22 tiny shops in happy, sunny, rainbow colours selling art, décor; craft; clothing; collectables; jewellery; recycled / upcycled pieces; ice creams and light vegetarian meals, can all be found above the fabulous, spacious Décor Art shop on Old Main Road, opposite Hilltop Centre in Botha’s Hill among the 1000 Hills.
The shops resemble a diminutive and fantasy version of an arcade in, say, Indonesia, Zanzibar or downtown Bali – with its mixed-media design; Bohemian feel; screeded floors; a liberal use of up-cycled materials; distinctive wooden doors; bright colours; ornate doorhandles; Eastern influence and cosy interiors.
Each shop has its own speciality, and there is no duplication of products. Among the tenant mix are an Art Gallery; a budget-friendly vegetarian coffee shop; Healthy Juice Bar selling groovy smoothies; Indian and Bali clothing; children’s clothing and comfort wear; leather sandals; a jewellery outlet with bold fun costume jewellery; a range of tie-dye cushions; mosaic bowls; upcycled furniture; art supplies; a thrift shop; beading; cushions and décor.
Décor Art Community Centre is a direct response to the economic fall-out from Covid and the July looting. Owner of the anchor tenant and downstairs shop Décor Art, Angie Scholey, was involved in the creation and distribution of food parcels and fresh produce to the 1000 Hills community during lockdown and post looting.
Chatting to locals, she realised the magnitude of sadness and loss and wanted to help and to make a difference. Her solution was to build a communal space for creatives in order to nurture and expand their lockdown side-hustles. Also, a place to teach, learn and empower people using recycled materials to make art.
Angie is big on recycling and being eco-friendly. The sandwiches in the café are served on a banana leaf, and the drinks come with a bamboo straw. Many of the items for sale are recycled, repurposed, hand-made and upcycled.
“If you have spare art materials to donate, let us know. We can also work with recycled items – but please phone first and check, cos we can’t use everything.
We love spare wool, string, old fabric and saris.
Her shop Décor Art specialised in décor items, furniture and art from Indonesia and the East, which became prohibitively expensive to import over lockdown. So, lockdown was a time to re-focusing her business as well.
“I realised that my shop is zoned as an arts space, and we are on the 1000 Hills tourist route, so developing the complex into a workshop and retail outlet for art-makers and creatives, made sense,” she explained.
“Atomic Demolishers were amazing. They helped source fabulous materials and unusual building features for me which we have used to make our small shops. The little shops worked out so well, they are such fun. We painted them in bright colours to create a happy, sunny feel.”
The result is an indoor upstairs arcade with an architectural eclectic feel: Buddhas and angels; silk saris and salvaged wood; glass and mirrors – and loads of bright colours.
Most of the 22 shops are now operational. Each shop is an independently managed micro-business run by locals – many of whom were without work or income as a result of lockdown. All of whom have a commitment to run workshops and teach skills.
Part of the team includes a woman specialising in embroidery and another in crochet and another in clay work (without using a kiln) and an art maker working in Paper Mache. The gallery is overseen by fabulous local artist, Eve Paige; and a wellness practioner has consulting rooms in the arcade.
Angie can be found in her amazing shop, Décor Art, downstairs – a huge treasure trove of a shop with hundreds of bespoke, unusual and quite fabulous décor items.
Angie found herself in the Far East, post tsunami, on holiday. She got involved in some of the mop-up operations including a government approved programme of planting trees to rehabilitate forests in Borneo and Somatra. She initiated an NGO with a friend – the Angie / Penny Foundation which supported the rehabilitation of natural environment for the threatened orangutang population.
“I came back after working abroad and thought – why can’t I do something similar here. Let me try and make a difference. One person at a time. And out of that, the Décor Art Community Centre was born.
Good to Know
Address: 1 Warwickshire Cres; Botha’s Hill
Entrance on Main Road – opp Hilltop Centre
Tel 031 7655 632 / 083 3073 989 / 083 5045 053
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 9am til 5pm
Close Monday / Open most public holidays
There are some retail spaces still spaces available