Glass, recycled, clay, brass, silver, ceramicBeads in Ghana is big business. In 2007, I made a web search for "beads" and "Ghana" and got 609 000 hits, today I got 655 000 hits. My love of beads which I have written about here, here and the other week here have recently been upgraded to obsession.
Most importantly, I have joined the Ghana Beads Society which convenes the first Thursday of every month at 4.30 PM at DuBois Centre in Labone, Accra. The meetings are enthused gatherings of bead nerds as myself, mostly other (female) obrunis and some (male) Ghanaian bead traders (where are the Ghanaian women who most often wear beads?). In the beginning of each meeting, wonderful beads are being sold for bargain prices, the peak of the meeting is spent learning about beads, feeling their delicate textures, getting shocked by how difficult they are to make/bring into the country and marveling at their various colors. There is also some networking and meet and greet with the founders of the GBS and other bead experts.
I have gotten to meet with bead enthusiasts and bead entrepreneurs like Kati Torda of Suntrade and Trish Graham of Ahene Pa Nkasa. It is truly inspiring how they have rediscovered Ghanaian beads and though determination and a will to learn have upgraded the traditional bead into modern use. See for instance the lovely bead work Kati Torda did for Miss Ghana 2005 here.
And I have started thinking about setting up my own bead business. If I did, I think I would be focusing on bracelets - which I love - and "over-the-top pieces" which would be overtly elaborate combination of the West African beads I have come to enjoy so much. In a few weeks, I hope to go for a "stringing" class to learn how to successfully create jewelery with the beautifully rustic and colorful beads I have already purchased over my first two years in Ghana. Then we'll see.
I only know, this is not the last time I write about beads.
Pic borrowed (and cropped) from Kati Torda's photostream on Flickr.