The Challenge of Travel – blog hop reveal!

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I so enjoyed this blog hop challenge! We were instructed to choose a part of the world other than where we live and then create something inspired by it. I chose Africa, because for years I’ve been fascinated by tribal jewelry and love to collect African trade beads. Here’s a picture of part of my collection-

Those beads in the center of the tray are kiffa beads, and they’re the reason why I specifically chose Mauritania as the African country I felt inspired by.

Mauritania is an interesting land of contrasts on the Western coast of Africa, and is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert. The northern part of the country is inhabited by nomadic Arab and Berber tribes, and by black African people in the southern portion.

Making kiffa beads

African women make the colorful kiffa beads by hand, using traditional methods and very simple ingredients – ground glass, gum arabic –  sometimes even saliva! The beads are made in pans over an open fire. Modern kiffa beads look much the same as ones made long ago. I think they’re so beautiful!

I have a handful of kiffa beads that I’ve been hanging onto for a number of years, and I used them in three separate jewelry pieces for this challenge.  First is this pair of earrings made with hammered brass hoops, batiked bone beads and a couple of small kiffas-

Next is a bracelet with beads that remind me of Morrocan silver,  a large copal amber bead and small kiffas.

The final piece is a necklace made with antiqued brass, czech glass and more kiffa beads, including my favorite – a triangular focal.

Thanks so much for joining me on my little tour of Mauritania – I hope you enjoyed it!

Be sure to visit all the other countries and artists on this wonderful trip around the world!

Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu

29 responses »

  1. What a treat to have beads made by your Country of Choice! I would never have thought the beads were made in this fashion – how painstaking! But, that makes them even more special! I love the bracelet – the toggle is a great size for those beads! All of the colors are gorgeous. But, my favorite piece is the earrings! They are perfect with the hammered hoops! Thanks for sharing!

  2. How lovely! I think that all your pieces capture the spirit and liveliness of your chosen country. I especially love knowing how those beads are made. What a great process! And so personal… you know that an artist made each one by hand! Those earrings are fab, and I would love to wear them. And tribal jewelry is very hot right now! Thank you so much for participating in this challenge! I think that I need to go and get a passport! Enjoy the day. Erin

  3. OK so now I need to go read more on Kiffa beads. Glass and spit?! An open fire? Amazing. I like your necklace – but full stop! Your bracelet is a stunner! Perfect contrast b/w the large solid copal amber and the color and texture of the beads! Wow! And the earring rock too, just saying…

  4. Those kiffa beads are beautiful. I can’t wait to get my hands on some. 🙂 Your earrings are just gorgeous, as is your bracelet. That necklace just makes me swoon. I love the brass mixed in and the pendant you chose.

  5. Interesting post and lovely pieces. Thanks for sharing about the Kiffa beads. Your work in this challenge certainly has a rustic old world feel. Nice job.

  6. The kiffa beads are lovely. I think it would be hard to part with them. Your pieces are beautiful, and represent Mauritania so well. And I love that copal amber bead.

  7. Joan, thank you so much for sharing this view of the beautiful people of Mauritania, and the time-honoured tradition of producing these unique beads. Your creations are truly inspired by the colourful costumes. I very much hope to visit Africa some day and see Mauritania with my own eyes!

  8. Thank you for taking me on your trip to Mauritania I enjoyed learning about the people and culture. It was fascinating to learn about how the kiffa beads are made. I love your earrings, bracelet, and necklace they are all very beautiful and a well representation of Mauritania.

  9. Wow! So interesting to learn about the Kiffa beads. Want to learn more! All of your pieces are beautiful. Especially love your earrings.

  10. Beautiful! How wonderful to hear of these beads, I don’t believe I’ve come across them before. Your pieces have a direct connection to their inspiration and the hands that made them there which gives them an exrta beauty. Great work!

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