Artisan Market Day @ MES in review

It’s difficult to describe the vibe at our Artisan Market Day & Knittathon @ MES, held on Saturday, 7 May… If you were there, you’d know that it was charming, welcoming, authentic and fun! But that doesn’t quite do it justice… It seemed like everyone that entered through the gate was elated to be there.

Our small team was elated — we had been working on making this event happen for ages, and it felt like there was electricity running through our bones! We wrestled with a menacing, icy cold wind while setting up gazebos and tables (in the dark!) on that chilly morning, and I thought that any moment now, the skies were going to open up and wash away our dream. But it didn’t. As the first of the artisans arrived to set up their stalls, someone flipped a switch and the wind died down. I could even make out some blue sky above our heads! The wonderful artisans were elated — buzzing with shared anticipation and hope, all helping each other to set up, ooh-ing and aah-ing over their shared passion for beautiful hand-crafted goods.

Like magic, fabulous little stalls popped up all around the MES Centre of Hope grounds. Our brave volunteers hung countless donated beanies in two long lines on either side of the entrance walkway, like a colourful, whimsical guard of honour, welcoming the outside into our little fantasy world! I had to fight back tears… These beanies were knitted and crocheted with such love and dedication. People from all over the country joined in, offered up their time and talent, to create something beautiful and warm to help a fellow human being in need. If that doesn’t restore your faith in mankind, you must be made of stone!

Suddenly, visitors started arriving. And let me tell you, they too were elated to be there! So many people commented on how welcoming and warm the market felt (even though it was so cold!); how nice everyone was. If all else failed, that to me feels like a successful day.

Thankfully, we can also measure the success of the day by the unexpected amount of support we received. The market made R35 570 in just five hours. Thanks to the sales from the fabulous MES Grow Team, the raffle (with fantastic prizes sponsored by various artisans), pancake sales, mixed baked goods stall (sponsored by Evert Restaurant) and donations from all the vendors, we raised just over R9 000 for MES!

Another astonishing success was our beanie drive. When we originally set a target of 100 beanies, we thought we were being ridiculously optimistic! In fact, we thought we’d never get there. BUT, lo and behold, we now have 337 beanies, and counting!

A week after the market day, our team is still reeling (and recovering!) from all that elation…

We would like to take a moment to thank a few people without whom this day would not have been possible:

First and foremost, thank you to Franita and the wonderful MES team. It is such a great pleasure to work with people like you.

Tannie Wilna and her incredible team from Huis Aristea Retirement Home, as well as Family Bouwer, for gifting their time and talent to bake hundreds upon hundreds of delicious pancakes.

Evert Restaurant, for sponsoring a mountain of ciabatta bread and mouth-watering croissants for our mixed goods table.

Increda-peg, for not only sponsoring hundreds of their awesome, proudly South African pegs to display our gorgeous beanies on, but also for all the sample packets to treat our visitors!

Comprint Group in Stellenbosch, for sponsoring 20 beautiful printed posters to help market the event.

Our amazing artisans, for putting your faith in us, showing up and shining! Not only did you all donate towards MES’ work, many of you sponsored prizes for our irresistible raffle, thereby raising even more funds to help the homeless!

Our knitting and crocheting angels from all over the country… I don’t know how to thank you. To be able to gift something hand-made with love, something luxurious and warm and unique, to someone that has nothing, is truly spectacular. You did that 337 times (and counting!).

Elana, Chantal, Marc, Alex, Sean, George, Kay, Tavengwa - you know what you did! Thank you.

And finally, the Essentially Natural Team, for always having our backs, backing the work that we do, supporting the market en masse and sharing in this enormous elation!

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Franita, showing off a phenomenal donation of colourful beanies!

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A happy customer with a gorgeous painting by Alani Nel.

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The fabulous MES Grow Team, manning their stunning stall of hand-crafted goods.

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Queuing up to pay at the convenient central pay point.

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A welcome sight: countless donated beanies decorate the entrance to the market.

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Franita and Juanita with more beautiful donated knitted goodies!

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Die market day is over... And now we COUNT!!!

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SJuanita and Corinne, posing with a mountain of 337 beanies!


How can you help the homeless?

Purchase MES Moolah booklets at various Spar stores or at the Kenridge Deli (great to keep in your car to give coupons at robots!).

Donations of non-perishable food, clothes, blankets or money always welcome.

Contact Franita Knudsen to learn how else to get involved:

Back to Essentially Natural: The One Percent Movement


Dear Lynn,

Thank you for your lovely comment! The donation that you and your amazing knitters/crocheters gifted MES was so incredible! Thanks to your hard work and heart, our beanie drive was a massive success! Thank you endlessly for your contribution. You have no idea how much it means to our team, and especially to the vulnerable in MES’ care.



Dearest Corinne…I read this newsletter with such a grateful heart..knowing that ppl who worked so hard have been so totally rewarded… just brilliant and what fun for everyone..
Keep on giving.. for in will be rewarded..
Enjoy your well deserved break away…and much love lynn X

Lynn Forbes