Words and images by the amazing Brussels based photographer, Pascal Mannaerts.
On his trip in Northern India:
After ten trips to India, having a chaï in front of the New Delhi railway station this morning by sunrise, I lost myself in my thoughts, without being able to control anything. I looked around, I smiled and I realized that, after having spent so much time of my life in India, this country and its people still fascinate me as much as on that very first day I came here, some 15 years ago. During all these years, I have moved to so many places around the world, but I have always come back to India.
India is an endless path. It's like a never ending book, a magic box full of surprises leading to new experiences. I could travel on its roads forever. Travelling through India feels like being a journey within, inside our deepest mysteries.
The first image in this post is of a Bhopa girl. I love her story...as somehow it mirrors my own (being a minority, living in an artists colony lol). Her beadwork reminds of Afghan tribal beadwork, and the more I learn and find other cultures, the more I see how beadwork connects us.
Words by Pascal Mannaerts
Bhopa girl, Jaisalmer. Considered to belong to low casts, the Bhopas come from Rajasthan. They used to go from village to village to animate the festivals and sing the local legends. They perpetuated the oral tradition in rural areas. Today, they are musicians, dancers, storytellers, puppeteers, and live in «artists’ colonies», especially around the city of Jaisalmer.
I'm always on the make. I'm always looking to improve what I do. I always feel contented with my progress...or do I? *smiles*
I've been trying something new. Images. Symbols. Usually I play with colors in away that request and even demand a closer look.
This is just the first step in opening my mind toward creating images out of beads and moving from body folk art into other expressions using seed beads. I can't wait to share. See what's available from this addition on in my handmade shop.
Model: Kamil (another bead addict and supporter and sister and great bead thinker lol)
Words by Kamil Oshundara:
Part 1: When u show up 2 AFROPUNK lookin like a limon lime lick (n even ya mama want a taste) Cuz can't nobody dim ya shine n u had 2 hop off da timeline 2 remind em. Cuz u always been a neon ass nigga in a peon ass world, a queer liddo rainbow glowin whereva u go . Cuz u lean, demand ya green, n refuse to be unseen, but Most of all Cuz u bright n Black n 100% proud of that. ☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️#NeonNiggasUnite #BrightAndBlack#AfroPunk2017 #afropunkfest#afropunkbrooklyn
Part 2: Ima lover, Ima a feeler Ima healer. I love to love n I adore intimacy, simpin, romance n sweet sensuality, yet lovin me is intense n often complex. Frequently I feel like ppl see me from afar, catch a glimpse of dis radiating red light, my soul's aura, n are drawn in out of intrigue. Time n time again I met love, Queer n Herero, jus 2 meet loss -- folks who r dedicated 2 tasting n trading me. Never quite tuning into me. I used 2 give all of myself 2 each of my lovers, n was devastated when seen as 2 much, 2 risqué, intimidating, or more "than meets the eye". Well wat eye u see me thru? A part of my heart broke each time some1 wud dip into my life, my bed, my spirit try-then-deny me. I've been called a witch (as if it's an insult), a fool, 2 perfect/wife like, jus a good fuck. I been named erryting under da sun, blamed 4 being myself, n shamed 4 bein able 2 love more than 1 type of some1. But I will no longer come undone. I will not allow anyone's missed expectations of me make me feel unlovable. I have found love in the darkest jungles. I have seen through the chipped paint and found master pieces. Like a Shepard, I now call my very own love to me. I refuse 2 believe Iam too much, not enough, or an abomination. I refuse 2 let folks "try" me 4 any reason. I am not an experiment. Ima lil unconventional boo who life n needs r different, but who heart is true. I now kno when 2 walk away. Not give up, but surrender 2 da universe n not hold on2 love tht may feel like cashmere but aint the right fit. My skin n self deserve a tailor made kinda love. 1 tht bends n folds 2 my curves, one that inspires me to do the same in balance. We have many soulmates in life, not all supposed 2b lovers. Many times they are reborn as our kin n friends. 2 all my soul mates, past, present & future. I love u, and hope that what we share(d) can seed something transformative in our lives. 2 those I misnamed, misplaced or let in my space on a whim, u r loved. I am not hurt, I am fueled 2 further heal. I love 2 love 2 love, & from now till the world falls, I still believe "its betta 2hav loved n lost then neva 2hav loved at all".
Yes Queen, yes.
J Mil is adorned with half the world on her shoulders and wrists. Beadwork I collected from Ndebele, Zulu and Maasai tribes. My contribution to this setup are the large, thin, white Ndebele rings, beaded choker and single strands that I create for SUPER layered looks. It is such a pleasure seeing how the team brought this to life.
Reader Mortira over on Inspirational Beading posted a splendid interview on the broad netted bead collar necklaces by Ta Meu Bem. This California-based Jamaican American, Tamika (aka as Mika or just Tami), describes her style succinctly on her Instagram as "Dainty with Attitude"!
Indeed she is a master of making statement necklaces from small beads. She also ventures into other techniques....read the rest of this interview over on Beading Gem.
I actually had the pleasure of seeing Erika at the 2016 Afropunk festival that thrust her into the greater awareness of the public. She was bare chested, and adorned with Afghan tribal [tribal] beadwork. She looked fearless, and an image from her during that day would go viral.
Like most Afghan beadwork her piece is vintage, worn, and has a mysterious story with it that I could only imagine. I reached out to her asking if she wanted me to repair it, and she said that she liked it as it is, and it reminds of me of my own pieces that I have with the same quirks...what is truly broken? It made me think...
Her story is amazing, her courage is amazing, and her love [I'm guessing :)] of beadwork makes me smile. Check out this interview, she is truly inspiring.
Erika, a breast cancer survivor, tells us how getting a double mastectomy has changed her body image....Read the article here.
I am absolutely captivated by this woman's blackness...the pure creamy smoothness of her skin.
While oceans away I exalt in her skin tone I know she lives in a country that grapples with colorism, classism, and racism. I feel at this point any country that's been touched by colonialism, or lofty antiquated ideas about aristocracy still struggle with colorism and prejudice (aka self hate). They're selling bleaching cream across this globe and it's heartbreaking...
This ethnic group is known as the Kalbeliya, or Kalbelia. The women dance and weave their bodies to traditional rhythms, that are considered one of the most sensual dances of the region.
Check the videos for a glimpse into their lives...
(Single woman) Picture from Rajasthan, India. A Kalbelia dancer from the Pushkar Fair, Photo thanks to Anthony Pappone.
These lovely girls come from Indonesia and are part of the Toraja ethnic group. They adorn themselves with vibrant earth-toned beadwork that represents important animals, plants etc
They utilize a vertical netting style with fringe most likely beaded by finger. There are no written patterns for the designs they create, it's passed down from generation to generation.
As I've found more and more pictures from this culture my gaze has become tranfixed on the ornate crowns they create from cloth, bead and metal. So fine.
Photos by professional photographer Keith Mellnick
Photographer: Gary Biddy
Necklace: Sacred Geometry beadwork from South America.
Mood: Sugar Water
Uhhhh so this Octopus is mine. His name is actually Doptopus. He's extremely well made from Czech seed beads and has Fire Polished beads for eyes. He's from South America and is my only pet right now. I should really mention the Lilac Opal colored beads surrounding the eyes are a hard color to come by, making him that much more special.
However this Rhino is from South Africa where they make amazing beaded animals out of wire and seed beads.
The Huichol piece (the Jaguar) or anything of the sort should be making my way to my collection soon. Soon. I could post a million beaded animals but now's not that time for obssessive behavior.
So apparently beads are in this season, which I get, because beads have ALWAYS been in season with me. Shout out to stylist and all around fly af man about town, E Burns for organizing this all. Crystal is wearing beadwork I created + collected. She's wearing Ndebele (South African) style beadwork, beadwork from the Ukraine, my original beaded and chain ear cuffs, plus these bad ass Queen cuffs I brought with me all the way from Brazil, plus these long black Tassel earrings that are a specialty of mine :D. The photos look great.
Creative Director: @dlsquared
I love Ukrainian beadwork. It's one of the first beading cultures I really found online when I began researching how to do beadwork. These bead weavers from Ukraine share resources and encourage each other to continue their craft and excel. Interestingly enough, the people from this region have been displaced in a story that's all too familiar [war, resistance, exile]. Nevertheless culture and tradition persist and these patterns are a beautiful expression of their culture that has passed down from generation to generation.
*[Picture 1 & 2] The first two photos are of the amazing Naia Kete. An amazing artist who I had the pleasure of working with. We paired the piece with a beaded rope from South Africa. I was particularly drawn to this piece because of the last picture below.
*[Photos 3 & 4] Photos are Archive of the Ethnographic Museum in Wroclaw
18.104.22.168. Aarchiwum Kyczera
Jewelry Lemko - krywulki
*[Photos 5 & 6] Traditional costumes, and historical painting.
It is what it is right?
I absolutely love this shoot. This was masterfully and delicately put together by an amazing team of creators, people of color, women, just amazing. Tiana and Vivian came to my house and told me about the vision they had for my work. I couldn't be more proud of how they represented my beadwork.
The beaded petals piece is not for sale, but the vintage Indian choker is (in limited supply only)
Creative Director/Muse: @Ohthatstiana
Look what your charm has done to me...
Inspiration: Undeniable African lineage, Diamond Life, Adinkra wisdom, Symbols of divinity, symbols of femininity, wanting to be alone but craving the touch of another, beauty, silence, dappled lighting, letting go, remembering pain, remembering strength, silence, deep breath
Photos by Gary Biddy
Shop the collection on Etsy
The Embera make my favorite favorite, absolute favorite beadwork.
Known in the historical literature as the Chocó or Katío Indians are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia.
These pieces are all from Colombia.
The Embera people are a river bound culture living in harmony with the river systems. Their beaded breastplates and bras are made from seed beads and metal coin beads. Their beadwork is a reflection of their spiritual journeys and reverence for Mother Nature.
This story however needs a strong dose of reality - thanks to the conflict between FARC and the Colombian government, many of the indigenous Embera in Colombia have been displaced from their native lands. It's a tale of conflict that has pushed them far from their way of life. Looking at one of the girls in the photo I can't but help feel a profound sadness that I feel is mirrored in her very look...
Beadwork is the term for objects made from tiny glass beads, called seed beads. You can use various techniques to secure the beads and create beaded jewelry, sculptures, furniture and more. Throw some beads on it.
These techniques range in difficulty from easy to challenging. If you're interested in learning how you can check out Youtube and Pinterest for tutorials that can show you either techniques or bead patterns.
If beading is the journey, and your final piece is the treasure, then bead patterns, or just patterns are the map you may need to complete your adventure. I have a hard time following instructions while beading so I make everything up as I go. Some of the trickier aspects of following the instructions is the going back and forth between your project and the pattern or the dreaded "turn". A turn is a move that you use with Peyote stitch and I've typically just, not, gotten it. I'll keep trying and let you know how it goes.
Anywho - string, glue, needle, wire if it's seed beads and you're creating something with it, it's beadwork.
If you want to make beaded jewelry you either need to follow a pattern or create a new one which happens alll the time. Make sure if you buy a pattern that it also includes the technique needed to master the design.
My beading strengths: Netting (all styles, including my own hybrid stitch), RAW, Peyote bezel, RAW bezel, Loom, Ndebele stitch, Brick stitch
My beading weaknesses: paying attention to the pattern, Peyote, bead crochet, bead embroidery
Photo and story by the incomporable Carlo Julian Roberto
Meet Raki, one of the very special Kalbelia Gypsy dancing girls I met during the annual Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan. Kalbelia are the 'Snake People' - 'Kal' meaning 'snake'. For centuries, up until legislation and developments in the sciences from the 60's, these formerly itinerant folk specialised in snake serums. Now that side of their culture has gone, and being coerced to settle, these people rely on their age old music and spectacular dance for their livelihood. Vestiges of their old, nomadic way of life are still apparent in that they live on the fringes of town, separate from the rest of the inhabitants.
I got to know Raki, along with her Kalbelia dancing companions, fairly well during the week of the Mela and decided to hire them one afternoon, along with their musicians, for a photo shoot. We found a suitably, disused, empty shell of a building for the dancing photos on the fringes of the Thar desert just out of town where the girls and musicians performed royally. After the session, I took some individual portraits of the dancers of which this is but one - 26/11/2012
Her beadwork is typical of the region, featuring 'beaded beads' edges and fringe. I love the spirit of this photo.
I pick up beads 1 by 1. Ndebele (Northern South African) pick up beads 2 by 2 the Ndebele stitch, often annoyingly referred to as the Herringbone stitch.
Zulu make beaded rings and ropes but not like the Ndebele do. Their distinctive stitch is one of my favorites, but I don't have the patience to make rings like them, my understanding of color and patterns are different. These patterns you see on the beadwork share the same characteristics of patterns they draw on their homes, weave into their clothes etc...
I pay homage by not repeating their ancient patterns (or that of ANYONE). So I enjoy through expanding my collection, and I support bead weavers around the world with my heart and my money, I don't copy because I'm full up with creativity.
Model: Kiara The Voice
Photo and white Ndebele rings by Ta Meu Bem with original Ndebele pieces from South Africa (all from my personal collection).
This guy has to be the best thing that's come out of my alma mater. Manzel Bowman's digital style is beautifully rich, layred, afro-futurisitic visions of peace and ascension. This is one of my favorite prints by the artist.
He effortlessly weaves an image of a beautiful Angolan tribal woman into a landscape of royalty crossing time and space. Here are the original images which inspired his art, plus back details showing the headdress and fluidity of her tribal style.
The look of sadness, the look of joy, all in such surreal beautiful strong vibrant colors. The Toraja adorn themselves for every ceremony, every hour. Crowns, complex breastplates are just two of the beautifully ornate staples of this Indonesian tribe.
Oshun's Heart ✨ This beaded piece was especially made for me by none other than @tameujewelry. It's mixture of Red, Yellow, and White represent the Orisha Shango, Obatala, and Oshun, who have walked me into my priesthood with strategy, peace and unconditional love. Wearing this art makes me feel shielded by my ancestors, and reminds me that my sistas literally got my back. Thank you queen brown suga mama for putting your heart and labor into this work. To our museship and many more to come. Hit her up, she is always down to collaborate and make an amazing piece with you.
Photos by Bae @garybiddy
This piece is made from 100% size 11 Czech seed beads, Freshwater Pearls, and glass Pearls. It's extremely lightweight, and is one of the first breastplate designs I've created.
Damn. Damn. If I could find these in 11 it would be allll over. All over. I've searched though but to no avail.
I must admit I love the style I truly do, but it's hard to get me to pay over $20 for a pair shoes beaded with seed beads from China (they have some of the poorest quality beads on the market). It doesn't add up. A $300 price tag with $1 seed beads? NAH.
Anyway. In the meantime enjoy these amazing flicks from Rocky Barnes. See the rest of the photos here....
For those of you new to the world of beading, Dragon's eyes, or any eye, beaded and embellished, is here to stay. The ability to make your beadwork appear like scales because of color and bead type are making these popular brooches even more lifelike with every pass of the needle.
This piece is most definitely sold, but you can check out more of Mommy's Moon jewelry on her Etsy shop.
To be honest, beaded Dragons in general are a favorite among sculptural beaders around the world. Want to learn how to make your own? Here you go: Directions are in Russian but the step by step pictorial instructions are perfect. Use Google to help you translate if need be...but it can be sketchy so just try to follow the pattern lol.
Last two flat beaded necklaces by Sees Beyond
You can have a seat and a piping cup of NAH.
I'm so upset, it's not even temporary it's long-lasting. Upset, fed up, dissatisfied...scared.
I couldn't find much information on this ethnic group that is part of India. They are also known as the "Lanija Soara"
I would love to know the color significance of red in their culture. I love that strands are timeless across so many different ethnic groups.
Her hammered metal earrings remind me very much of Fulani style. We're all so very close.
Photo by the incredible Steven Goethals.
My favorite two things. Sunglasses and beadwork together. This woman looks fabulous.
Ethnicity: African, Kenyan...
Nothing to do with elitism, everything to do with the flow of this piece.
I am in love with nature, green things. Life. I find myself driven to create in a myriad of green tones that play with the eyes as the color shimmer and catch the sunlight. I return to leaf shapes expressed in soft milky green. I weave in old beads from forgotten beadwork left in the bottom of thrift store display windows.... glass, stone, crystal...all together now. Harmony.
You know Kamil right? Her words:
If my refusal to conform, sugar coat shit, or appease whiteness, hatefulness or homophobia offends anyone, good-- if I turn u off cause I write to much n don't ask for your approval enough good, go limp. If my tendency 2 go hard n get loud wit passion rubs ya the wrong way, good -- touch ya damn self. Stand for something or fall 4 anything. I'll take my stance n hold it, howbow you?
When's the last time you rose to the occasion?
Photo by Gary Biddy
Check out OkayAfrica's spotlight on one of my favorite groups The.Wav. These guys are leading the way for AfroTrap music like none other. The leading lady Miss Kelly is a beaded Goddess and is rocking a custom Tradition piece by yours truly.
It's made of vintage French and Czech beads. From a distance it's red, but up close you'll see the beautiful, subtle differences in its color. I love monochromatic patterns. It's my jawn. Before you leave, make sure you check out their music video for Love Games which features some cameos with beadwork by Ta Meu Bem and creative direction by one of my faves, Rachel Topping.
All seven and we'll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savior-faire
No one in the whole universe will ever compare.... Prince
The Purple One, I don't know how to be any more self explanatory. Prince one of the most prolifically talented artists of my lifetime always touched my heart. So I dedicated this piece to his eternal memory.
I spent over a month creating this piece, a month being only a sliver of time compared to the impact of his music on culture, on the soul. The Purple One has over 10,000 glass and gemstone beads each individually hand sewn. I incorporated shades of purple from lilac to deep Amethyst mirroring shimmery shades that Prince incorporated into every facet of his life. I looked toward nature- from the setting sky to exotic insects and nebulae for shades of purple and lilac that cross the spectrum.
.....Before I could loosely define my own spirituality he lent his words to the soundtrack of the battle against my ego, and my longing to turn my back on everyone... by the time I was 15 I had seen him live twice and lifted my voice in rejoice in jubilation with thousands of people singing this one song. Seven.
Model: Kamil Oshundara is spiritually powerful, charismatic and full of heart and valor. She is a speaker and Ifa priestess of Shango. You will be seeing more of her as we continue to collaborate and grow as artists, and women of integrity.
These young women are absolutely stunning in their pearl beaded headdresses.
Their delicate headdresses are woven using vertical netting which is a favorite worldwide.
I found this amazing beadwork while looking at folk costumes on Pinterest. The photographer, MANOJ_mannu has an amazing stream full of an honest authentic experiences he's captured within his country.
I had to add this picture because look at that color (and of course the beadwork)! <3
From my Affirmation Collection - The "Melanin Poppin" Beaded Choker.
Glass Seed Beads
I love the Melanin Movement. Finally I can talk about my skin, or my ethnicity without the label police getting angry that I'd call myself black, or god forbid African American. I, like many people born in this country have roots from other places. Mine come from Jamaica, and of course before that Africa (and England because, well you know).
I, for just this second, am happy that we came up with the idea, and it wasn't just some label thrown at my community to sate our hunger for respectful recognition.
Esther Mahlangu is a folk artist from South Africa. She is from the Ndebele tribe which lives throughout the Northern part of the country (my friend says). The Ndebele wear simply patterned or very ornate bead rings, aprons, and headbands that women gain through different life experiences (marriage, maidenhood etc...).
Esther has enjoyed widespread popularity for over 20 years and recently worked with BMW to create a brightly colored car. In addition she and John Legend worked together on behalf of Belvedere for the RED campaign.
The patterns they use are often primary colored and geometric, a style of beading that is uniquely theirs. The stitch commonly referred to as Herringbone stitch in beadwork is actually the Ndebele stitch.
I have several pieces from the tribe and the use it on their beaded rings, aprons and all sorts of amazing arts and crafts.
Definitely my favorite tribal beadwork from South Africa.
Please don't fucking kill me.
If you don't understand why, you're part of the problem.
I made this.
I feel the spirit of ancient queens who ruled with a glance.
Glass (seed beads)
Over 5000 individual beads hand woven by me. Original pattern (freestyle).
This may not be coherent, butttttt...
Man. Woman. Ascended beings. Aliens. Queers. Weirdos. Punks. Goddesses. Freaks. Posers. Photographers. Stylists. Journalists. Musicians. Artists...
Funny story. There's this other worldly like woman Wamuhu whose love and knowledge of indigenous culture is unrivaled. She's wearing the large Cowrie shell piece. My muse Barbie is wearing a Maasai beaded collar that I got from Wamuhu- in addition to earrings and beaded netting I created. Wamuhu recognized the necklace. Actually it's not a funny story at all, I'm awful at this lol.
Besides that I went wearing 80% original Ta Meu Bem beadwork. Ndebele inspired rings, Delica beaded collar (Fully Adorned style) and the vibrant beadork is from South America.
In orange, stylist and all around Slay Queen Ferriss is giving me x10 life with her thick beaded belt. Checking it out up close my eyes were popping out of my head.
So Good to see all the see beads that were floating around on necklaces, dresses and purses.
All, everybody was in unison. Afropunk LA showed face. We knew who we were. Who knew. Who belonged. I met a wonderful group of artists beyond compare. I danced. My feet hurt. My beads...they sparkled. I felt them on me like never before. Diaspora massive. Still high. coming down soon.
Shouts to Red Bull Sound Select
With photos by Daria
Images via Essence
Images via Vogue
Baltimore artist Joyce Scott named MacArthur Fellow
I learned about Joyce J Scott from an amazing bead artist Teresa. Scott creates an unforgettable body of work tackling cultural issues ranging from sex trafficking to racism. Being a MacArthur Fellow is a tremendous honor for any artist. Read more about Scott and her upcoming journey as a fellow here.
I love color. I can see even the most minute difference in the tone and hue of colors.
It's uncanny. Oftentimes people are surprised at work because what from afar looks to be one color, upon inspection is a myriad of tones and shades of said piece.
I never know how these look until they are finished.
All available in my handmade Etsy shop.
Beautiful and vast Russia. This country covering thousands upon thousands of miles has an array of beaders from tribes that can trace their lineage from Mongolia to ancient Europe. This is a bag by a very talented beader named Olga.
Russian's excel at bead embroidery, often creating award winning necklaces, purses and sculptures.
I will have a piece from her.
I couldn't be more excited for 2017. There's been some important news I've been waiting to hear regarding my beadwork and it has me biting my nails.
Although it seems like I'm a natural with handwoven styles, they are still a challenge to me since beginning 3 years ago. In a ode to my past and where and HOW I began beading (when I was 8 ya'll), I've begun lovingly creating a collection of beaded necklaces that I can't say much about, because well, they are going to speak loudly enough for themselves.
Next year expect:
More classes and workshops
Custom beadwork options
Curated beadwork shop
Bi-weekly newsletter with promo codes and more...
much much much more.
Here's to 2017!
All natural. I can't tell you how much I like natural, untreated stone. This Moss Agate is the most serene light blue I've ever seen. It reminds me of beautiful oceans in electric blue at sunset.
It's named The Jewel of Iemanja after the Goddess of the ocean. It's meant to remind you of the
Proceeds from this piece go to ocean conservation efforts.
Marine photography by my favorite Clark Little.
Available in my handmade Etsy shop.
Muse: Kamil Oshundara
Graffiti: Jay Blaine
Presented without comment....because I mean, what can I say about these masterpieces.
"Beaded Yoruba crowns and other artifacts do not just signify high social status. Beads are considered sacred to the Yoruba, and only kings and priests powerful enough to span the boundary between the secular and the divine are allowed to wear them. The crown (or ade) is the most important object in royal Yoruba regalia, and the right to wear one is limited to a small number of kings (obas) descended from royal families. The beaded veil that hangs down from the headdress is an important part of the crown. By covering the king's face, the veil downplays the king's identity as an individual and reinforces his role as divine leader. The veil is also said to protect onlookers from the king's powerful gaze."
I found some here for sale.
What can't I say about Jan Huling. Or how about this, let's talk about how I feverishly added her on Facebook after not being able to discover an artist page...gushing about how much I love her work. I am unashamed. To me, Jan is crossing every line of color and mixed media you can think of. Incorporating her beadwork onto KidRobot figurines and placidly perfect Buddhas.
Her execution is flawless expanding on a style of beadwork previously most recognized coming out of Huichol-style beading. Mosaic style beading is not for the faint of heart. I imagine one must be good at painting to do this....hmmmm.
As the year draws to an end I couldn't be happier. This has been an incredibly feral, savage, energetically unyielding year. However there's a silver lining. My art.
My art got me through. My art made me excited. My art spoke to me when I couldn't hear over the screaming of my own feelings....with that being sad I'm glad it's almost over and I will attack this next year with all the ferocity righteousness deserves.
In the mean time here are a few #BTS shots for my next shop update. Expect the unexpected.
I tend to like expensive shit. It's one of my shortcomings in life. Besides that I have a knack for liking expensive things that don't look like they're expensive which drives me even crazier.
I'm in love with this beaded cape. It's gorgeous, it's just as simple as that. This piece is beautiful but it's made from bugle beads which are notoriously sharp. I would love this piece but the likelihood of it snapping are high....and I get it. One thing I keep encountering in the fashion industry is this - "let's save money by using cheaper beads" - I wish they wouldn't because it shows.
I love it. Shouts to Jenna for representing the Philippines for me.
This is Yakan tribal beadwork from the southern Philippines. They are part of a large tribal ethnic group out of Mindanao. The patterns represent different animals and symbols recreated in painting and cloth.
They have a similar beading style to tribes in Afghanistan, as well as others I'm sure.
Jenna's wearing a piece I was able to get my hands on from an acquaintance in the Philippines, it is not a recreation.
Geez louise she couldn't have picked a better piece.
Actress, eternal black sweetheart, down to earth mama and around the way girl Taraji P. Henson is wearing an extra long Ndebele necklace. The Ndebele are a South African tribe and have a long history of coveted artwork. Their patterns can be seen painted on their homes, clothing, and woven into their beadwork.
On top of their adherence to tradition the very way they bead is original - the Ndebele stitch, often referred to as the Herringbone stitch is how they weave an assortment of beaded designs.
The black and white photo is utilizing several pieces from my private and public collection. The bold Ndebele chest piece is from my private collection and was shot by photographer James. Its patterns are striking against the primary colors they are created with. In addition the Ndebele chest piece is paired with one of my Ndebele rings created from white vintage seed beads, and a vintage brass choker available exclusively on my handmade Etsy shop.
That time when activist, model and DJ Mari Malek and a beautiful band of strong, enduring and breathtaking South Sudanese models paired up with famed photographer Cliff Watts to benefit Stand 4 Education, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children in South Sudan by giving them the tools they need to be empowered through education.
She's actually a super dope bead weaver.
The flapper is just the first thing I took notice of while doing my usual bead research I guess lol.
She's from Belarus and utilizes various techniques in her beadwork. Embroidery, netting, lace, and bezel work and more.
After trying my hand at embroidery I realize it's not for me. I enjoy bezeling (the beadwork that covers the stone) and netting techniques. I've noticed lace patterns are most popular in France and Italy. While I enjoy monochromatic beading, creating lace patterns relies heavily on black, white, cream and any light pink or beige color. I like vibrant hues, crossing the color range from the darkest to the lightest hue.
But remember not a game new under the sun
Everything you did has already been done
- Lauryn Hill "Lost Ones"
When I saw Solange on SNL I was floored by her beaded hair by Shani Crowe and her beaded dress. I had to do a double-take to really take in the intricacy of weaving hair and braiding which I have no talent for. She's talented, and a number one album speaks measures right?
After the show I couldn't help but realize how similar it is to ancient Egyptian beaded dresses. Turns out the dress is the brainchild of Erickson Beamon and Swarovski with artistic direction and styling by Jason Rembert and Eric McNeal. The beaded dress is beautiful but makes me wonder about it's durability and wearability - the beads used to create this dress are SHARP. The Egyptians used a type of ceramic beaded called Faience that is a hallmark of their beaded dresses, aprons and beaded collars. Their tubular shape along with their Turquoise hue, and often two-hole type are staples of this bead.
About the pictured Egyptian dresses:
These full length pieces covered sarcophagus and body of ancient royalty. The beads are made of a unique ceramic/glass material and are called Faience. Hallmarks of these beads are their beautiful mosaic of color ranging from the blue to burnt orange. These pieces are from 700 to 2150 BC.
Diane, most commonly referred to as "The Pine Sol Lady" is an amazing actress, spokeswoman, supporter of women, and least of all an amazing cook. Her cooking is amazing.
Her cooking is amazing.
I know you're salty because who doesn't want to eat what The Pine Sol Lady is cooking? She's so dope, and she loves [my] beadwork too. I wish I had better photos but Diane was an early adopter and found me in the early stages of my hand weaving career, beading mostly for personal joy (not much has changed...)
I love color. I love the sunset. I love mixing elements of cultures from which I come from. I love expressing the tone of color, the truest feeling of it.
These two ear cuffs are available exclusively in my Etsy Handmade shop <3
Kamil is radiating such a gentle beauty. Her spirit really livens me and I can't wait to see the path she creates for all of us to follow. People who are for their community are like that.
Artwork by the incomparable Jay Blaine. Jay is an amazing artist, inspiration and colleague, his work speaks to my spirit.
"Ubuhle Women" at the Anacostia Community Museum showcases the work of a community of master beaders
At Little Farm, a former sugar plantation near Durban, women paint with beads. "Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence," a new exhibition at the Anacostia Community Museum, showcases the dazzling creations of this community of artists, living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Called Ubuhle, or "beauty" in the Xhosa language, the community was founded in 1999 by migrant worker Ntombephi "Induna" Ntobela and local resident Bev Gibson, who co-curated the exhibition. Together the Ubuhle women have developed a new take on a South African tradition: the ndwango, a fabric panel of colored glass beads. Unlike traditional beadwork, which is worn on the body, these artworks are displayed on the walls like paintings. "By stretching this textile like a canvas," writes Gibson, "the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form....." Finish this article here
Heyyyyy Trevor Noah. I heard through the grapevine that you used to be on a soap opera back in South Africa....how far we've come right? But not so far that I wouldn't find this picture if you dressed up in traditional attire.
By the way, Trevor is from the Xhosa tribe where black and white color schemes dominate tribal beadwork. This style is a far cry from the colorful patterns of Zulu and Ndebele beadwork.
Thousands of Japanese Seed Beads
Vintage Czech glass beads
2 of 5
The back swags are endless....
I created this piece from the depth of my despair. Sometimes you have to find your way through the dark forest that is pain. My artwork is never my escape, it's my savior.
I'm not talking about your brother's leather bracelet either. I'm talking about bonafide beading. My panties get in a bunch when I hear someone professing that only women bead *side eye* Here's a look at some of my favorite male beaders.
1. Elias Not Afraid (He's really into beads too lol. I think so, and his bangles are amazing.)
3. Ronnie Harris III (Beaded headdress, medallions, mocs etc, all htis beadwork)
4. Patrick Duggan (Hailing from Australia, he has tons of patterns for sale and creates projects that a great for the geometric bead weaver)
Seed beads crown. Wire. Earrings. Lip. Earlobes.
I love everything about this.
Effortless style. Flawless features.
Czech seed beads
....I look at this man and I look at this beadwork and it reminds me someone who keeps watch...I wish I had information on the tribal significance of his beadwork (necklace) but whenever I read on tribes that's something they don't really get into given the state of the world today.
I love beadwork. It's a vital part of my creative expression and livelihood.
One thing that people have always asked me about is the beadwork I wear from other places, often trying to buy it off of me. I always say "no" because it's mine, you know, but it won't be that way much longer. While I'm busy building a curated shop filled with all the things you've been asking for, you can find my own creations exclusively on Etsy. I am a rockhound and avid crystal collector and enthusiast, and you'll find my crystal jewelry on Etsy as well.
Some things are difficult to come by but I'm a huntress.
As always thank you so much for supporting my art!
Lion Babe is made up of singer Jillian Hervey and record producer Lucas Goodman. Vanessa Williams (Miss Save the Best for Last) is Jillian's mother.
Unfortunately Lion Babe suffers from what I like to call the "Alunageorge Complex" lol. Alunageorge being an amazing duo from the UK who most people think is exclusively the singer, when indeed it is two people. La Roux is another group with a female who's most visible but not alone. Anywho.
About those beads. In this video she's rocking two serrriously beaded full coverage, full swag pieces. One is cream colored and is most reminiscent of Dinka beadwork. This multi-colored piece she's wearing isn't made of seed beads but is still woven with glass beads nonetheless. They're gorgeous, would love to know where they really come from...
By the way Treat Me Like Fire is my cut.
Spotted out and about at Afropunk 2016. It was totally a trip being there. I saw old faces from times I didn't expect. Connected my sould to soundwaves that moved me in ways I didn't know possible. Flying Lotus, as always, was the sh*t he was the highlight of my time there. Soulection and Sango did not disappoint and definitely round out the top 3 for me.
I'm wearing a ginormous (lol) Delica bead Petals piece with an XXXL drapey back. Delica beads are usually used for detailing in bead embroidery and bezel wrapping because of their tiny impeccably uniform size, butttt because I like opulence I couldn't help but make an entire piece out of them. Actually I've made two XXXL pieces from Delica seed beads. I haven't taken pictures of the other.
I never forget a color once seen, and this necklace is totally inspired by Turquoise sunsets over the ocean. Have you ever seen the ocean waveless, becoming liquid metal in the fading sunlight? It's spectacular....
Beadwork from the Ukraine is a big deal to me. Some of the first beaders I encountered online who shared patterns and tips are from the Ukraine.
I have a piece that everyone thinks is South African, but it's actually Ukrainian. Many tribes around the world utilize similar beading techniques but completely different patterns and color schemes.
This photography features her work and an amazing headdress (I'm a fan). Credits:
DAGADANA "Meridian 68" photo session
Fot. Treti Pivni Майстерня Треті Півні
Photo Session- Майстерня Треті Півні,
Headdress - Майстерня Треті Півні,
Necklaces - Етно-Вулик shop, Христина Рачицька
Bead decorations - Давній народний одяг shop (by Irina Haluschak
Photography and styling - Dominika Dyka
Join her Facebook group where she regularly posts updates about her art and beadwork.
She's a skilled creative beader and I admire her work.
Samburu warriors from Kenya in NYC. Amazing black and white photography by Billy Kidd.
Read the article about their adventure + the rest of the series here
No one is louder than a bigot these days. It's hard to love yourself, love your skin over the sound of all the hate that's being incubated and cultivated to do away with people like you (in this case me). When I hear about and experience the universal racism post-colonial society has created I wonder if we'll ever catch a break, or will there always be this hate of black skin...beautiful frighteningly vibrant black skin. I don't get it...sometimes I feel despair, but never for too long. This bead embroidery, inspired by Kenyan beadwork (named the Maasai Necklace), is all the way from Russia. Her beadwork reminds me that our contribution, artistically and culturally is being appreciated somewhere in the world, by someone who is unaffected by the powerful spin we're force-fed day in and day out.
Today’s guest beader is Mika of Ta Meu Bem, who creates stunning beadwork jewelry designs - including some very exciting netted broad collars. She has a flair for using bold colors and one of a kind patterns that stand out from the crowd.
Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with jewelry design?
Mika: I began designing jewelry when I was 8 years old. My mom bought me a bag of seed beads and a loom. I took to it very quickly, and soon the sounds of beads getting sucked up by the vacuum cleaner became commonplace in my home. I couldn't put it down. It would be years before I began doing stringing. I beaded on and off until about 15 years old when I found a Michael’s by my house with an excellent seed beads section. It was like no one else bought beads there except me, so I had a field day.
Read the rest of this interview HERE....
I realize now more than ever, in my journey to discover universal beading culture that we truly all came from Africa.
The Orissa (Bonda/Bondo) tribe of India are so akin in style to African and Middle Eastern counterparts, that I can see the footprints that lead out of Africa in their faces, in their beadwork, in their melanin. Their beadwork and customary dress, in this case Bonda women, can be traced back to curses they believe were levied on them by a consort and Hindu avatar named Sita.
She cursed the women with baldness, and nakedness, which is why to this day the women still shave, adorning their bald heads in rows of glass seed beads, secured perfectly with tiny silver bobby pins.
This mask caught my eye immediately. Although this mask is from Zambia, its beaded headdress reminds me of head pieces typical of Ethiopian and Eritrean women. I love that buttons are a common hallmark of African beadwork.
The well-balanced proportions of this mask-its rounded contours and finely defined ears, nose, and lips-lend it a portrait-like quality, and carvers are sometimes inspired by the appearance of a particular woman. This mask may honor a female ancestor, or it may represent Kalunda, a character who stands for the beauty and elegance of all Lunda women. The colorful beadwork and button decoration on this mask indicates wealth and maturity. Mothers and other female relatives of mukanda initiates wear this type of beadwork in their hair during initiation ceremonies.
Pwevo or Kalunda (woman or Lunda woman)
Late 19th-20th century
Wood, plant fiber, beads, buttons
I'm a nerd. I'm into beads. I'm a geek even. I'm a bead nerd so seeing an embedded board embroidered with beads is pretty fcking cool. This is by the one and only Alas from Russia.
Beaded collars. I'm going to be the first to say that they really, really, really liked bead weaving, and created intricate beautiful patterns and designs hundreds of years before anyone else.
Here are some of my favorite beaded collars from ancient Egypt.
The most colorful beaded collar is photographed by Glenn Gulley with the following caption.
Dynasty 18, reign of Akhenaten
ca. 1353-1336 B.C.
This necklace of faience beads, called a broad collar, is a durable version of the elaborate perishable floral collars worn by banquet guests. Such necklaces are seen in banquet scenes and are painted on statues from the Old Kingdom onward. The beads in this example imitate a row of cornflowers (center), three rows of dates (middle), and a row of lotus petals (outer). These rows are joined by strands of small ring beads. The rows end in rectangular terminals adorned with blue lotus blossoms, buds, and interspersed with poppy petals and persea fruit.
Gorgeous right? The other pictured collars are also ancient. The Turquoise colored piece is my absolute favorite. I find myself trying to recreate these designs but it's difficult considering that Faience beads (the tube style beads used by Egyptians) are "out of style" and difficult to attain.
Beautiful beaded pumps by overrated designer Louboutin. These are based on traditional Mexican beadwork but overall lack the color scheme, patterns, and "feel" that really encompass Huichol style.
I'd wear them but I doubt they come in a size 11 (don't judge me).