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Carol Morris - A handwoven success

Carol is the owner and founder of Barrydale Handweavers, a company she started after becoming fascinated with the art of handweaving while she was still living in Swaziland 30 years ago. With the help of master weaver, Tivane Mavuma, she built the retail shop in Barrydale as well as a fully functioning factory with altogether 22 employees. These handmade textiles are filled with emotion and sentimentality and it took some hard work for Carol to reach her level of success. What most people do not know about her, is that she also used to be a dancer…

“I was a professional dancer back in the day. When I was little, all I wanted to do was ballet, ballet, ballet. Then I got into a company, and I was there for a couple of years. Then I toured Europe doing cabaret. 

“I did the ballet company when I was 8 up until I was 17 or 18 years old. Then I did a bunch of musicals in South Africa, back in the day. They were these big musicals that would go on for a whole year in various cities. Then I did the cabaret in a company. At that time, I was 22. 

“I then decided to come back to South Africa, because I had met somebody. We had some kids. Then I got divorced and lived in Swaziland. Now I am here in Barrydale. 

Carol Morris, the owner of Barrydale Handweavers, in her factory in the Overberg town of Barrydale
The handwoven products from Carol Morris's Barrydale Handweavers

“I think the art side of things always attracted me... I'm an art groupie."

“I have three successful, fabulous children. My youngest child is crazy about horse riding, and she lives in Swaziland still. She rides representing Swaziland cross country. She’s really good. She’s also the world’s best housewife: she can bake, cook, even from a young age. She’s remarkable. 

“My middle daughter runs a really big company, which she started, called Green Home. It’s a biodegradable packaging company, the first one in South Africa. I also have a son, who travels a lot. He’s a captain of a yacht. My children are scattered, but they are each successful in what they’ve chosen to do. 

“I think the art side of things always attracted me. When I built the Barrydale Hand Weavers retail shop, it was an art gallery first. I ran that for about three years, and then the weaving thing started. It’s always been the art side of life that’s attracted me, and I think that’s what drew me to Barrydale, also, although I wasn’t really aware of it at the time. But what made me love it here and stay here, is the many artists in this village. I’m an art groupie.”

(Photos: Africa Media photography intern, Katherine Cline)

The handweaving spools from Barrydale Handweavers, owned by Carol Morris

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