In 2018 I visited my grandmother in Ghana (the last time I was there I was 7 years old). I was truly inspired by the vibrancy of the Arts, Music, Fashion and Culture there. The country was in the process of inaugurating the “Year of Return African Diaspora 2019.” There was widespread interest from all continents and, the preparations towards this inauguration had a huge cultural flare to it. I got my inspiration from that and also from stories my grandmother shared with me about when she had a shop in the city Centre where she sold beads. She was also a huge inspiration to me – this made me want to share my brand of bead work with the world.
I hail from a family who have worked with beads and beading products dating back to the 1800s. This was a business my great great grandmother on my mother’s side started. She was married to a German man who sailed with her to Fernan Do Po, an island in Equitorial Guinea now called Bioko. This was a Portuguese colony. On her return, she brought back some beads and started her business. For each generation, the bead business has been taken to a different level. for example, my great grandma sold them in cartons whilst my grandmother made them into contemporary sets i.e. a necklace and a bracelet – she taught my Auntie Grace how to create beaded accessories. I on the other hand have chosen to make them into bags, purses, head bands etc. I have brought the beading business over from Ghana to the UK and eventually around the world. In most parts of Africa, beads are a symbol used in celebration of womanhood, sexuality, femininity, fertility, healing, spirituality, body shaping, first menses, protection, seduction, and wealth, amongst other things – it is very important for me to preserve this culture.