October 3, 2022
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Bead making dominates workshop in Lagos – The Nation Newspaper

  • November 29, 2021
  • 8 min read
Bead making dominates workshop in Lagos – The Nation Newspaper

Nigeria news – Nigeria's breaking news website
The theme of the workshop was deploying arts and culture as tools for poverty eradication among black and African peoples through training on bead making and hair weaving/braiding. Organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) in Lagos, it was an apt moment to take participants through series of creativities in these areas of crafts. EDOZIE UDEZE reports.
There are many Nigerians who are abandoning their banking jobs and other more seemingly lucrative professions that do not necessarily give them enough space, to go into creativity.  A few weeks ago, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) put together a broad-based workshop on some aspects of the creative arts where the young ones and indeed interested artisans can adequately fit in to earn a living.  The workshop took place in Lagos and was titled “Deploying Arts and culture as tools for poverty eradication among black and African peoples through training on bead making and hair weaving/braiding.
It was not time for theories or too much grammar.  Apart from the opening sessions where some of the facilitators highlighted on the importance of these areas of the art, participants were grouped into three for the workshop proper.  It was time for practical works.  The three areas were: bead making, hair weaving and braiding and fashion designing.  Each group was assigned a facilitator, someone who is proficient in her own area of specilisation.
And it was no wonder how effective this turned out.  People, indeed women of all classes clustered around to learn these trades.  Even professional career women and men who have almost reached the peak of their professions formed parts of the shows.  It was glorious to see the level of interest and enthusiasm shown by participants.  Students from different schools were in attendance.  They too showed more interest in wig making and fashion designing while the older women went more for bead making.
The Director-General of CBAAC, Oluwabunmi Amao, organizers of the workshop was in the bead session and her face glowed with attention.  These days, beads come in different shapes, colours and sizes.  It is clear that bigger women find it worthwhile by engaging in it as a profession because of the prestige it gives.
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Those who engaged in the training came along with not only the tools to teach they also went through the stages of production, stage by stage, carefully explaining every section for people to understand.  As the people nodded their heads to the explanations it was crystal clear that the lessons stuck in people’s subconscious, creating the desired  results.
Abimbola Kunle-Osunkunle handled the jewelries/beads sessions.  The MD of Cornucopia Company, noted for its enviable production of handcrafted jewelries which fit women styles and poise, she was once a banker as well.  She put them through the processes of creatively making hand-crafted jewelries.  “I have done this for 15 years”, she told The Nation.
So far, she has employed a lot of people who have also grown through it.  Nigeria, she observed has a good history of the love for jewelries.  “Yes, our outfit as Nigerians, most times is not complete without jewelries, mostly colourful ones that spell out our beauty.  The big ones we wear on the neck goes to show how much we love or cherish fashion.  That is why we are here today to impact on our people.  There is plenty of money, glow and joy by knowing how to make jewelries”, she surmised.
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The implements to do jewelries may not be too expensive to acquire.  You have pliers, scissors, tiger tail, wire, tape, beads, thread, and a machine, often used to knead them together.  It can be labour intensive, though you may not necessarily need light or water to stick around the business.  There’s therefore a big potential for it in Lagos market.  All you need do is to first discipline yourself, be prepared to spare enough time for the training.  This way, it will help the youths to refocus their attention, develop the drive to use arts to rediscover themselves and forge ahead career-wise.
In her own training, Angela Eyekosi a graduate of Theatre Arts, focused on hair weaving, wigs and braiding.  Eyekosi is also widely exposed, having been to places like USA, England for the sake of African weavings and braids.  She said to her trainees: “In the first place, you need enlightenment to succeed in this business.  This is very important”.  Even though her class was peopled more by  the younger ones, some of whom accepted the fact that wig making is a money spinner nowadays, Eyekosi took her time to explain her business with ease, marshalling out each in details.
“But if you know this business very well it eradicates poverty, for in it is plenty of ideal to make money.  Most of us women know how to braid it is handed over to us by our mothers.  However, you need exposure to take it to the highest level and that is one of the reasons we are here for you.  You have to learn to make money from it and not do it as a leisure or past time.  Beads are faster to use to make hairs.  A wig however demands more attention.  Abroad, however, wigs are more in demand.  Most women are ready to put it on as they hurry in and out.  Among the women that have need for wigs are African and black women.  There you can sell one wig for as high as one thousand dollars”.
As she placed a dummy before her, her students were all attentive as she busied herself making a wig.  With over 5 affiliates in Nigeria, Eyekosi revealed that all over the world, the wig and braid business occupy about 5.8 billion dollars in worth.  “This makes it one of the most sought after creative industries in the world.  This is why you people must pay attention to it, to learn to be able to take over the market.  Mine is to teach you and make you see how you can totally pay attention and then go places”.  For now, even Asians and Americans are trying to go into the business in a bigger way.
The fashion session involved mostly young people who wanted to be taught the rudiments of fashion designing.  One of them, Bola said simply, “while I am in school, I can do this to make small money to help my education”.  So, as the training went on, some of the participants tried to be fully engaged with the practical.  “First do your pattern when you want to sew one’s dress.  It is the best way to make it faster and not to disappoint your customers.  The pattern is cut in form of a carton or paper.  It is like a dummy.  With this, you can then set out to model the style”.
The fashion session produced different styles of designs that even surprised most people.  They came out in colours and models of fabrics as full demonstrations of the practicality of the workshop.  As these went on, Saco, the comedian, Island Theatre villa and Segun Johnson band took turns to electrify the stage with undiluted entertainment.  As Saco dished out jokes intermittently, Johnson filled the arena with lively tunes of highlife music.  Then the Island Theatre villa interspersed with live theatrical performances.  The glow in all these brought creativity to its very apogee, putting smiles on people’s faces.
Then in her address Amao, the DG. of CBAAC full of zeal for the amazing creativities said: “As you are already aware, the promotion, propagation and preservation of African Culture in totality is our core mandate at CBAAC.  In fulfilling this mandate, the positioning of the varied elements of our culture to solve social and economic challenges of the African peoples occupies a special place in the heart of the management of the Centre.  It is this conviction that has informed our decision to organize this workshop to train our youths in the art of bead making, hair weaving and braiding with the sole aim of empowering the participants.  In doing this, we also encourage creativity and facilitate cultural endeavours with the sole aim of deploying them to promote unity, peace, diplomacy and national development.”
She went on: “Bead making, fashion and hair weaving/braiding have all provided very good means of raising incomes of rural women and youths across Nigeria, thereby reducing poverty among its practitioners.  Most importantly, Nigerian beads, fashion and their creative features represent critical elements of the African culture that deserve special attention and need to be promoted because of their global recognition and their ability to provide means of livelihood and self substance to the practitioners.”
The workshop was well attended and it attested well to the ability of CBAAC under Amao to continue to lift African cultural values.  The crowd went home fully equipped to do more to start their businesses in these areas of training and mentorship.
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