Beads are the lifeblood of the Madilika Craft Centre, and the source of the unique giftware that sets this shopping opportunity apart from the traditional souvenir shops surrounding safari parks.
Each bead is handcrafted at the centre, using bottles donated by the local lodges:
- The wine and beer bottles are delivered by the lodges to the craft centre,
- The bottles are cleaned and sorted by colour.
- Like coloured bottles are placed in the attritor which crushes them into a fine powder.
- A binder is added to the powder, leading to the creation of a clay-like substance
- Beads are naturally coloured by the original colour in the glass, for variations, the artisans add a colourant.
- The ‘glass clay’ is then hand-rolled into beads by the artisans.
- Once shaped, the beads are baked in a kiln, which produces a hardened ceramic with a shiny surface.
- The finished beads are then used by the women who creatively design a variety of jewellery and ornamental products.
With the initial equipment funded by Africa Foundation, this innovative use of recycled materials keeps production costs low while having a positive impact on the environment.