Setsoto Design Limited is Lesotho's most renowned weaving cooperative. Over 60 women, mostly grandmothers, are employed at the workshop where traditional tapestries and floor rugs are produced using mohair from the flocks of angora goats that roam the Maluti Mountains.
Action Lesotho have been involved with Setsoto Designs since 2006 when Eileen O'Leary began documenting the work of the gallery and the lives of the women who are employed there.
Action Lesotho offers ongoing volunteer support to Setsoto Design. They work with the management and staff of Setsoto Design to develop new design ideas, assist in the development of new sales opportunities, look at the export market and guide the company towards becoming a Fair Trade company. Links have been forged between Setsoto Design and a local secondary school to develop a work experience programme with senior pupils. An apprenticeship scheme has also been developed to bring young people into the weaving company. A website is now up and running which has introduced the work of Setsoto Design to the global community. (www.setsotodesign.com)
Waterville Friends of Lesotho developed a project in partnership with Setsoto Design to introduce the company to the art world in Ireland. 13 artists donated images which were translated into limited edition tapestries at the gallery in Lesotho and sold here in Ireland. The pieces also raise much needed funds for the ongoing work of Action Lesotho in Lesotho. (www.techamergin.com)
The Designer and Production Manager from Setsoto Design spent six weeks in Ireland over the summer of 2009. As well as soaking up a new cultural experience, she received training from a number of artists and co-hosted an exhibition of tapestries in The European Union House, Dublin with Waterville Friends of Lesotho and the Embassy of Lesotho in Dublin. ‘M’e Matota was also given opportunities to talk with buyers and meet clients.