Monday, October 28, 2019

A Visit to Kazuri Beads, Nairobi!

I’m working backwards -

But these smiles are too precious not to share RIGHT AWAY!

Our final tour on our “journey home” day in Nairobi was the Kazuri Bead Factory – and we were in for not only a feast for the eyes and hearts, but our ears too!

The whole story behind Kazuri Beads is fascinating.

Kazuri began in 1975 with two Kenyan women as a tiny workshop experimenting on making handmade beads.   And they soon discovered that there were many other women in the villages around Nairobi, most of whom were single mothers, who were also in great need of regular employment.

Gathering with our tour guide!

Hand forming the beads from clay.

Rolling the clay into uniform shapes and sizes is not easy!

Holes are made in the clay beads using a simple skewer.

The word Kazuri simply means something small and beautiful in Swahili. Each of the 350 local women employed by Kazuri shapes each bead by hand. The beads are then polished, kiln fired, painted, and fired again before being strung into necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more.

All day long. Rolling clay beads.

A form of meditation in a way I am sure.

Some beads are stamped into molds to make a design.

We enjoyed talking to the ladies and learning a bit about them!

A whole bowl full of beads ready for the firing!

Many beads of different sizes!

It looks like beans in a pot!

They also hand paint gorgeous pottery - and welcomed us by singing! Click to Play:

Kazuri is a fair trade business empowering women to be independent and self supporting. 

I loved these women! Some have been working here for 40 years.

There was a lot of talk and laughter, passing the busy working hours!

Kiln firing is done overnight -

And the beads are cooling by morning when the employees arrive, ready to be pushed into the next phase of the assembly line.

Making necklaces!

(I love the red/black gingham cloths!)

Some pretty ones in progress here!

So many gorgeous ones!

Oh, the BLUE!

Freehand painting a giraffe pattern on plates to be fired.

Skilled artisans doing a beautiful job!

While things look gray here –

They will look like this when fired!  GORGEOUS!

And after our tour – there was…..


And MORE shopping!

Prices were very reasonable – and we were so happy to be bringing home the product of such skilled artists.  I also purchased several pair of earrings and a couple of bracelets – and now I’m wondering just where I put them! They aren’t in my suitcase here in Virginia – so they must be with the rest of my stuff in North Carolina.  It’s a good thing my head is screwed on or I’d have left that behind as well.

Or maybe I have – it was another up at 2am kind of morning. I was able to lie in bed until 3am, and then gave it up and have been working on desk work ever since.  There is a LOT happening this week!  Are you counting down until THURSDAY!??  I AM!

We also have a Quilty Box Gift-Away being drawn for on Wednesday.  

Be sure that you enter to win ON THAT POST

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage feathered star quilt shared by Kevin the Quilter.

Your inner peace is worth protecting at all costs.

And though you can't always change things outwardly, you can begin inwardly.

Cleanse your thoughts, your precious heart space. It all begins right there inside of you.

it’s a new week!  Welcome to your Monday -


  1. What an interesting business. The checked tablecloths would provide convenient measuring for planning necklaces, before checking against the tape measure.

  2. I have a blue string on today! (Good thing I didn’t see the giraffe plates! Several would have come home with me!!)

  3. good morning and another welcome home! I hope all your 'treasures' materialize at some point or another... cool, fall weather in Carlsbad, CA

    1. CATS: Are you safe in Carlsbad from the fires and the Santa Ana Winds? I am glad that while I was stationed there, we did not have those fierce fires! Stay Safe!

      Kasilof, Ak

    2. Thank You Bonnie for sharing this wonderful end to your trip.

      The giraffe plated intrigued me, and of course the beads. It is a good thing I wasn't with you, or lots of blue ones would have found their way home w/ me! Lots of other colors, too!

      Kasilof, AK
      Waiting patiently until the reveal of the colors and yardages!

  4. Oh Bonnie - you don't HAVE to wait until Thursday. You could go ahead and announce those mystery colors now. LOL!!! :)

  5. I truly loved this story about these amazing artisans, and especially their beautiful singing!

  6. The process of making the beads is incredible. I love handmade items like this but it's a long ride to buy them.

  7. Amazing women! I can't sleep counting down to Thursday though!

  8. How wonderful to end your visit to Nairobi on such a high note with those wonderful artisans!! I saw those giraffe plates and wondered if you figured out a way to get a set home safely!!!

  9. Thank You, Bonnie....Wonderful to see !

  10. Loved the blue beads....3 more sleeps until showtime....lol

  11. Having Teapot envy here... beautiful.

  12. Such a wonderful place, must have been amazing to visit these wonderful women.
    Thank you for sharing the story and pictures of these wonderful women.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  13. That is really amazing! Thanks for sharing that experience with us!

  14. What beautiful singing! Thank you for sharing so many memories with us! Yes, I am looking forward to the release of the new mystery as well! :)

  15. Such an enjoyable post, yet again. The singing while they work. Something we could all learn to appreciate. The simple joy of creating. What an incredible experience you and your group had. May their voices of joy stay with you always.

  16. Lovely, just lovely. Thank you.

  17. It seems mundane to roll beads all day but it also looks like a creative and fun place to work. Would love to visit.

  18. Thanks for the tour of the Kazuri Bead Market.. last December we came here but as it was a National holiday, son only the shop was open..We did walk around the grounds and had a tour to explain the why and whats but this now brings back the fab memories. I treasure the necklace, earrings and bracelet we purchased here, made by these special ladies...

  19. Today was my very first day of joining your blog and I thoroughly enjoyed the read and photos! Thanks for sharing

  20. Good advice with your thoughts today.
    Live with love in your heart

    These women are beautiful.

  21. Can we buy any of these products states side or online?

  22. What is it about the voices of African women? I love how they are so rich & full. I've enjoyed watching your journey. Thanks as always for sharing so much life with us!

  23. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures. Loved the beads. Wish you had brought some home to sell!
    Yes I am anxious for Thursday, your Mystery Colors revealed. Then on Friday, we adopt a 21 month old Schnauzer. So yes, Thursday hurry up! I want to get to Friday.

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