Maasai Warriors in Action: The Making of the Warrior Bracelets

The Sidai Designs Warrior Bracelets are playful, colourful, and a pure joy to look at or wear yourself, spicing up your everyday outfit or red carpet attire. But wait for it… there is a whole story to them that makes them even more beautiful. If the Sidai Designs bracelets could speak, according to founder Eszter Rabin, they would say:

You are wearing a piece that embraces the proud traditions of a Maasai warrior.

This emphasises the powerful spirit hidden in between the beads and threads – visible only to those taking a closer look. What you will see is a story of African traditions, of Maasai warriors, of flour sacks and plastic bottles. What is this all about? So, let’s tell you the making-of story of the Sidai Designs Warrior Bracelets:

The central characters of the story are the African Maasai women who work for Sidai Designs under the loving sun of Tanzania. The beading technique they use to make the bracelets goes back many generations. However, because the Maasai do not have a written history – in fact no written language – one cannot be sure about how long the tradition dates back.

Maasai women at the market hand-beading Warrior Bracelets

A Trip to the Market

The process of making the warrior bracelets starts with a used flour or rice bag. The artisans buy it at the local market and pull it apart strand by strand, then spinning the thread on their leg. Depending on what is needed the craftswomen can make thinner or heavier weight threads. With a sharp knife they cut small pieces of recycled plastic from used oil or fertiliser bottles. Then, they work with an awe to make holes in the small plastic pieces. The number of holes depend on the width of the bracelet. 

        Sidai Designs artisan hand-beading Warrior Bracelets  Sidai Designs artisan hand-beading Warrior Bracelets using tool

The Beading Process

Once the materials are prepared and they have the thread and plastic with holes, they start beading, using glass beads from Tanzania. During this process they use only the thread, looping it in the plastic back and forth, then looping it into the natural holes of the thread to create the edges.

The Finishing Touch

In the end, they also create little hoops on the two ends of the bracelet. Here the finishers insert the faux leather lacing. This is then held together with a recycled aluminum bead from Ethiopia and finished with two metal crimps. Finally, the finishers sand down the plastic endings on the edges to create a smoother finishing. And the beautiful outcome is this:

product photo (1)

To take a closer look at the materials, their origin, the design and information on the artisans that make this bracelet come this way.


Lara Petersen

Lara Petersen

After her studies abroad and exploring the world for many years, Lara returned to Berlin in 2015 and ever since combines her passions cultures, communication and writing by working as part of the ABURY family. Lara is the editor-in-chief and admin of the One of a Mind blogzine by ABURY.

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