’s a bit addictive!

Being “ecofriendly” – Easy as 1,2,3 & A,B,C

right order of reuse reduce recycle

STEP ONE: REDUCE – consider if you really need something or not.

STEP TWO: REUSE – consider buying re-usable or returnable items and packaging. Avoid disposable items. This places importance on ‘eco-procurement’.

Once you have considered how you can reduce and reuse,then look at recycle


Some municipalities offer recycling bags or bins for kerbside collection. Some communities have private businesses that will pick up your recyclables for a fee. But nearly all South African neighbourhoods have an army of informal recyclers working hard to process our waste. Whichever recyclers are collecting from you, give them a hand.

STEP THREE (A): SEPARATE & DECONTAMINATE – valuable paper and corrugated cardboard becomes worthless if dirty. Dirty recyclable materials produce odours in your recycling bin and spoil paper and cardboard. Toss cheesy pizza boxes into the rubbish. Give cans and bottles a quick rinse and leave the lids off since they may be made of a different recyclable material. Vases and drinking glasses belong in the rubbish. They will contaminate the recycling of jars and bottles because they are made from different glass.

STEP THREE (B): ACCUMULATE – recyclables that are heavy or low in value, such as glass or newspapers, may not get collected at the kerbside. They’re still worth recycling, however. Save them up until you have a load to carry to a recycling bank.

STEP THREE (C): LOCATE – use the resources below to find the nearest drop-off locations. MyWaste has locations for a wide variety of recyclables, including unusual items such as car batteries and used cooking oil. For bottles, cans and paper, it may help to check MyWaste in combination with the other websites for those items, since the lists on all websites are often incomplete.

Saturday Star – Independent Home

We’ve been featured in The Saturday Star Independent Home supplement.

independant home

What is the difference between upcycling and recycling?

Upcycling. Recycling. We’ve heard these words often, but do we know what they mean?

diff btwn upcycle and recycle

Recycling. We know this is when we take something that we might have discarded as waste, and putting it back into “the cycle” to reuse. Recycled plastic. Recycled paper. However in the case of recycling the materials undergo a physical change to become something useful again – and most times this is done at a chemical plant.

Upcycling. This is when useless products are processed and worked on to become better quality or have a higher environmental value. Usually this means the original item is not degraded or destroyed to achieve a new function.

While we do recycle at REcreate, both at home and at the studio, the work that we do and our products that we product fall under “upcycling”. We love how the great people at Intercongreen  explain the differences and also why upcycling plays an important role in our world of “green”.

Leave us a comment on how you recycle and upcycle at home.

Creative Walk

Here at Recreate, we try to get out and get inspired as much as we can… This week we went for a stroll in and around Cape Town CBD, saw a few things, collected some stuff and went and had a bit of fun with it in the workshop. Sometimes inspiration is just outside your front door… Go find your inspiration!




Our local South African fabric collection

The new local fabrics we have discovered this year have made us more excited than ever to grow our collection of locally designed and printed fabrics.

Some of the collections on display at our studio include Maradadhi, Fabric Nation and Design Team. All the fabrics are designed and printed locally, ranging from R250 to R600 per metre

All of the fabrics are suitable for upholstery, cushions, blinds and soft furnishings. Chat to us about using them in your home.

fabric-board3 fabric-board-2 fabirc4d d board-1

What is regenerated cotton?

regenerated cotton

Regenerated Cotton is an innovative recycled fibre.

An estimated 40% of cotton that is grown is wasted between its harvest in the cotton field and the manufacturing of a finished garment, equalling approximately 1.2 billion pounds (roughly 6 00 000 tons) of cotton fibre which is disposed of by spinning mills, weavers and fabric manufacturers every year. This pre-consumer “waste” goes directly into landfills and contributes to the formation of leachate as it decomposes, which has the potential to contaminate both surface and groundwater sources.

Image from Serendipitousscavenger

Using scraps of new cotton cloth left over from clothing manufacture waste, this process is called cotton “regeneration” because it creates new yarn from pre-consumed fabric that is otherwise bound for the incinerator.

eco cotton cycle2
Image source here, here, here and here

You’re helping diminish the amount of waste going into landfills as well as saving all the water, chemicals, incinerator emissions, electricity, sewage and transportation energy it would take to make the same things from virgin cotton.

These Eco Cottons are available from Recreate in over 20 varying colourways. Chat to us about using them in your interiors for upholstery or soft furnishings.


We’re in Italy!

dentroCASA is a monthly magazine of furniture, art and culture, a stylish and colorful publication, effective in “telling and photograph” the diverse world of living.

We love the spread we’ve been included in. What a great eye these Italians have :) 
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