Passing of UP Alumni Carrol Boyes, Functional Artst, Designer and Businesswoman

Posted on August 20, 2019

It was with sadness that the University of Pretoria learnt about the passing of design icon Carrol Boyes on Wednesday 14 August, at the age of 64.

Carrol Boyes was born in Cape Town on 21 November 1954. She matriculated at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Pretoria and studied art at the University of Pretoria in the 1970s, graduating with a major in sculpture. She began her career as a teacher and from the late 1980s started producing her artistic tableware. In 1991 the first Carrol Boyes shop was opened, and from there she led her creative team from strength to strength, with over 350 employees participating in the manufacturing and retail process by 2019.

The Carrol Boyes company today retails in a range of around 1 000 items in 30 countries worldwide. The 22 dedicated Carrol Boyes stores in South Africa partners the company’s own designs with the funky beadwork produced by Monkeybiz. This social responsibility enterprise was founded in 2000 by Boyes’ ceramicist life partner, Barbara Jackson, who died, also of cancer, in 2010.

During her life Boyes has been recognised as one of South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government. In 2007 she was one of the key alumni that featured in the “X:ings” exhibition for the University of Pretoria Centenary, curated by Jacques Lange. In 2008 she won the Rapport/City Press Prestige Women’s Award for Phenomenal Women.

Through her work Boyes aspired to combine function with beauty, without losing a sense of humour and a spark of naughtiness. Once speaking about the process of making a Carrol Boyes design, she remarked that “each person who touches that piece puts a bit of themselves into it”.  Shortly after her death, in return, company spokesperson Michellé Stuurman stated, “Her personal touch will always inspire and stay with us forever.” There is no doubt that her brand will continue as a South African icon, as Carrol Boyes had intended. And her example of “doing things differently” will continue to inspire students at her Alma Mater.

The University of Pretoria community extends our sincere condolences to Carrol Boyes’ family, friends, loved ones and employees.


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