For years I've been intrigued by African culture - the wildlife, the music, the colors, and the joyful people who so often have so little. I enjoy the challenge of blending African artisan components with contemporary elements to create pieces with a harmonious story. Here's a little background on the components I use in my designs.
Ashanti Recycled Glass Beads
The process of making these beads is unique to Africa and has been used for over 1000 years. Pulverized glass of various colors is poured into a clay mold, using a cassava stem for the bead's hole. The mold is placed in a furnace and heated until the glass particles congeal without actually melting and the stem burns out. The Ghanaians have been making beads in this manner since the 1600s.
Fair Trade Kazuri Beads
center for women, especially single mothers, widows, and those with special needs. Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads which are made with the clay from the Mt. Kenya area.
It is equipped with a clinic, providing free medical care for the employees and their immediate families. Kazuri also absorbs 80% of medical bills for treatment received outside the factory clinic. The factory also serves as a social gathering place, offering free medical care, and access to educational programs. One jobholder's wage often provides for an "extended family" of 20 or more.
Here's a look at the women at work.
Have you ever seen such joy at work? These women are filled with gratitude for the opportunity to support themselves and their families, and most of them are single mothers. This is what Kazuri beads are all about - "hope from the earth of Africa.
Kazuri beads are Fair Trade Certified and Kazuri is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).