Arte Es Vida

Kwanzaa Necklace by arteesvida
December 17, 2006, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Clay Jewelry, Holiday Projects, Kid Friendly Projects

The holiday of Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and lasts for seven days. “Kwanzaa” is a Kiswahili word meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. Each day focuses on one of the seven principles. The principles are: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective works and responsibility), ujamma (cooperative economies), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith).

The corn in this necklace, Muhindi, symbolizes a family’s children, and the future they embody. The colors of the beads also have special meaning. The red represents the struggle of the African-American people, the green represents the hills of Africa, and the black represents the color of the African people.


Polymer clay in red, black, green, and yellow

Clay dedicated tools and oven.

Stringing material (silk cord, leather, monofilament, or tiger tail)


Condition your yellow polymer clay and sculpt an ear of corn. It isn’t very hard…you need a basic oval that is pinched smaller at one end, then you need to create a grid of lines across it to be the corn. You could even press your oval against a window screen to make the pattern! Run a hole side to side to string the corn as a bead, or you can just put a hole through the top and add a jump ring to make it a charm dangle.

Condition your red, green and black clays. You can break off pieces and roll them in the palms of your hands to make slightly oval beads, or you can roll the clay in to thick snakes and cut off pieces to make tube beads. Use a big sewing needle to run a hole through each bead before baking.

After your beads are cured and cooled, string them the stringing material your chose. Silk cord and leather are good for this project, but you will need to make bigger holes in order for the beads to thread on.

You can patina the corn bead with a little burnt umber (Paint on, then wipe most of it off, just leaving some in the crevices of the corn pieces.) to make it stand out more.

There is no need to seal the beads since they have no paint or pigment powders on them to protect, you can use a sealant anyway to give it a shinier finish if you prefer.

Happy a wonderful Kwanzaa!

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