Grandma’s treasure trove

January 6, 2015

When we are children, primitive things can capture the imagination… for me, a trip to my grandmother’s jewelry store started a journey of dreams that continues to this day. She handed me a small collection of African beads, and I played with those beads for hours, playing with pattern. Some were rough to the touch (they did not conform to the sensibility that jewelry should always be sparkly or pretty), some had odd odors, and they were unique in the sensual sense. The small collection became a gift that brought me joy in the years that followed as I traded them with friends and added odds and ends from my own travels. I discovered at a young age that beads were not toys, trade wind beads influenced the course of history and changed lives, and many cases lives were lost or placed into situations of involuntary servitude over this commodity.

Bead Stash

African beads.

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