You guys know I make stuff and I'll occasionally refer to something new I've come up with. I don't like to use my Mrs Jones space for overt and obvious advertising - I reckon I've put the links down the sides, if you visit and you like something there, you'll buy it. I'm not naturally pushy when it comes to 'selling' my things, even though I am very proud at how something's come out (if I don't think it's good enough, it doesn't go on the stall or the websites).
But a few months back I was wandering around a few of my favourite online bead shops (where I get my supplies) and came across Acholi Beads and I thought they were lovely. I didn't know what they were so read up on them.
These beads are handmade by Ugandan women of the Acholi tribe. They fled civil war in the north of Uganda and ended up in refugee camps in a hillside slum just outside the capital, Kampala, where the only money they could earn to feed their families and the orphans they cared for was $1 a day crushing rocks in a quarry.
A young chap called James A Pearson came along, saw that he could help and set up Acholi Beads. The women now make these lovely beads by recycling paper (tearing them into strips, rolling them up and then soaking them in varnish). It was something they were already doing, but he advised them on microfinance, investing, design, collaboration and setting up working co-operatives. It is both Fair Trade and socially proactive business.
The women are now no longer working in the quarries. The beads (and the jewellery) they make are bought from them for a fair price and then made available to retailers.
I have bought some of the loose beads and have made three pairs of earrings so far (I have more beads but haven't made them into anything yet - I'm thinking perhaps a bracelet.....). Actually, I've made four pairs but I liked the orange and blue pair so much I've kept them. The beads are fairly large but because they're made of paper they weigh very little.
The three pairs are online now and available from www.venerablebead.co.uk. You can click on 'Latest Things' and they'll be there, or put 'Acholi' into the search box.
I hope you'll have a look as I think this is such a truly worthwhile project. If they prove popular, I will buy more beads which will help the Ugandan women.
Sexy, glamorous, slim. Inclined to exaggerate. All my own hair and most of my own teeth. Able to break equipment in a single bound. Not shy of a bottle of wine or three. Am happily married to The Lovely Husband (TLH) and was owned by two cats called Sylvester Bean (who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 27 December 2013) and Pepper Bean (who went over first on 2 November 2010). UPDATE: As of November 2014, we became the new minions of Puffle Segar and Maggie Segar who voluntarily moved out of their original home (due to the introduction of unrelated kittens) so we took them in. After saying we didn't want any more cats. Like you do. They obviously sensed there was a cat vacuum in our house and moved in to fill it, furry little buggers.
I wish I was better at everything I do.