Heat Wave

Blog post
Published: 19.05.2011

We came to Ghana right before the rain season started. Traveling there in mid April was suggested to be a good time as it is not too hot- just about +35 ‘C. Add the humidity to that and you have one Swede soaked in sweat. I was told that “You are sweating so much because the snow inside of you is mealting”. Maybe that was true, or maybe it was my heart that melted.

Arriving in Accra, the capital that inhabits about 3 of the 24 million Ghanaian populations, we got a hug of warmth when we stepped of the plane. With our visas ready, we had no problem at all getting through the immigration. Our first planned stop was to rest with relatives for the first days to get to know them and also get a little bit used to the environment before setting of for an adventure in search of pearls, surfing and history.

Ghana – the Gold Coast – was a British colony (and parts of it was Swedish, Danish and Dutch for a while) that got its independence in 1957. With just recently discovering a very large oil strike in the coast line, things are moving in this country. English is the official language – but if you are skilled to know Ashanti, Twi, Gah or Ewe, you will impress for sure.

We didn’t go gold digging this time, but we found so many other treasures. A wonderful gem is Busua Beach located 5 hours west of the capital. Busua is a small fishing village, that thanks to calming reefs it has become a great place to learn how to surf. The first surfshop in Ghana – the Black Star – opened in 2006 and it is just an amazing place.

Wonderful people and great food from the Okorye Tree Restaurant made me never wanting to leave. And yes, I even learned how to catch a wave…

I always keep my eyes open for jewellery and when we got to take a tour at TK Beads Industry I was thrilled. Beading is a traditional crafts technique and also a method for recycling.

TK Beads was started in 1986 and export their beads to Europe and the US. The company employs about 25 people, and some come from families of beadmakers, who learn the trade as they grow up.

The beads are baked in ovens and the molds for shaping are made out of termite clay – a highly heat resistant material. 

The beads are polished with sand to get the right surface, and the glass sure wears down the stone.

The different patterns are both traditional and new designs. They experiment with different shapes and colors, and if a client want to order their own design, that’s no problem either. It is a basic technique with such potential.

 I had to take a tour through the shop on the way out. Hard to choose, but I picked the largest ones I could find.

The crafts skills are impressive; I saw wood works made with technical skill I could only dream to conquer. I was hoping to find the contemporary art scene, but our two weeks was not enough time. If you know of any artist or community, please email me at

 Color everywhere – from beautiful dyed fabrics in amazing dresses to horrible in the global companies that are competing in putting their brand on small villages.

I got dolled up in a custom sawn amazing gift from my sister in law. I think I will chock the next artsy strictly-dressed- in- black-gathering wearing this creation.

Dancing – I have never been anywhere where the dance was so close at hand. And during our little over two weeks we learned all the latest hits. We had added a few extra days to our trip as we had calculated to have one or two days a sick. It is bound to happen when a European belly meets African water. It was not that bad but when the number one track “I love my Life” that blasted on repeat out from the bar next door became the soundtrack to this experience… well let’s just say that it felt a bit ironic.

I look forward to next trip and to learn more about the African Jewellery scene.

I <3 Jewellery 

/Sanna Svedestedt
Photo credits to Jonas Carboo

About the author

Sanna Svedestedt, Klimt02 Forum Editor & jewellery artist

Karin Roy Andersson, Manager gallery Four, Gothenburg & jewellery artist


About this blog

Diagonal is a collaboration between Karin Roy Andersson & Sanna Svedestedt. Our focus is to promote contemporary art jewellery. With this blog we share our views & thoughts to take you with us through the ups & downs of our jewellery adventures.