This month Carrol Boyes celebrated 30 years of design but the celebrations were overshadowed by her death. Boyes lost her battle with a brief illness on August 14 at the age of 65 and South Africa lost one of its most iconic artists and designers, she is survived by her siblings John and Charles Boyes who will carry on her legacy.
Few people know that Boyes is actually a Capetonian and was born right here in the Mother City.
The story of Boyes is a simple one that started in 1991, rooted in the love of creating beautiful things – Boyes decided to make her passion her job and began using her unique creative flair not just for herself but for others to admire too.
Nowadays there’s barely a home in South Africa that doesn’t have a Boyes piece and locals have fallen in love with her creations – and the creator herself.
Before her art received its due recognition, Boyes started her career as an English and art teacher, she graduated from the University of Pretoria with a major in sculpture. Boyes taught till the age of 35 before she realised she needed to start living her dream or live with the regret for the rest of her life.
In 1990 she left her teaching post and gave herself a timeline of six months to make her business boom. She started designing products that were not only unique works of art but also things that people needed and could make use of in their daily lives.
Throughout the years Boyes remained determined to make her business a success in spite of what people thought of artists. “Determination is essential. People do not believe in artists, nor do they believe that a sculptor can also be an entrepreneur,” Boyes once said.
Her business began thriving as she introduced the people of South Africa to functional art that is fun-to-use while being beautiful to look at. Her company achieved 100% growth each year for the first six years.
In 1992 the business began to expand and was in need of a manufacturing facility, a team and new production processes. For the first time since she launched her company, Boyes could step back from the day-to-day management and start thinking creatively towards achieving a global audience.
Over the years Boyes travelled to promote her brand, but she never stopped creating her own designs while supporting young talented artists that were integrated into her company to learn the tricks of the trade. Today her products are available in 30 countries around the world.
As we say farewell to another inspiring South African, we remember the lessons her life taught us and that if you are willing to work for your dreams they can come true.
A memorial service will be held for the iconic designer on August 21 in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
“Remember that we do things differently here. Never be ordinary – be extraordinary and throw in a bit of naughtiness every now and then and keep laughing. Never lose your sense of humor.” – Carrol Boyes.