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Callia Jewelry of Côte d’Ivoire and the Muse Group

November 9, 2018

Callia Jewelry is a very special part of Scooch's jewelry collection. When I met Jessica Antista, the Founder and Art Director of The Muse Group, it was love at first sight!  Jessica and the Callia Pendants are amazing. 

 

Callia is an ethical jewelry brand that creates economic opportunities for low-income women in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Rural women’s groups are trained to produce and supply organic beads. After the beads are made, urban women transform the materials into imaginative, multi-functional jewelry.

 

These women artisans earn income that enables them to support their families. They also receive technical training on production and design, to develop their skills.

 

Smart, inspired design: by women, for women.

 

By supporting The Muse Group's Callia Jewelry line you empower a new generation of African women artisans as agents of social and economic change.

 

Each piece of Callia Jewelry is made with organic materials . Check out how some of the elements are produced by these African women:

 

Seashell sequins: Originating from Togo, seashell sequins are hand-made by women, who hand-carve each sequin by sanding the edges on a block of granite. 

 

Papyrus seeds: These seeds come from a species of Papyrus indigenous to the Ivory Coast. They are gathered and processed by elderly women, who “pop” the seeds like popcorn, then hand pierce each bead. 

 

Hand-cast brass “poids Baoulés": Traditional Baoulé craftsmen carve individual wax molds, fill them with bronze and bury them under a fire, melting the wax and revealing the cured bronze, which is then treated and finished by women. Each mold is used only once, making each piece of this “Lost Wax” bronze truly one-of-a-kind. 

 

Terre de Niger” termite beads: Originating from the deserts of Mali and Niger, these are a natural byproduct of the seasonal termite mounds that appear in the Delta riverbeds. They are naturally shaped by the termites and collected by women

 

Meet Fatou a Muse Group artisan since September, 2015

 

 

Fatou graduated from the Muse Gro's training of trainers in September 2015 and was hired full-time as a lead Artisan on the Calliope Jewelry team. Fatou has a keen creative eye and an acute concentration that allows her to maintain not only quality but speed. She's excelled during Muse Group's co-design seminars that not only cultivate design skills but giving the artist opportunity to contribute to Calliopes Jewelry Collection. 

 

Fatou's breakout piece was featured in our Spring/Summer 2017 Gaia Collection and she shared that her inspiration for the Killa Necklace was  "Mon inspiration vient de la tranquillité d’esprit" (My inspiration comes from peace of mind)  and "Plus que mon esprit est tranquille, à travers ca je peux créer facilement, la tranquillité te fait réfléchir loin." (More than my mind is quiet, through it I can create easily, tranquility makes you think far away). 

 

Through her work at Muse Group, she's been earning enough money that helps her cover her son's school fees knowing she can ensure that he continues to go to school This gives Fatou a happy feeling because she knows that not everyone has the means to send their children to school. Fatou sees her success in terms of what she is able to give her family. "Now I'm able to give my mother gifts, fabric that she wears to church. She dresses well (now). She's proud to say 'My daughter gave me this.'" ) 

 

Fatou loves the supportive work environment created by the Muse Group because to her it feels like family. "We eat together, we share, we give each other ideas and advice. We're like sisters." And something else that Fatou has found and embraced is her love of art: "I love art. I'm in it for love. It's in art that I've found myself." 

 

Fatou is a formally declared full-time Muse Gropu employee and earns a fixed salary respecting the Ivorian minimum wage, plus a commission for each piece she makes. Being a formally declared employee also gives her access to social, health and retirement benefits that Ivorians working in the informal sector cannot access.

 

She would like everyone to know this: "People of good will, please take an interest in us, because there are many girls who need to work, and they are waiting." 

 

How can you wear the Callia pendants? Take a look here:

 

https://callia.shop/videos/pendant-necklace/

 

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