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Basecamp Maasai Brand

We work with over one hundred women making bead and leather handicraft with a unique fusion between traditional Maasai designs and contemporary style. And by that creating a source of income for the women while supporting and maintaining their traditional handicraft skills.

We will open soon a online shop for you to purcahse the items and get them delivert home. In the mean while, you can send email to us to order any product. email: jemimah@basecampexplorer.com and see some of our most popular items below.

BRACELETS


String Bracelets
13 USD

NEW PRODUCT! Beads on recycled plastic strings held together with pieces of reused plastic. Made in traditional patterns. Leather with press buttons closing.
SIZE: 22 cm
COLOR OPTIONS: Green / White / Ivory

Small dotted bracelets
8 USD

A simple and feminine bracelet. Five small beaded leather discs on a strap. Ties around your wrist.
SIZE; 19 cm
Color options: White / Red / Blue / Yellow / Greem / Golden

Thin Olmurani bracelets
7 USD

Warrior bracelet, traditionally worn by the Maasai warriors around their ankles. Beads sewn on soft leather straps that are tied around your wrist
SIZE:19 cm
COLOR OPTIONS: Black with purple or blue stripes

Button Bracelet
16 USD

Unisex bracelet. Beaded Maasai triangular patterns on soft leather, backed with thin sheep nappa. Closure with two press buttons.
SIZE: 22 cm
COLOR OPTIONS:

 

NECKLACES


Neckbelt
15 USD

Our top selling accessory! A maasai necklace in modern design. A long necklace made out of two strands of beads put together and finished with suede straps. Decorated with metal jingles on chains. Wear it as a long necklace, wrap twice around your neck, around your wrist/ankle or as a thin decorative belt over your favorite dress.
SIZE: 30 cm
COLOR OPTIONS: Blue / Red / White / Brown / Yellow

OLOIBONI
10 USD

Design inspired from a ceremonial necklace given by the Maasai spiritual leader- the Loiboni, to someone as protection and good fortune. Originally the little leather pouch was filled with special herbs and worn as an amulet. Plaited suede strap and suede medallion with beads and cowrie shell.
SIZE: 15 cm
COLOR OPTIONS: Brown leather

Olkeleai necklace
20 USD

Beads sewn on a rope for a unusual and eye catching necklace. Traditionally this style of necklace made in vibrant colours is worn by both men and women. Our version is a bit shorter and made in plain with the beads with small patches of silver. Ties with suede strap.
SIZE: 15cm
COLOR OPTIONS: White

 

EARINGS


Round Earings
8 USD

Round colourful earrings made from beads and wire. We can make  different sizes.
Size: small size
Color options: Pink / White / Green / Black

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Basecamp Maasai Brand was initiated in 2003 with the aim of empowering disadvantaged women’s groups in the Talek region of the Masai Mara in Kenya, and to maintain and enhance the handicraft skills, knowledge and designs of the Maasais’ famous bead and leather work. The Maasai have a rich heritage in bead work, where many of their traditional ceremonies and religious beliefs are expressed in colour and pattern.

Over one hundred women are working with us, and making a positive change in the area. The women’s’ training takes place at our arts and craft centre at Basecamp Masai Mara. We base our range on traditional designs with some conventional pieces and some more contemporary fusions, and all our products are handmade with a high quality finish.

We mainly work with Maasai glass beads and high quality leather but we also try to utilize scrap metal and waste materials wherever possible. Even the thread we use is made from disused plastic food bags, the strands of which are twinned together by hand.It will take you a bit of extra time to tie a knot and some patience to thread a loop, but, that is part of the beauty of the work and a character that we are trying to preserve.

Our fair trade agreement ensures that the crafts person receives 75% of what BMB sells the item for, less the cost of materials. The women are involved in the process of pricing – the cultural significance of the product being one of several influencing factors. Typically their earnings are used for improved housing, healthcare, children’s schooling and clothing. The women individually also save some of their earnings in a savings scheme set up in cooperation with Faulu Kenya. By choosing to support this project you are making a difference and helping to build a sustainable source of income for these women.

MAASAI AND THE BEADS

Glass beads have in big quantities come to Africa from Europe and India as trading goods. Beads were traded as a currency for tea, coffee and sugar etc, and also as a popular payment for slaves during that long dark period of Africa’s history. Although, old traces of ancient glass beads has been found and shows that small amounts of Egyptian and Roman beads came south over the Sahara to Kenya already B.C.

The beads soon became very popular all over and for some tribes they have become a symbol of their traditions, although the small colorful beads themselves are a rather late invention. Before the glass beads spread to east Africa the Maasai and other tribes used seeds, shells, wood, bone and other natural materials for their ornaments. Nowadays the Maasai use the small colourful glass beads for their jewellery.

The Maasai beadwork carries messages, from where you are and to which age group you belong. The patterns and colors in a bracelet are for instance made uniquely for each age group and its the women sitting down together beading that decides the style of the new jewellery they are making for their sons, husbands and boyfriends.

The colour fields in the Maasai jewellery are rarely large and divided by contrast colours The Maasai hardly ever puts similar colours next to each other. A darker or brighter field must always divide the fields of colour. Contrasts are seen as beautiful and as a natural state. There must be night if there is day, peace if war, sun if rain, there’s always a opposite and when those two opposites stands next to each other then it’s in their eyes beautiful.