Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kazuri~Meaning small and beautiful

 Kazuri Founder - Lady Susan Wood was born (1918) in a mud hut in an African village. Her parents were missionaries from England in the Ituri Forest. Lady Wood was sent back to England to be educated and married Michael Wood, a surgeon. They came to Kenya in 1947. They were dedicated to making a difference and Lady Wood started a coffee plantation on the Karen Blixen estate, famous from the award winning movie "Out of Africa" , at the foot of the Ngon'g Hills, about 30 minutes from the bustling Nairobi city center in Kenya. Lady Wood was a visionary, an unsung hero of her time. She assisted her husband in founding the East African Flying Doctor Service, which expanded into the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) of which Michael Wood was Director General for 29 years. Michael Wood was knighted in 1985.
 In 1975, Lady Susan Wood set up a fledging business making beads in a small shed in her back garden. She started by hiring two disadvantaged women, and quickly realized that there were many more women who were in need of jobs and so Kazuri Beads was created and began its long and successful journey as a help center for the needy women especially single mothers who had no other source of income. In 1988 Kazuri became a factory and expanded hugely with over 120 women and men. Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads and jewelry. The beads are made with clay from the Mt Kenya area thus giving them authenticity to their craft. The factory acts as a social gathering with the hum of voices continuing throughout the day. With unemployment so high, one jobholder often ends up providing for an "extended family" of 20 or more. Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Act

 Today Kazuri, the Swahili word for 'small and beautiful' produces a wide range of hand made, hand painted ceramic jewelry that shines with a kaleidoscope of African colors and Kenyan art that reflects a culture and appeal to a worldwide fashion market. Kazuri's beautifully finished products are made to an international standard and are sold worldwide. These standards are maintained through high training standards and a highly motivated management team.

 I first found out about the Kazuri bead story while on vacation last year in Cambria. While shopping some of the antique stores one afternoon I noticed a cute bead shop that had some kind of trunk show going on so I headed over to take a look.  I walked in right when they started an amazing presentation about the history of Susan Wood & Kazuri bead factory.  I started thinking I couldn't have planned this any better while on vacation or was it planned for me?
I Purchased a small bag of beautiful beads that took me forever to pick out because I wanted them all !!   I was excited to get back and use them in my designs and share the story

I made a few items last year and attached a story card
about  Susan wood & Kazuri factory 
The items sold petty fast and Im sure it was due to the
inspiring story. So this year I want to be better about giving back
and this is where I'm starting it may be Small but its Beautiful



  1. What a great story Kathy jo. I was poking around your blog and looking at all your incredible work! I just drool.... are you going to vend at GF? Hope to see you soon sweet spirit!

  2. ~Thank you Robin means so much coming from you talented lady !!!!
    I'm hearing that GF is not taking anymore Jewelry artist so I have not tried
    but I do love going and shopping :) I went last year to help my friend Lisa loria and had a great time so many talented women but of course you know that
    wink~I keep checking in with Irene to see whats happening at GOB so hopefully our paths will cross soon :)

  3. Hi Kathy Jo,
    What a beautiful and inspiring story! Your necklace is wonderful and a lovely way to give back.
    Thank you so much for visiting...I am now your newest follower and it looks like I may be seeing you soon at GF...
    Wishes for a lovely week!