From an Amazon email, I learned that there is going to be a book on Monkeybiz, a South African project reviving beadwork by providing beads to disadvantaged women in Cape Town. They can work from home, and still look after their family and avoid transportation costs. This nonprofit organization puts profits back into the community through fair payment for bead art, and provision of community services. Their beadwork has traveled the world, from Norway to Madison Avenue.

There was a collection of Monkeybiz beadwork on display November 2007 at the Hennepin County Government Center (where I helped display the Bead Quilt several years ago). I took some pictures, and got them out of my files to share. Enjoy!









September 26, 2014 EDIT:

I think I bought THIS elephant!

I was in a local thrift shop this week, and I saw a flash of pink beads as I was walking through the home decor area. I tugged out a pink beaded elephant from the bottom shelf – someone had bent the legs to fit on the shelf. I thought, “Monkeybiz?” – and bought it. I brought it home, image searched it, and found the picture – on my own blog. In my defense, if you glance at the post date on this, I wrote this in 2008, and I saw the beadwork in 2007. Now, sitting down to reply to a kind comment that the original link was broken and fix the link, I look at the picture again. On the blue part of the head, you see a jag in the diamond by the lower part of the ear as the artist left out the pink beads. The one I bought? The same thing! Wow.

7 Replies to “Monkeybiz”

  1. Don’t you love the beadwork the African women do? There is so much originality. Some of us here are sending beads to a group of women in Mongolia. Again, it is to help them support their families.

    Great pics.


  2. I do! The aesthetic is so much different than ours, and it is so much fun to “travel” this way. Sounds like a great project you’re involved in, how did it start?

    Thanks! I took more pictures, but they were all through glass, with glare from a window. These were the best ones.

    The penguins were my favorite….

  3. One of the ladies in our local Bead Society brought it to our attention. I think she heard of it through her church. I love doing things like this. I think it is so worthwhile.


  4. They are peyote over a form. All of the pieces are purchased from the artist, then sold, and all proceeds go back into the community. Most of the peyote is 2- or 3-drop, so would work up pretty fast. Some of those pieces — the Christmas trees — were HUGE. Doing a single color over a massive area would be a bit much for me!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I didn’t check the link on this 2008 post before I linked to it again. By the way – I think I bought THIS elephant. If you look at the white diamonds on the side of the head in the picture, one of them jags as it’s missing the pink beads. So does the one I bought!

Leave a Reply