The process of beading is a serial process; enacted one by one to create a unique totality. The word bead is derived from the Old English bede, meaning prayer. Thus, the act of beading is the act of gathering prayers, a magical aggregate of charged objects.
To the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria, the bead is a potent cultural object that represents healing, unity, solidarity, desire, generation and regeneration, preciousness and auspiciousness. The body itself is believed to be a string, “threaded” with pierced forms. Encircling the head, neck, wrist, waist, or ankles, beads literally and symbolically seal in and protect the inner spiritual essence of people and things. By removing beads from the intimate physical space of the body and increasing their size many times over, I transfer their protective power to the public physical space they now occupy and to all who enter here.