About The Artist
Anne Wangui Ferguson began making beads and creating jewelry as a small girl. Her first beads were seeds, shells and pieces of wood. The designs were traditional African ones passed down by her Mother and Grandmother in Kenya.
Shell casings collected from a nearby army firing range were hammered into wires and formed into clasps and hooks. She learned to use banana leaf for earrings. She found that pieces of bone, cow or goat horn and porcupine quill could be used for beads. Many of her designs still incorporate these primitive beads. Small pieces of wood and black seed beads add a primitive elegance to many of her jewelry designs.
There were no store bought toys in Wangui's home. Her toys were her imagination and two banana leaf dolls made by her mama. In school Anne learned to cut pieces of banana leaf to paste on cloth to create pictures of animals and African village scenes. With her mother's help she learned to cover wire and block frames with banana leaf to make animals, dolls, mobiles and nativity sets. These they sold by the side of the road to the few tourists that passed their poor village.
When she moved to the US in 1993 she was asked to show her jewelry at a church craft show. Soon she was doing craft show across Iowa. She expanded to the Des Moines Farmers Market (May thru October) and now does art shows in several states. Her work increasingly reflects the contemporary desires of customers. She now creates sterling silver and 14k GF wire sculptured designs to enhance the semi precious gemstones she selects.
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