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Archive for the ‘local crafts’ Category

Cedi Beads Showroom

After the bead tour, we were then brought to the showroom.

There were some beautiful beads there and at very reasonable prices.

Cedi Beads sells only their top quality beads in their own showroom. The ones that they reject are sold to bead sellers who sell them at the Agomanya and Koforidua bead markets.

I bought only bracelets here, some for me and some for friends. The most expensive ones I got were only two cedis each. The rest were one cedi each. Veronica and Edna bought some beads, also. I got about 12 cedis worth, and the owner gave us each a free bracelet.

For bead lovers, Cedi Beads is a wonderful experience!

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Once the beads have cooled, they’re painted.  Each individual bead, individually hand painted. Then they are sent back to the ovens for another firing.

After the second firing and cooling, the beads are scrubbed with sand and water for polishing.

Then they are rinsed and dried.  Finished!

Ready for sorting and threading.

Beads are threaded onto raffia strings into strands ready for sale.

Making necklaces for the showroom.

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Cedi Beads: Firing

The ovens are also built with clay from termite mounds.  This oven shows cracks from the intense heat, even with the termite clay construction.

It takes at least a half hour for the glass shards in the molds to melt.

The molds are removed from the ovens on a paddle at the end of a very long handle.  The handles are probably seven or eight feet long.

Before the beads cool completely, they are pierced with an awl to create the threading hole.

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All the beads are made from glass bottles which would otherwise be thrown in a ditch or field.  There’s no official garbage collection yet in Ghana nor are there any recycling plants.

The bottles are pounded down to very small pieces with a metal pipe inside a large plastic bucket.

Worker safety is not yet a concept that has been taught in Ghana, and they do this without using goggles to protect their eyes from flying shards.

The pieces are then placed in molds before being melted in small ovens.

There are various styles of molds to produce beads of varying shapes and sizes.

The molds are made on site with clay from termite mounds, giant homes termites build for themselves from the red clay earth.  Beadmakers have found that termite clay resists heat from the ovens better and makes the molds less prone to cracking.

Termite mound in northern Ghana

They believe it has some connection with the saliva the termites produce to construct their homes.

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Cedi Beads

One of the best areas for bead shopping in Ghana is the Odumase-Krobo area, a string of villages that stretches from Somanya to Kpong in the Eastern Region.

Cedi Beads isn’t far from the Agomanya market, maybe 20 minutes away.  Even with the help of the beautifully hand-painted sign, the turnoff is easy to miss if you’re not watching carefully.

The grounds were very pretty. Photography is encouraged.

Cedi Beads isn’t mechanized in any way.  This is another local industry that produces traditional crafts without the aid of electricity.

There are several workshops, again open air but covered with tin roofs.

In each area there were three or four people working on one of the beadmaking processes.

After an initial flurry of picture taking of the grounds and buildings right after our arrival, we settled here in the plastic chairs for the beginning of the beadmaking tour.

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Agomanya Bead Sellers

 

Although Saturday is a regular market day, a lot of stalls in the beads area were empty.

Despite the fact that about half or more of the stalls in the bead area were empty, there was still a dazzling selection.

New beads were very reasonably priced at the Agomanya market. Typical price for new beads were two bracelets for one cedi. The exchange rate at the time was US$1 = 1.5 Ghana cedis, so the two-bracelet strands were only about seventy cents.

Vendor untying the strands of blue beads which I was about to buy.

All you had to do was decide on a color. They had every color you’d ever need.

It was almost overwhelming, in the very best way.

Got a chevron bracelet strand for 8 cedis.

Edna and I didn’t spend a full hour buying beads when we were ready to go back to the car.  If it hadn’t been so brutally hot, I would have stayed much longer.

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Agomanya Market

One of the best areas for bead shopping in Ghana is the Odumase-Krobo area, a string of villages that stretches from Somanya to Kpong in the Eastern Region. The village of Agomanya has a twice-weekly large bead market, a pilgrimage I had to make.


Saturday Sammy drove us to the Agomanya bead market.

From Somanya to Agomanya, just as the Bradt guide said, it was a string of villages with no separation between them. I liked the area very much.

One small portion of the large and busy Agomanya market

The Agomanya market was very busy and animated.

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