Astrid Sulger: Nguni Horn

Astrid Sulger is a Swiss-born designer living and working in Mozambique. An author and former textile specialist, she began her workshop in Mozambique in 2005 with the intent to provide an opportunity for artistic output and the ability for young men and women in Mozambique to earn a living. Often, in the growing country, young people who do not have political, financial and family connections do not have access to consistent work where they can grow and support themselves and their families.  Astrid’s workshop of 15 is strong and growing, providing meals, community and a living wage for the team.

535887_138939962789077_5451007_nAstrid actually did not start with the specific intention of using cow horn, but she happened upon it at a market and noticed the beautiful qualities and possibilities of the material. She played with it a for a short while, and has continued to design and create beautiful, durable pieces since then.replacement

CaptureAfter the initial selection process, the first step in Astrid’s process is frying the horns, in order to make them more pliable/ malleable for manipulation. The pieces are then cut hand sanded, oiled, hydrated and hand assembled. The process is simple but highly time consuming, but the end product is quite beautiful.


Astrid’s team’s pieces are set apart from the average pieces of horn jewelry that are commonplace. Her pieces are versatile and have the quality and durability to serve as a highlight for both minimalist and elegant styles. Her designs explore a huge and ambitious range of design opportunities and styles with horn: discs, a large variety of geometric patterns, stamping, complex shape manipulation, waves, beads, patterning directly onto the horn, engraving – and I’m sure much more to come!


Design + Social and Humanistic Integrity = A Breath of Fresh Aircombo 1

All images courtesy of Astrid Sulger.

2 Comments on Astrid Sulger: Nguni Horn

  1. Dope syntheses: Design + Social and Humanistic Integrity = A Breath of Fresh Air
    Its enlightening to hear about how the discovery or transformation of a material can inspire an artist to impact not only the art medium it is based in, but the culture behind it. Very powerful stuff here.

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