Roche van den Berg is committed to the evolution of nature, and in doing so, she is actively contributing to the preservation of Earth.
Her favorite part of being a designer is the ability “to live in passion, to be part of the magic that can transform something completely discarded or worthless, breathing New Evolutionary Life into it, and creating textures, from Nature, that speak a language understood by all humans”.
In this statement van den Berg shows off that she is intuitively an agent of change, a lighthouse, for a world lost to the pollution of our environment and degradation of cultural heritage.
As the renowned architect Richard Rogers once said, “The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.”
van den Berg has been “involved” since Day One. She was born in Paarl, situated in the picturesque Western Cape, South Africa.
Her mother is an artist and her father loves the outdoors and camping, so she grew up appreciating the intricate links between art and culture and how fragile and interwoven nature is with our souls.
Her heritage and affiliation with nature is at the center of her evolution as an artist. “Design has always interested me, even more so the way that those designs were made/created. The sustainability factor came from not having money to start my own business, but needing material to work/create with. One day, walking through downtown Cape Town, I saw Rubber Inner Balls and thought of creating foldable flowerpots. I mainly work with waste products, like rubber and tires. I have to go around to dealerships and bicycle shops to collect waste rubber. The rubber then goes through a strenuous cleaning process so that I start cutting the shapes and designs. Depending on what piece I am creating time varies. For example, a piece of jewelry can take four to five hours, whereas a tree sculpture can take me weeks. I only use hand crafted techniques like cutting, punching, crocheting, sewing and weaving,” she said.
After finishing school, van den Berg travelled for two years and then studied Interior Architecture in Cape Town, completing her studies with an International Diploma. But, from a young age, she was focused on preservation of the environment and her environment through art.
“I was taught to knit, sew, crochet, bead and fix things myself by looking around me and using what I have, from a very young age. That to me is sustainability of culture, to pass on the skills that help us create, not only what we need, with what we already have, but to capture moments in civilization, may it be politically driven or just to show what we see and experience around us and thereby creating art that exhibits a moment in time created with techniques and skills passed on through generations,” she said.
In a discussion with van den Berg we learned that she is deeply invested in “FEMVOLUTION”. This is a drive towards taking women (like a piece of rubber in its natural state) and empowering them with skills and education (design and form) so that they become pieces of evolved “Art”, who are also able to pass on their culture to their daughters.
Simple: Brave. Beautiful. Bold. – is all I can say!
van den Berg is certainly actively committed to beating the drum of consciousness, in a way that is not just aesthetically beautiful, but also vibrating with a call to action.
“To not only look, but really SEE! One can either see the ugly in something that is; Or one can notice the beauty in what it can BECOME....Sustainability is about creating new and better ways for humanity to meet its needs without destroying either the beauty or integrity of Nature. In order for us to achieve sustainability, we have to become a society of artists, willing to take creative risks, attempting to make connections and leap across disciplines and cultures in ways previously not attempted, or even imagined. Sustainability has got to be the main objective of all people on Earth,” she said.