Not surprisingly Colleen started in the world of fine art. She became entranced with the gorgeous colors and textures of African handmade beads and textiles created by indigenous people. However, as these micro industries are under threat from foreign cheap mass production, Colleen's dream is for the world to see and love the beads and respect the hands that create them using ancient traditional processes in an earth-friendly manner.
With African Baroque Textile Jewelry, Colleen is realizing that dream by offering a collection of unique handmade wearable artwork which employs local women enabling them to supplement their income while working from home. As Colleen points out:
"African Baroque adornments are not simply beautiful objects but rather an introduction to the creative, dignified and hardworking, enterprising, craftspeople of Africa."
Colleen uses beads from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Namibia as well as found and vintage beads from deconstructed necklaces. The gorgeous South African textile shweshwe forms the base of the designs with African Waxprint, Kuba cloth, Bogalafini, and Indigo cloth also used. These are integrated with raw silk, linen, velvet, and vintage textiles.