Though the brass bangles have been a Sseko staple for awhile now, we’re incredibly excited to announce our first major foray into the world of jewelry. The Brave Bracelet is entirely handmade in Uganda, using hammered brass wire, colorful beads, and a whole lot of talent.
First, brass wire is cut to size, hammered, and then shaped into a dainty geometric diamond.
Here, Josephine taps the wires to make sure the diamond shape is laying flat.
Stella has quickly become our expert resident bracelet shaper. It’s challenging to get the shape proportionate and even, but she’s quickly gaining a sense of how to get it right the first time.
The next step in the process is creating the colorful “pieces” used to customize the bracelet. Each “piece” represents a concept or character trait we admire. Add a piece of vision, curiosity, patience, bravery, or hope to your wrist to remind you of the qualities you’d like to pursue each day.
Each bead is given a wire loop to slip easily on the bracelet. Grace Sr. picked up this new skill in just one day, and is already very adept with a pair of jewelry pliers. Many of the ladies surprised themselves with this new skill. On the first morning, Eva shook her head in frustration after a failed attempt, saying, “I don’t think I’ll manage.” But by afternoon, she looked at the pile of finished work and front of her and laughed at her earlier misgivings. “It’s now very easy!” she said.
Josephine has recently taken up jewelry making as a hobby of her own, and can often be seen wearing handmade earrings. She leads the accessories team, and was quite excited to see jewelry come into the Sseko Uganda repertoire. Here, she carefully counts brass diamonds for the “confidence” piece.
Though a few beads are standard craft materials that were too pretty to pass up, most of them, such as the pressed glass “vision” bead, are purchased from a trader in Kenya. He collects handmade and unique beads from across the African continent. In addition to the story we’ve chosen it to represent, the beads have a deeper story all their own.
We can’t wait to send our newest product out into the world, and we’re so proud of our Uganda team for rising to the challenge and learning something new. Let their perseverance inspire you, and maybe even add a piece of it to your bracelet!