Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Bead Market
I had a rare window of time sans kiddos and I have been wanting to go to the bead market solo forever - so I went!
The market consists of about twenty or so very small stalls selling every imaginable length and color of bead. It is centuries old and the proprietors are predominantly Muslim - unusual in this Hindu country. It is covered in some places, exposed in others, very narrow and crowded.
You can buy beads ready made of course but I was on a particular mission. I wanted to get small necklaces made for the girls' birthday party "favors". The beads are tied in six string groupings and I thought that was a good width for little girls. The process is that you buy your beads (negotiate, negotiate, negotiate) and then bring them to one of the carpeted areas where bead craftsmen sit and do their magic. It was so much fun to watch! There were a half dozen men of various ages all industriously spinning golden thread around the ends of the beads to create a loop and ball clasp. Many were measuring precisely the midpoint for women who wanted gold mangal sutras or other special ornaments hung on their beads ("pote").
This young guy fascinated me. He didn't sit with the older men but very close by on a straw mat which made me wonder if he was some sort of apprentice. He was lightning fast with a ready smile. He kept running to different stalls grabbing the next group of beads for his next project. (I took a ton of shots of him - maybe just because he was cute and reminded me of Aladdin. Naaaaah.) I wondered if he would do this for the next sixty years like some of the men on the carpet. I think I also was amused that he had a traditional kameez over jeans and sandals.
This man was shaving the strings for the beads to go on. Many of the men used their toes to anchor their work.
Here is my project - "before".
And here is Rumpelstiltskin.
And the finished products! I was completely pleased - and because I know inquiring minds want to know - they cost about a dollar each. I have no idea how these people make enough eat and sleep indoors.
Wow. I'll raid these on the next visit.