Meet the Makers
A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place. ~ African Proverb ~
Each maker that we work with have been on the journey of AYAM Africa for over 30 years. It all started with the making of the traditional local costumes for the film 'Out of Africa'. For the film, Elizabeth (AYAM Founder) researched the pieces of the era through the Kenya Museum Society. Each tribal groups jewellery was carefully duplicated in the attire of the time and it was this that led to her love of working with the local artisans, and later to move on together as a team to make the Jewellery of AYAM.
The guiding force of the young team was the late, quite brilliant, designer and maker Georgiadis Lumumba and it is only fitting that we pay tribute to him.
Together Elizabeth and George rummaged around sourcing, carved cow bone and horn, brass pieces from west Africa, molded metal beads that they designed with the inspiration of Mali, Yemen and Ethiopian beads and some straight out of their heads which came out in circles, long, short and medium tubes, and ovals made from melted down cans and pots. They would lay out these materials and mix them up with recycled ‘powder’ glass from Ghana, tiny fillers from the Giriama tribe and exotic and glamorous vintage bohemian glass from Timbuktu.
Each necklace was perfectly balanced both in color and symmetry and strung with care by George. He never accepted praise and was a gentle, self- effacing and wonderful man. He mentored many of the team who are now expert designers and makers of their own unique styles.
The amazingly talented team we work with in Nairobi are the driving force behind the brand. Being able to bring their creations to another level and empower them further to make a sustainable living brings us continuous joy. Your purchase directly helps to develop this reliable source of income as each maker is paid per piece, at a price set by them.
It is our pleasure to introduce you to the AYAM family who hand make all our collections for you with great artfulness & pride.
Stay tuned for features on each designer so you can get to know them and the materials each specializes in.