Monday, 24 August 2015


Styling: Jacqui Moore for Greenhouse Interiors. Photographs: Armelle Habib

Father-daugher duo, Phillip Jones and Kerri Wallace, have shined the light on
hand rolled clay-beaded chandeliers created on a farm in South Africa. With heritage ties to the region they wanted to give back to the community

Klaylife chandeliers shine light on South African community. Australians can now furnish their home with a unique centrepiece, while helping a community in need, thanks to the recent launch of klaylife, an online retail store with plans to expand into selected retail stores.
Klaylife is run by Melbourne-based father-daughter duo Phillip Jones and Kerri Wallace, who import custom-made, clay-beaded chandeliers direct from South Africa.
Each bead is hand-rolled using raw clay from the region; they are then dried, kiln
fired and dip-dyed before being masterfully strung onto its unique wrought iron frame. This handcrafted process ensures no two lights will ever be the same.
Phillip and Kerri, who migrated to Australia from South Africa in 1989, always wanted to maintain their ties with their heritage and find a way to give back to the South African community.
In February 2014, fate came knocking when Kerri stumbled upon an Instagram post of a clay-beaded chandelier, falling in love with the unusual yet stunning creation.
Her efforts to find out more about the product led her to South African native
Merewyn De Heer, who designs and produces the centrepieces from a farm in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

Styling: Jacqui Moore for Greenhouse Interiors. Photographs: Armelle Habib

Styling: Jacqui Moore for Greenhouse Interiors. Photographs: Armelle Habib


“My dad and I had already booked a trip to South Africa, so arranged to meet Merewyn face-to-face to see if there was a way we could work together, and import the chandeliers to Australia to reach a wider audience,” Kerri said.
Kerri and Phillip soon learned that Merewyn, a former advertising executive, gave up her occupation to pursue her passion for design and social responsibility. At the time, however, she hadn’t considered exporting her products to an overseas

“Merewyn’s a brilliant designer and business woman, but she didn’t have any knowledge or experience in importing and exporting. Fortunately, my dad had spent his entire life in the industry, so from there, we entered into a really great partnership,” Kerri said.
Merewyn’s farm is located close to an HIV centre, and wanting to find a way to

help the local HIV impacted women who couldn’t find work due to the stigma attached, offered them employment.
Merewyn’s business started with eight HIV impacted staff; this quickly grew to a team of 65 women of varying backgrounds and circumstances who all want to work for Merewyn to produce the hanging masterpieces.
Every chandelier is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity, in
addition to being fully compliant with Australia’s electrical requirements.
The chandeliers are available to order from the website, and come in a range of
colours and sizes, with a 12 to 16 week turnaround time from order to delivery.
“We hope those looking for a unique and show-stopping centrepiece – whether it
be for a home, hotel or restaurant – will consider klaylife chandeliers as a beautiful
addition to their space,” Phillip said.
“Not only are the chandeliers stunning creations, they go a long way in helping a
small group of South African women be self-sufficient to support their families and
local community.”

Styling: Jacqui Moore for Greenhouse Interiors. Photographs: Armelle Habib

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