A Thing of Beauty

I love handmade things. I've always loved crafts of all kinds. Anything made by the hand, that takes time to render, is special and holds deep attraction for me.



When I travel, my eye is always drawn to different textiles, pottery, jewellery and other hand crafted items.  Kenya is a wonderful place for seeing and buying hand crafts. I wrote about some of it here.

Kenyan beadwork is connected to the cultures of the various tribes doing the beadwork and is a somewhat new addition to their culture.  Much like it was to the Native American Indians who traded in beads with the foreign settlers, Kenyan beadwork dates back to the late 19th century when beads from what is known today as the Czech Republic, became available to them. 

Beadwork has a special attraction for me because when I was a teenager, I made things out of seed beads.  Mostly I made earrings and necklaces for the women in my community.  They loved to adorn themselves with one of a kind pieces. I haven't done any of that kind of work since then.

In Kenya, bead work is often used, along with hairstyle and other types of adornment, as a way of identifying someone's status and identity.  I'm not sure if this is still the case today, but certainly it probably is where the tribal traditions are thriving.  Westerners tend to know more about Maasai beadwork.  For example, a mother may place a string of beads around a baby's wrist, ankle and waist and thereby be able to track the baby's growth. In addition, a girl or boy's eligibility for marriage can be observed by the shape, pattern and colour of their beadwork.

A beaded bowl caught my eye the last time I was in Nakuru.  The beautiful colours caught my eye and also the fact that I'd never seen a beaded bowl before.  I brought one home.  It now sits in my bathroom holding small items like my hair clips. I would love to have several more of them in different colours; at least one gold, and one in different shades of blue.  I'm sorry I didn't buy more but I have learned not to overdo it with the tourist purchases. Whenever I get back to Kenya, I can buy a few more bowls.


I added the last photo jut because I like the wavy lines of colour that occurred when I moved my camera too quickly.


In writing my post I was fortunate to come across a book devoted to the culture and customs of Kenya, called Culture and Customs of Kenya by N. W. Sobania.  It looks like a wonderful book for your library if you're at all interested in the culture of Kenya; a fascinating country with many different cultural traditions.

Enjoy your weekend!

24 comments:

  1. I have a lot of crafts made in Africa, their work is beautiful as is the beaded bowl that you have. Diane

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    1. It's good that you've been able to hang on to your African crafts as you've moved around. Do you have any on your blog? I just remembered, your blog is to do with your move and restoration of the house, so there are probably no African crafts on it.

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  2. That's a beautiful basket! I never saw anything like that when I lived there. How fun for you to get to use it every day! :)

    Linda

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    1. Wow, I'm delighted that I found something you didn't see when you lived in Kenya :-) They are beautiful little baskets.

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  3. That basket is BEAUTIFUL! I'm always drawn to baskets because I have done some basket weaving and I know how much work is involved! I also need to tell you that I literally gasped at the beauty of your header when I arrived here!

    5:00 and I am headed home! YAY! I look forward to getting to know you better later! :)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Beth, it's wonderful that you can actually weave baskets. That is something I always wanted to try in my youth but never got around to it. I love baskets of all kinds. Though I've offloaded many of them, I still have a few special, smaller ones.

      I'm so glad you like my header because I just changed it today. I took the photo last week. Looking forward to getting to know you ;-)

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  4. Wonderful weaven baskets! I've just finished working on a text about the Maasai with my students!
    Would love to visit Kenya one day;o)
    Thanks for sharing. And thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment;o)

    ***
    Have a fabulous weekend****

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    1. How coincidental! I urge you to visit Kenya when you can. It is a beautiful country. Have a fabulous weekend too.

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  5. Yes beautiful baskets, and a lovely reminder of your times in Kenya. I love your new header too.
    Blessings, Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I appreciate the visit. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  6. Hi Penny, I had a similar bowl for my fruit while living in Kenya. We all had them! They are beautiful. I love Kenyan culture and will never ever forget the wonderful time I spent there. You are a talented lady: beadwork to add to all your other skills. Have a blessed weekend. Hugs Jo

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    1. Hi Jo, I'm so glad you got to experience the beauty and function of the beaded bowl. Memories last a life time. Hugs and blessings, Joyful

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  7. I love the beaded bowls. We never saw much of that in Zambia.

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    1. Hi Shanda, I've never been to Zambia so I wasn't aware that they have few beaded bowls.

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  8. Hello Joyful.
    Incredibly beautiful handmade basket you run.
    Wishing you a good weekend.
    Hugs Hanne Bente ♥

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Hanne. Have a great weekend. Knus, Joyful

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  9. Oh this is beautiful! I love handmade things too. Each piece seems to carry its own little story, doesn't it?

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    1. Yes, it's so true Sunita. I once did a post on my earring collection as each piece had a story. Life is good. Bless you :-)

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