Growing up in Kenya amidst many Kenyan cultures including the master of beading culture that dates back hundreds of years, ‘the Maasai culture,’ how could I not fall in love with beads?
In the Maasai culture, beadwork is considered a woman’s role. Back in time, Maasai women created beads using bones, clay, dried grass, wood, copper, brass, seeds and shells to create their traditional ornaments. However decades later, they began to use ceramic, glass and plastic beads they acquired through trade with the Europeans.
There are a number of different colours used in Maasai beadwork, and each one holds a special meaning: red signifies blood, bravery, and unity. White represents health, peace, and purity. Blue is the colour of the sky and represents energy, and green is the colour of grass, which signifies the land and production.
My BeaDazzled ‘Nyota’ collection consists of intricate hand-beaded body jewelry inspired by the Maasai culture I grew up amidst, only this time, it’s bold in all-gold. She is a head-to toe statement hand-crafted out of glass beads by one of my beaders ‘Nana’ who spent a month to create Nyota one bead at a time. She is versatile but very delicate and therefore demands special attention at all times.