Our Recycled Glass Bead Makers-Florence and Kwesi of TK Beads
Florence runs TK Beads with the help of her husband Kwesi. The factory is just outside of Accra. Here they collect bottles and broken glass. The glass is crushed down, placed in various shaped molds and melted down. The beads are then polished with sand and water. Some beads are hand painted and placed back into ovens. The result is beautiful hand crafted beads that lend themselves well to the jewelry that Liz creates.
Our basket supplier- Dominic of Patex Enterprises
Dominic runs Patex Enterprises in the northern part of Ghana in a small village called Bolgatanga. Here, he has several cooperatives with women weavers. Dominic collects the baskets from the women and pays them directly. This saves the women from having to walk to the basket market and sell to a buyer-who does not always give them a fair price. Dominic has built a large warehouse where he stores the baskets and prepares them for shipment to various suppliers around the world. Dominic also buys and stores the grass that is used for weaving. Most of the weavers are married to subsistent farmers and use the money they earn weaving baskets to supplement their income. Women use a grass that is indigenous to the area sometimes called "elephant" grass. They split the grass with their teeth and then roll the two pieces together to make a stronger strand. They use natural and powdered dyes and soak the grass to get the many beautiful colours woven in their baskets. The women start their weaving with a small woven square building their basket by weaving in more grass and creating their designs.The basket handles are wrapped with goat leather for comfort. While visiting a cooperative we were able to try our hands and teeth at splitting and weaving grass. We were also priviledged to receive a dance from the women as a thank you for buying their baskets.