Tag Archives: beads

My First Waist Beads

In African tradition, waist beads are meant to be worn under clothing. They’re for you. It’s personal.

Tica Bowden

Yesterday, after work, I picked up my very first set of waist beads from a friend in Brooklyn, who creates them by hand. It’s been quite a long time coming and finally, everything I needed to be able to commission them, lined up so I could make my order. I met Janice through my BF soulsistah4real who conducted an interview with her in 2015. I ran into her at a party for a mutual friend last month and took the opportunity to speak to her about making a set of waist beads for me with some specific energy and intention poured into them.

When Janice sent me the photo of my waist beads, I loved them right away. She used the color I love and the stones that were necessary for the intentions I am setting. Putting them on was like putting on something that belonged on me. They’re not irritable or foreign feeling at all, at least not so far. They lay comfortably just along my waistline, under my belly. They’re so light, I sometimes forget they’re even on.

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As I lay in bed last night, feeling them on my skin, it felt as if they were at home on me, like a part of me I didn’t know I needed. I don’t have any tattoos but I imagine this is something like what people who love tattoos feel like. It’s also wonderful to be connected to other women through an ancient tradition. It’s something beautiful  and meaningful, which is tucked away and unnoticed, yet always there and sometimes peeking through.

When we were last at Spa Castle, lounging in the hot pools on the lower level, I remember we saw several sistahs wearing waist beads. You would think that just being naked was sensual enough but waist beads have a way of enhancing feminine energy in a distinct and way that varies in nature from delicate and demure to bold and extroverted but always sexy

Like another BF of mine said, waist beads tell a story. And I know that in ancient times women who were proficient in the language of stones and colors, knew what those stories were, what tribe a woman was from, how old she was, what she was wishing for, going through, celebrating, expressing or meditating on, based on her waist beads.

The look on my husband’s face when I showed him was priceless. He was like a kid in candy store! LOL! I know it was a new feeling for him. Even I could not have anticipated the feeling I had when I put them on, and saw them on myself the first time. It’s a uniquely pleasurable experience that is a welcome departure from Western ideas about sexuality and what makes a woman beautiful.

I’m very glad that these particular waist beads are my very first set. I know they will not be the last.

Anklet Weekend

I had my ears pierced when I was a baby so I don’t remember the pain if there was any. In traditional Caribbean fashion I was sent gold earrings and a gold bracelet from a beloved Aunt of my mother’s. In my baby pictures I can see them in my ears and on my wrist but they are no longer in my possession. During my adolescence, demonstrating classic early signs of DIY craftiness, I pierced my own ears a second time for a second pair of earholes, which I can still feel on my lobes but have not used in many years.

I remember that at Bard College, as an icebreaker with my new and slightly stiff roommate, I held out my hands to her one morning before heading out to class and asked, “What do you think? Do I look too much like Mr. T?” I wore way more rings in those days, at least two to three on each finger.

In addition to earrings, I also have an eclectic collection of necklaces that I love as well. I shop on etsy, H&M, Forever 21, street vendors and museum gift shops which are literally like an amusement park for me.

All of this to say, I wear and have worn as much jewelry as the next woman or man for that matter. But I’ve never done anklets. Oh there was one triple stranded anklet my godmother made for me when I was a girl. She made me jewelry all the time that I adored. That anklet wasn’t one of them. It’s not that it wasn’t nice. I just didn’t get it. My high school BF, Vanessa used to wear these cute silver toe rings. I could never pull that off either. I loved them on her though as I love anklets on other women. I find small adornments like that to be very special and specific. It is an adornment beyond the traditional Western adornment. You have to pay attention to see it and when you look you see more than just the jewelry; you see the body part. Ohhh it’s so feminine.

Well Khalilah is very feminine and she has been after me for some time now to make an anklet for her using some beads she purchased at Beads of Paradise which were originally purchased for me to make her waist beads. I spent a little time in the bead shops downtown on 6th Ave this weekend looking for accent beads, rings, clasps, crimp beads and crimp bead covers to create Khalilah’s anklet. I love bead stores. I got very curious and learned new things about finishing off beaded projects that I didn’t know before. Eternal gratitude to YouTube. LOL!

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Oshun Anklet for Khalilah

This past Sunday I made an anklet bracelet for each of us. Khalilah’s anklet has these beautiful copperish base beads with a translucent pink color you can see when you hold it up to the light, orange accent beads, and these beautiful shimmery gold colored bells that sound delightful when they ring. These colors are inspired by the Goddess Oshun.

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I made mine with a tinier bright yellow base bead because I am just plain shy about wearing an anklet. The yellow is bright but the strand is thin and modest because I am a walking contradiction. LOL! I used green and orange accent beads because they are two of my favorite colors. When I put it on I feel so freaking damsel like. I mean it’s beyond feminine. It’s such a delicate and sweet thing to wear jewelry on your ankles and feet.

I haven’t made anything by hand in a while though and this was a very interesting project. I feel like my sense of color combination and placement is becoming more refined than it used to be. It always feels good to complete a hands on project like this and for me one inspiration invariably leads to others. It’s one of the many things I love about color, creation and making things with my hands, especially in the Summer.

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