Family Activities: Good as Gold
By Kate Poweska, Family Programs Intern
In Good as Gold, Senegalese women use jewelry and fashion to express their identity. You will observe how 18th century Senegalese businesswomen, known as signares, adorned themselves with gold filigree jewelry to show off their wealth and social status. Senegalese women designed and styled jewelry, each piece unique to their interests. Over time, the signares influence grew to project a woman’s dignity and celebrate history in modern day fashion.
What do you wear that makes you feel good? Is it special to you?
What do you wear when you are getting your picture taken or for a birthday or holiday?
Rose Twist Ring: Many of the jewelry pieces in Good as Gold are made by hand and are gold filigree, in which a thin wire is twisted and layered to make different designs. You can make something similar in making a rose twist ring. Feel free to explore other designs that you find after you have tried this one.
You will need:
- 18, 19, or 20 gauge wire, any color
- Wire cutters
- Needle-nose pliers
- Lip balm or something similar in diameter
- Nail file
- Cut the piece of wire to approximately 6 inches long.
- Wrap the wire around the lip balm tightly and slip it off. You may put the wire on whichever finger you choose. While looking at the wire on your finger, use your pliers to take the piece pointing to the right and twist it clockwise. Now take the piece pointing to the left and twist it clockwise.
- Continue to twist around. Be careful to not twist the wires too tightly. During twisting, be sure that you can still get the ring off if needed. If your finger is stuck, untwist both ends until you can get the ring off.
- As you near the end of the wire, twist tighter until the wire forms a knot. If the ends are long, you can tuck them underneath the rose twist, or cut extra wire off. Use a nail file to add a personal touch.
Tin Foil Bracelet: In Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women, we talk about how women wore jewelry that helped them express their persona and made them feel empowered in society. They designed bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and toe rings that were detailed and special to them.
Your friends and family also have an impact on your identity. It’s important to understand where influences on your style come from to better understand who you are.
Have you ever worn something that is outside of your style to make your friends or family happy? How did that make you feel?
This bracelet will represent who you are. You can use whatever materials you would like to decorate it. Some ideas are below.
You will need:
- Aluminum foil
- Sequins and/or
- Dry beans and/or
- Colored paper and/or
- Beads and/or
- Buttons and/or
- Hot glue gun or Elmer’s non toxic glue
Tear off a piece of aluminum foil and roll it up. Press the ends together to make a circle that will fit around your wrist. You can connect more pieces together to make it bigger. Add sequins, dry beans, colored paper, or whatever else you would like to the outside of the bracelet. Have an adult assist with glueing. Let dry.