writing and photography by Peggy Bright of Where to Next?
Olivier starts to decorate a bead
Ten years ago in West Africa, I bought too many bead bracelets and necklaces, so I wasn’t particularly in the market as a shopper when we visited Kapolei in the Ivory Coast.
Bead-making is an industry in this small village. We were lucky enough to be welcomed in to Olivier’s place where he explained the craft (in French) and demonstrated how beads are decorated.
Beads before decorating and a small piece of clay on the left
Bowls of large decorated beads
A bead is placed on a long thin stick, which is then balanced and spun on the artist’s foot. The colours are all natural and are applied with the tiniest of chicken feathers.
Olivier’s shop was filled with already-made jewellery sets (bracelet, necklace and earrings) in a vast array of sizes and colours, as well as baskets of loose beads. Of course, we…
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