Today we are in Bamako, the decidedly modern and lively capital of Mali in West Africa. There are looming skyscrapers, museums, music clubs, a zoo, and botanical garden; however, the city maintains a rich sense of the country's heritage as we pass outdoor markets to observe beautiful, traditional African crafts. Africa is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer Tetou Gologo.
There is a grand tradition of jewelry making in Mali that rest in the capable hands of the Dogon, Tuareg, and Togolese tribes. Widely known for their finesse, patience, wisdom, and honesty, these tribes have preserved their longstanding knowledge of handmade beaded jewelry with the help of Gologo.
Gologo wholeheartedly embraces the supreme artisanship of these tribes, which are renowned for their masks, sculptures, and sliver and gold jewelry. Their artistry inspires her creativity.
In 2005, she founded her company, Tamacali, where she serves as Creative Director, and employs artisans from all three tribes. She makes certain to provide them with high wages, training, medical services, and daily meals.
Her ambition is to blend traditional and modern aesthetics fashioning gemstones and beads of all colors, sterling silver, bronze, leather, and ebony into vibrant designer jewelry that embellishes the glow of assorted skin tones.
With her team of artisans, Gologo created seven collections that are a feast for the eye. Exploding with vivid colors and sleek, geometric shapes, her flowing strands of beads possess a regal type of elegance and beauty. Her company also submits its time-honored designs to The Hunger Site.
Photo 1 (top right): Red and Yellow Lucky 7 Handbeaded Necklaces
Photo 2 (bottom left): Model is wearing Multi-Strand Bead Necklace