World-renowned South African artist and designer Carrol Boyes dies at 65

Carrol Boyes urged her hundreds of employees around the world to 'never be ordinary - be extraordinary and throw in a bit of naughtiness every now and then'.
Carrol Boyes urged her hundreds of employees around the world to 'never be ordinary - be extraordinary and throw in a bit of naughtiness every now and then'.
Image: Sunday Times/Araminta De Clermont

Iconic artist and designer Carrol Boyes has died aged 65.

In a statement issued by Carrol Boyes (Pty) Ltd on Thursday, the company confirmed Boyes’ death. “We are saddened by the loss of Carrol, who passed away last night after a brief illness,” the company said in a statement.

Boyes was the founder, creator and chief executive of Carrol Boyes (Pty) Ltd retailer in Cape Town.

“She was an iconic South African artist and designer who crafted upmarket home and lifestyle items.

“Carrol demonstrated the very highest values in her business; integrity, playful perspectives and passion for design and for her staff. Her personal touch will inspire and stay with us always,” the company said.

Boyes, the company said, had enriched many lives in many ways, including instilling an unconventional approach to business “and her message to her staff was ‘I have had such fun with you and you have enriched my life greatly. Please 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 humour’.”

The company said Boyes would be remembered for her love, her story and her quirky creativity.

“Carrol leaves our nation with a legacy of excellence, unity, empowerment and pioneering functional art. She will be greatly missed.”

Boyes began her working life as a high school English teacher, and only gradually moved into making a living from her first love, sculpture. She established her company in 1991.

She built her business from a one-woman show run from her Hout Bay studio and supplying a single gift shop in Cape Town, to one that now provides jobs for several hundred people and has outlets all over the world.

Her first products were distressed copper candlesticks and pewter cutlery, with handles sculpted into naked bodies, fish tails or flowing abstract designs. The pewter cutlery is still a big seller today, popular for wedding gifts, the company says, but the single most popular item is a water jug with the handle in the lean form of a stretching man.

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