Brass and Bright Colored Beads by Janes Beads Ke

My name is Jane Mwithiga and I am a 21-year-old Christian girl. I was born on November 26th in Kenya and raised by a single parent. When I was 12 years old, my Sunday School teacher noticed that I was good with my hands during arts and crafts. She went ahead and bought me my first jewelry kit, which consisted of seed beads, some beading string and a pair of pliers. I haven’t stopped making jewelry ever since.

handmade african jewelry

handmade african jewelry

At first, I made jewelry as a hobby, after school or during the weekends. I would make pieces and wear them to school and my friends would ask me to make them similar pieces. Once I grew older, I started to take making jewelry more seriously and decided to make a career out of it. It’s truly been one of my best decisions ever, since now I get to do what I love every day.

Once I am in the workshop, I start with a prayer. After that, I gather the materials I would like to use that day and begin! Usually when I pick the materials, an idea comes to mind and I begin working on it. Mostly, I enjoy working with brass, horn, bone, leather or any bright colored beads. I have been blessed to meet local artisans who use some of these raw materials to make beads. I purchase supplies from them directly and this way I am also able to support them.

handmade african jewelry
handmade african jewelry
handmade african jewelry
african handmade jewelry

Of course, the design and materials I work with influence the amount of time I pour into my work. There is actually a piece that I spent 2 months working on! The smaller the beads, the longer it will take. At times, the design changes in the process, which means I have to redo parts of it. Sometimes there are those amazing days where I can make a piece of jewelry in less than an hour and it comes out exactly as imagined.

What I love most about making jewelry is the creativity and the freedom of it. The fact that I can combine different types of materials to create beautiful pieces of jewelry never ceases to amaze me. Almost anything can serve as my inspiration, whether it’s the colors of a bird, the structure of a leaf or the pattern of a fabric.

 

 

 

 “Creativity is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.”

handmade african jewelry

Of course, some days being creative is tough and it just doesn’t flow as easy. I can go to the workshop and nothing will come together. At times like this, I’ve learnt to relax and give myself a break. During time off I enjoy unwinding by reading, spending time with my dogs and resting outside; I like to feel the warmth of the sun and listening to birds. Every now and again I have lunch or coffee breaks with my mother. During these breaks, I make time to assist her in reaching out to the less fortunate children in our community.

I hope that Janes Beads Ke’s customer reach and international- and local profile will grow immensely in the next 5 years. This will allow me to mentor youths and support local outreach much more. It will also make it possible for me to work with a larger variety of materials, which gives me the opportunity to grow creatively.

For anyone reading this who aspires to craft jewelry: creativity is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes! As long as this is your passion, go for it full force. Don’t let anyone intimidate you or step on your dreams. Even when the chips are down, keep doing your best.

Visit Jane’s online marketplace and discover more of her beautiful handmade jewelry. You can also take a look at some of Jane’s favorite artisans on Discovered by clicking on the links below. 

handmade african jewelry
Mumbai, India
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handmade african jewelry
Saigon, Vietnam
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African Handmade Jewelry
Nairobi, Kenya
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