Ebenezer Nomoda Djaba
Medium of Work:
Santa Fe: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
In the Krobo region of Ghana, strands of colorful glass beads are worn in everyday life, as well as to celebrate special occasions. Ghanaian bead-maker Nomoda Ebenezer Djaba (known as “Cedi” for short), began designing powder glass beads at the tender age of seven; precocious, certainly, but also brave, since traditionally, Ghanaian bead artisans are female, not male. Luckily for his clients, which now span the globe, Cedi persevered with a glass bead-making practice which is colorful, bold, and distinctly his own.
Instead of purchasing prepared materials, Cedi uses recycled glass for most of his beads, primarily sourced from broken bottles, windows, and other discarded items. These shards are pulverized into powder with the use of a mortar and pestle and then put into molds and fired in a clay kiln. Once cooled, beads are ready to be strung into any number of dazzling creations.
Beads are beloved to Ghanaian culture, and the ability to create them is a highly sought-after skill. Cedi runs a workshop that employs regional artisans interested in learning the craft. In addition to being worn casually, beads play a major role in traditional ceremonies, such as the Ngmayem or annual millet festival, customary in the Krobo area for centuries. Ornately beaded accessories include multi-strand, many-colored seed bead necklaces. Also popular are eye-catching and statement-making strands of larger-sized beads, strung into long necklaces or interspersed with smaller baubles of varying color.