Welcome to Funky Frog…
African beads and more!

Funky Frog is thrilled to welcome you to your very own African Market! Funky Frog travels to Ghana, West Africa to search for gorgeous African beads, baskets and more. In fact, Funky Frog is on the ground right now in Ghana … We have visited Bead Artisans and searched all the Beads Markets for new finds to bring home. African handcrafted beads are made out of glass, metals, bone, tree resin, wood, seeds, clay, shell, even rocks and stones!!! So for those of you who are looking for unique beads to incorporate into your own jewelry check out Funky Frog’s page called – Beads. Once we get home at the end of November the new beads will be uploaded as quickly as we can! Tomorrow we will pick up new designs of brass beads made especially for Funky Frog from the Kokofrom Co-operative… there will be new closures that i am very excited about!! Stay tuned ….

Funky Frog creates jewelry using the gorgeous African beads … Not only is each piece created lovingly by hand in Montreal, each bead is unique and handcrafted in Africa. You can see the jewelry on Funky Frog’s page called – Jewelry. Funky Frog jewelry can also be found in two wonderful shops – Boutique Sisi: under the pink awning at 361 Victoria in Westmount and Pure Art: a wonderful Fairtrade store in Hudson. These two stores also carry Funky Frog’s G-lish Baskets … the shops are worth checking out!

Baskets + Curios

Baskets are handcrafted in a region in Northern Ghana called Bolgatanga. We visited our friends at the G-lish foundation and met the weavers and twisters. Edna, the new young manager, had set it all up for us. It was an amazing afternoon sitting under the shade of a huge tree. They showed us some of the baskets from the new shipment that is now on its way to Montreal. We ate watermelon, papaya and pineapples… and then the women danced!!! So much energy and joy! The G-lish baskets are made from recycled plastic, fabric and the traditional rattan …and they take about three days to make. They are works of art!! The more traditional Bolgatanga baskets are weaved just with the elephant grass and have a myriad of colours , designs and shapes. Funky Frog met a new collective called the Baba Tree which is run by Gregory MacCarthy. When you check out the Baba Tree you will note they are “not a “project”, a charity, a foundation or a non – governmental organization (NGO)”….the ethic here is that “the weavers with whom the Baba Tree works are more than capable of taking care of themselves, excelling through their own sweat and creativity that ultimately produces Excellence”. This visit was my best day ever in Ghana – to see Ghanaians united and working tirelessly. Gregory has created a community that just buzzes with energy and joy … We had lots of fun picking out baskets to bring home and they too have started the journey home!! You will be able to check them out soon on Funky Frog’s page called Baskets + Curios

Visiting Funky Frog

Funky Frog hopes you enjoy your visit! If you would like to follow us on Facebook we would be delighted. Come for a visit and like us! Whenever we add something special to the site we will post it there as well. Like our blogs we are doing about our 2018 Baskets and Beads Hunt….. And for those Pinterest fans Funky Frog is there too!

Funky Frog’s Blog

Funky Frog’s Blog is where you can read about adventures hunting for beads, baskets and curios like the 2018 Baskets and Beads Hunt…. you can read about our visits to the Beads Artisans to get gorgeous recycled glass beads … or about how the Kokofrom Co-operative is creating specially designed brass beads and findings just for Funky Frog…or about the new inspiring Basket Co-operative we discovered for ourselves … check out the blogs if your interested is piqued here …..

But, what is quickly evident when you read the Blogs, the beads and baskets that Funky Frog brings to Canada are just a part of the whole story. This story is also about people just like us but living in circumstances that we cannot even imagine … Things we take so for granted can be used to reach out across the globe and every little sustainable bit is worth it!

Think
Out Side
the Box

Mainstream … looking up this word i found these synonyms: normal, conventional, conformist, accepted, established. Vegetarianism has been mainstreamed. i know as i have been a vegetarian for 46 years. It is the new norm and this is great. Foodies now look for ‘biological’,’vegan’ … However there is a flip side to something being mainstreamed. We no longer question it, we accept it as it is. We no longer think or even look outside the box.

I use vegetarianism as an example because it is something that is close to home for me. When i first became a vegetarian way back it seemed so ‘right’ to me i thought everyone would follow very soon. This notion faded after 10 years or so … But suddenly being vegetarian has become hip and so a new marketing tool … slap ‘vegan’ on it and suddenly it is trendy! But you can’t be a vegetarian because it’s trendy … Being vegetarian is a way of life … you must think and look outside the box.

It is the same thing with ‘Fair trade’, ‘Eco-friendly’ and the latest ‘Zero waste’ … these philosophies are not simply trendy marketing tools but deeply felt inspirations to live a certain way. If you want to include ‘Fair trade’or being’Eco-friendly’ or ‘Zero waste’ into your life it takes a lot of thinking outside the box.

And thinking outside the box takes a lot of commitment… it takes a leap. Leapfrog is Funky Frog’s recognition of this. I first went to Africa for a deeply personal reason. I was born there and wanted to see my homeland … but i found much more than i bargained for.

Going to Ghana, West Africa had me leaping out of my box! And outside the box as a leapFrog I have met so many wonderful people who are working quietly and selflessly to make a difference……

During this visit, the 2018 Baskets and Beads Hunt i met an extraodinary man named Gregory MacCarthy. He is a Canadian now living in Bolga. He is very blunt about his views. He says “”Saving the poor Africans” is not a narrative that we employ. Charity often carries the subtle message: ‘’you are not capable of doing it yourselves.’’ The people with whom we work are very capable.” And he brings out the very best in the people he works with. There is no sense of ‘us and them’ with Gregory… He is very definitely at home in his community. And the product, the Baba Tree produces speaks volumes as to the amazing ability of his community! It was a priviledge to meet him.

I visited Village Exchange which was started by Christiane Milev who saw a vulnerability in the women of Ghana and wanted to do something about it. Christiane started by studying teenage pregnancies. This led to educating these young women about health issues and family planning…. which led to finding ways to alleviate their poverty and empower them through small loans and employment. Today Village exchange is teaching young people about electricity and solar. Lady Volta is also still in operation though in a much smaller scale. During this visit I was delighted to ask them to create some batik bags and wallets for Funky Frog. We will be picking them up before leaving Ghana to come home … just in time to sell all the goodies.. they will make great Christmas presents!

G-lish Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Ghana, West Africa. They support rural communities to make sustainable, hand-made baskets and wall art that generates incomes and choices for families. G-lish is run from Ghana and shows that locally-led efforts can break poverty cycles and create lasting prosperity. They work with over seventy producers and impact over four hundred people in three villages in some of the poorest communities in the country. The above photo is Afil Atambire one of the baskets weavers. She has 6 children and 6 grandchildren! No wonder she has such a beautiful smile! The founders of G-lish Foundation are Godwin Yidana and Gayle Pescud.

In 2005, together with their five boys, Brigitte & Robert McKinnon embarked on a humanitarian trip to the jungle town of Pucallpa, in the Peruvian Amazon, to connect with two young girls they had sponsored to attend school. An eye opening experience, the family recognized a community in dire need of help, limited by a lack of access to education, housing, & healthcare. Returning home conscious of what felt like a forgotten community, the McKinnons & their five boys decided there had to be more they could do to help. Their solution came through the creation of the Pure Art Foundation, a registered Canadian charity, that would work to empower this community through health & education programs.

You too can be a leapFrog and take a leap into helping out! Be part of this circle that ripples outward…