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Esther Darko

Esther Darko

"My favorite part of my work is when I see people wearing my designs — it brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart."

"I am a jewelry artist. I was born in 1955 in the Eastern Region of Ghana. My friends say I am quiet, religious and... friendly.

"I was attracted to this craft because of the colors and how some of the beads are molded into interesting shapes. Many materials are natural. When jewelry is worn, it looks gorgeous on people and I love that!

"My mother taught me to work with beads and I mastered the art by reading a lot about it and through constant practice.

"For 38 years, I was a schoolteacher and I taught jewelry making to my primary class students. I retired from teaching in 2012.

"When I decided to set up a work area in my home, I bought local materials in the market and began gathering natural materials as well. I first crafted waist beads and found inspiration from observing all that I see.

"Early one morning when I was still a girl, I went searching for snails with my sisters in the forest reserve before school. But once in the forest, I took a different route and picked as many snails I could. After the sack was full, I realized I had lost my way because I couldn't find my sisters. I shouted out their names but they didn't hear me. I began crying and roamed the forest until I met a hunter who directed me back home.

"I was easily distracted. One day I crossed the road without looking left and right and, suddenly, I heard the noise of a car slamming on its brakes. The driver leaned out the window and shouted, 'Buluu!' at me. That means 'fool' in the Ga language. 'Buluu! Can't you look before crossing?'

"I still work from home and my children used to help me when I had lots of beadwork to do. I have three boys and two adopted girls. I also helped educate five other girls in my neighborhood through junior high school.

"My favorite part of my work is when I see people wearing my designs — it brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. My hope and dream is to train many more people and also continue helping the underprivileged here."
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