"I always loved to sit at the feet of my grandmother watching her fragile hands thread together the old heirloom family beads passed on for more than eight generations."
"I come from the bustling city of Accra. We are a close knit family with a long tradition of bead making. I always loved to sit at the feet of my grandmother watching her fragile hands thread together the old heirloom family beads passed on for more than eight generations.
"The heirlooms are the loose or strung beads which are threaded by whoever is responsible for them at any given time. Usually, when a female child is born into the family, grandmothers put together the heirloom beads to be used and later passed on to their daughters and granddaughters.
"She always held the strands out to me when she was done, saying in the local Ga dialect, 'Enabe ba ni owo ne ma kwe,' meaning 'my dear granddaughter ,come and try it on.' I was always a happy little girl when I tried on grandma's pieces. They were always beautifully made.
"As life went on, I completed my O levels and started training as a teacher, but I wasn't able to finish due to unforeseen circumstances. For some time, I traded in consumer goods until, on one of my travels, I lost a huge sum. I only realized the loss on board the flight to my destination. I was totally distraught and frazzled. After this incident, it was difficult for me to get back to trading but, being the determined and hard worker that I am, I went on to do other things to survive and provide for my family.
"As destiny would have it, one afternoon I met up with my brother in town and he was adorned with totally captivating bead jewelry and I just couldn't take my eyes off it – it reminded me so much of my dear grandmother. That was in 1994. I started designing and crafting bead accessories and have been at it ever since. Mostly, I work alone and employ helpers when it gets busy.
"Occasionally, I participate in local fairs to sell my beads to individuals and shops. I always look for the opportunity to learn more. I appreciate crafts from different cultures of the world and hope to become internationally recognized.
"It gives me great pleasure when I see my jewelry worn and appreciated. For me, it is the most rewarding moment of being an artist."
Evoking the fertile fields of Huaylas, Dina crafts a beautiful bracelet that exalts the earth. Rich shades of brown come to life in handmade ceramic beads, while pre-Hispanic motifs recall the area's ancient history. Two opulent strands link with a sterling....read more
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