Without a doubt, the African contribution to bead jewelry and art has been tremendous. But what do modern young African designers create these days if not the traditional patterns? Well, I got to find out when Susan Ellah contacted me and introduced her line called JewELLAHry on Facebook.
Ellah as she prefers to be called, is still young at 23. A self taught beader based in Nairobi, Kenya, she started selling her jewelry locally after people kept asking where her earrings came from!
From that classic beginning, Ellah now says, "My dream is to one day have my accessories in a haute couture show." Her striking and bold bead and wire designs are certainly dramatic enough for any runway.
She is one step closer to her dream as her earrings were worn on the Miss Universe 2010 catwalk - by Hellen Dausen who is Miss Tanzania. This lovely woman was also featured in a magazine article wearing more of Ellah's creations - see her blog post.
The photo shoot pictures here were taken by Leon Muli and modeled by Thogi and others.
This male neckpiece below is made from paper beads and wire. It's a truly modern minimalist take on traditional African beaded collars.
Ellah started her blog not long ago. I am sure you all can relate to what she said in her profile :
"Beads are like tiny inedible sweets which become addictive. I get bead highs; don't stop working till I'm satisfied. What I do is neither a hobby or a job. It is a PASSION! My PASSION!"
I do hope she will keep up with her delightful blog when she can tear herself away from beading. One blog post was about a trip she made with her little daughter to a crocodile farm which included this humorous sign :
Before you go:
- Richard Francis Burton and African Trade Beads
- African Beadwork : The Romance of Zulu Beads
- Mzuri Beads - Uganda's Handmade Recycled Paper Beads and Jewelry
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