Whenever in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Flea Market is a must-go, as it is the Mother-of-All-Flea-Markets. And whenever I visit it, I am in heaven. Once when I got there very late, there were tables and tables of African beads, and I wanted to buy all of them. I was overwhelmed by the colors and textures of the beads.
My mantra is you can never have too many beads. People who collect beads understand this. Not only are they beautiful, but I believe I am holding history in my hand and I wonder, especially with African beads, where has this bead been, and how many hands have held the beads before they I fell in love with them and added this particular string of beads to my collection.
On one trip, I came very close to the Santa Fe Flea Market closing time and found the majority of bead traders were packing up. There was one particular bead trader, Bakai Saho, offered to unpack his beads for me. I told him that I could not take up his generous offer. I have done many art fairs and know how long it takes to pack and unpack all of your goods. I gave him my contact information and Bakai said, if he was ever in Fort Collins, he surely would look me up.
A year went by and totally forgot about Bakai until my cell rang. Bakai Saho was in Fort Collins. We finally arranged to get together and it was a start of a friendship, a collaboration and business venture.
I could tell many stories about Bakai, but maybe later. I did many markets with him selling his beads. This is where I fell with African beads and their stories. Beads are a mainstay in my jewelry. At Screen Door Studios, I have a wide selection of African beads for sale and many pieces of jewelry made from African beads, which continue to inspire me.
Stay tuned, as I plan on sharing the stories of my favorite beads and how I used them in my jewelry.