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Saturday, September 20, 2008

What the heck is a Kazuri Bead?

s16500 African Handmade Ceramic Beads - 40 mm Flat Disc - Flowers by the Road (1)Well - that's an excellent question - what is a Kazuri Bead? On our website, we list them as Hand-made African Ceramic Beads - which describes what they are, but not what they do!

From our webpage:

These beads are made by a project to provide sustainable employment for women in Kenya. Sale of these beads enable these women to support their families. This project has grown and now provides employment for hundreds of women with little education and even less prospects for their future. Over thirty years old now, the project provides fair wages and excellent working conditions.

Care and attention to detail, multiple coats and firings produce these lovely beads. The richness of the colours and the finish is extraordinary.

These beads are made with clay from the foothills of Mt. Kenya by women of the Kikuyu tribe, who form it into beads, by hand, without the aid of machinery. Each bead is hand shaped, painted, and fired at least twice.

The project was started in the mid-70's by Lady Wood, who, with two Kenyan women, revived the traditional bead-making process of the Kikuyu women. Thirty years later, the process continues. Hundreds of women have been employed in this bead-making project who might otherwise have been unable to provide for their children and extended families. A member of the world Fair Trade Organization, the project provided fair wages and good working conditions as well as a medical clinic and assistance with school fees for their children.

ltd758-06 African Handmade Ceramic Beads -  Flat Disc - Tanzania Twilight (1)They are lovely beads to hold in the hand - smooth, glossy surfaces, light weight, and vivid colours and earthtones with spashes of gold. They range from a lentil sized about like a quarter up to some large, almost palm-sized. They just cry out to be made into bracelets - they mostly have a flat profile. But their happy, strong colours also inspire necklaces, earrings - even toggles for closures.

So, when the bead hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's Kazuri!


The Dixon Chick said...

Thanks! I learned something new and important. I will be on the lookout for these at the beadFX booth at the Oasis tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I've been to one of the stores they have in Kenya, the description doesn't even begin to describe what a magnificent difference these beads make in the lives of some really wonderful, hard-working women.

And the beads... GORGEOUS. I brought a bunch back, one that I particularly loved got lost... I'm still trying to replace it.