From hobby to home business

Mervyn Dragsund’s hobby has become an income-generator and source of great pride.

The Cowies Hill, Durban, resident is one of the entrants in this year’s Innibos National Craft Awards and his work lends an element of cubism to the competition, which closes on May 1, 2020.

An engineering foundry patternmaker by trade, Mervyn makes striking décor pieces using a polyester resin mixed with different fillers and fibres to make a composite material. Among his most popular crafted items is a range of domestic dogs. These eye-catching pieces are rapidly gaining popularity.

“I make all the patterns and moulds for the items I produce, using old-fashioned 2D drawings, 3D printing and CNC machining. I then hand finish the designs and, once happy with the result, I make the moulds.

“The composite resin is rotated within the moulds to produce hollow items up to 1m² in size,” says Mervyn.

He says that in 2016, he decided to try an artistic approach to working with the materials that he had used his entire working career. “This has now developed and I am creating new designs and using new methods. My work constantly evolves,” he says.

Meryn sometimes uses woodwork and steelwork to complement his resin items.

Last year, he was approached by KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts to show some of his items at Discover Durban Design exhibition, hosted by the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show.

“Turning a hobby into a small home business is very rewarding,” says Mervyn.

The Innibos National Craft Awards

The competition is now bigger and better, following the National Department of Arts and Culture’s (DAC) support, which has seen four additional exciting new categories being created.

Run under the auspices of the Innibos National Arts Festival and organised by ArtAid Africa, the competition is open to all crafters in South Africa, across all disciplines.

The overall winner pockets R50 000, the first runner-up R20 000 and the second runner-up R15 000. In addition, the winner of each of the four new categories will win R20 000.

The new categories are Corporate Gifts, Beaded Craft Products, Craft Produced Using Recycled Materials and Souvenirs.

Entering is easy!

Crafters have until midnight on May 1, 2020, to enter. They need simply take a photo of their entry – next to a matchbox for size of scale, and either email it to or send it to 071 621 3597 via MMS or WhatsApp. There is no entry fee.

Ts&Cs apply and can be found on the competition’s Facebook page –

Remember to include your name, the town in which you live and your contact details.

Entrants who have not heard from the organisers within 30 days of the closing date must take it as given that they did not make the shortlist for final judging.

The finalists should be available to attend the exhibition opening and prizegiving on June 21, 2020.

For more information, please WhatsApp Jan Bhuda on 071 621 3597 or email John Anthony Boerma at

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