South African product designer Marisa Fick-Jordan works with Zulu wire artists to develop a sustainable, worldwide market for their bold and shimmering work.

Why you should listen

Marisa Fick-Jordan is the co-author of Wired, the authoritative work on Zulu wire art. Using castoff telephone wire -- those plastic-coated copper strands you sometimes find outside switching boxes -- practitioners of this art create tightly woven pieces with bold patterning and fields of shimmering color.

Working with these talented African artists, Fick-Jordan has brought this art to the world, developing products and building a distribution network for a worldwide market. The end result: a traditional art form is preserved and developed -- and a village of weavers can earn a living through their art.

Marisa Fick-Jordan’s TED talk

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Zulu wire art: Marisa Fick-Jordan on

July 25, 2008

In this short, image-packed talk, Marisa Fick-Jordan talks about how a village of traditional South African wire weavers built a worldwide market for their dazzling work. (Recorded June 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. Duration: 2:33.)   Watch Marisa Fick-Jordan’s 2007 talk on, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other […]

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