When it comes time to name the Beaded Hope jewelry, we like to maintain the authenticity by having the artists themselves christen each piece. But the last workshop we had, in April, was so busy with instructing and creating, that the naming process was buried.
But thankfully, we did ask original beading artist Betty to name one of her bracelets. She toyed with its beads for a moment, and said she’d think about it.
The next workshop, Betty held up the piece: “Izimbasa.” The word rolled off her native South African tongue like a precious-kept secret. “In Zulu, it means star.”
Back in the states, Jennifer and I sat down and realized we had a ton of jewelry, but only one name. As we tinkered with the individual pieces and shot out possibilities, pieces of nature we’d seen in South Africa kept floating to our minds: the sunset, the dirt, the colors. And then we had Izimbasa. Why not make it a theme? The external beauty of South Africa, represented by jewelry crafted out of the internal beauty of its people.
Betty didn’t mean to inspire the names of the whole line, but that’s just what she did. As Jennifer and I sat and drank our South African Five Roses tea and tossed around our mental images of Africa, we remembered Betty’s laugh and nestled in the nostalgia.