Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ghana beads

Odumase is the name for a large tree with spreadout branches where founders of Ghanaian cities liked to establish themselves. It would become a central gathering place and provide shade.
Odumase Krobo is a town in the Central Region known for its glass beads. Mention Krobo beads to a collector and they get excited!

The beads are traditionally made by men, although there are a few women beadmakers, and they are collected by women. Krobo women are very serious about their beads. They believe that if they sell one from their collection, they will experience bad luck. The beads are passed down to their daughters.

All of the beads have names. There is a large round bead called a BODOM- my dog was named bodom. In Twi, bodom means bark as in woof-woof and this bead "barks".It calls attention to itself.

The beads are made from powdered glass and look deceptively easy to make, but to be considered a master one must apprentice for at least three years.

Ghana is known for its festivals. The Krobo have two. In early Oct. they make a pilgrinage to the top of Krobo mountain. The Krobo lived on the mountain until the conquering British made them come down so they could be more easily monitored.
And in April/May the Krobo celebrate Dipo, a female coming of age ceremony. Young girls are draped in beads from the family collection or sometimes they are rented.

Cross Cultural Collaborative arranges anything that you want to do in Ghana and one of our most popular offerings centers around Krobo beads.

We can take you to Odumase Krobo
We can take you to the beadmarket
We can arrange visits and/or lessons at beadmakers workshops
We can take you to Dipo
Do you know who the most famous Krobo beadmaker is? We can introduce you to him

Not ready to go to Ghana yet? OK

Go to the VIDEO page at and look at some clips of beadmaking

Go to
under CRAFTSPEOPLE look for Nomada Ebinezer Djaba
under SHOPS go to ABA'S SHOP and buy some beads
while you're still on the site, read the GHANA entry under country profiles to find out more about this crafts-centric country

any questions?

P.S. "Janeen St. Louis" what's your email address?

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