Sunday, June 17, 2012

Out of Africa?

If you have read my last couple of posts then you know that I am doing what I am calling a bead challenge.  I posted that I wanted some suggestions for making beads. I was feeling uninspired and needed someone to kick my butt in gear.  Well, I had 6 people respond to my challenge and today is show and tell day # 2.

Jeanne from Blue Ridge Origami, suggested  I make African themed beads.  She mentioned that someone she works with, who is from Zambia, had brought some handmade African jewelry to the states with her.   Well for me, the first thought in my head when I hear Africa is animals; you know, lions, elephants, zebras and giraffes.  I could have gone the animal print route but that really wasn't were I wanted to go.  I wanted my beads to have a more natural Earthy feel. Maybe even a little primitive looking.  Something that had been made of bone or clay or had been painted with natural dyes.  So, where did that lead me?  To google of course!

When I was a kid I used to have to turn to the World Book Encyclopedia for the answers to my questions.  I had a teacher that when asked something by a student, her answer was "Look it up!"  Today, I don't even think my kids know how to look up information in an actual book!  The response I give them when they ask a question is "Google it!" Boy how things have changed in the past 3 decades! Is the World Book even published anymore? Hmmmmm

But now, back to the beads. I chose to use black, brown, gray, ivory and brick red, which is a far cry from my normal color palette. Sometimes we need a change from the norm.  And I have to say, I enjoyed it! In fact I got a little carried away.  I ended up making 51 beads which when strung together measures 22 inches.  Lots of possibilities with that many beads, I think.  I am very pleased with the way they turned out.  What do you think? Did I capture the African theme?  Thanks Jeanne, you have opened up my mind to even more projects in the future.

Well, I have now completed 2 challenges and I am looking forward to the next one.  I already have a plan for it, so be on the look out!  Karalee, you're up next!
They are temporarily strung just to give you an idea of how they could look as a necklace


  1. I love these!! Will you be listing them in your shop?

    Here is a little history on my interest in Zambia, and also how we all inspire each other creatively. I found Rhonda through Etsy as well. I was interested in making origami with her paper, but it was too thick. So I asked her if she could marble paper thin enough to fold. The result was beautiful paper that I could fold.

    I hope you list your beads so I can incorporate them into my earrings as well!! They definitely capture the spirit of Africa!

    Blue Ridge Origami

  2. Jeanne
    It's amazing how much smaller the world became thanks to the internet! I love knowing that my work is now in other countries. I am planning on listing all of my beads for sale once I have all 6 challenges complete and I announce a winner. So stay tuned and good luck! Thanks again for inspiring me.