Beads or pixels?

Do you know that colourful bead designs can be used to send messages of love? And do you know that computers use pixels in the same way that South Africans use beads in their beautiful beadwork designs? To see how both beads and pixels work, you can create your own beadwork design with this Processing sketch.

Marion's beadwork

Marion’s beadwork

Change the colour of the bead by picking a colour from the colour picker. When you’re done, right click on the design to open your image in a new window. Then right click to save it.


Real beadwork…

How some colours were used

You can read more about the meanings of colours in beadwork here, but here is a list of some colours and how they were used in beadwork:

  1. White (obumhlophe): Whenever I see you my heart goes white as the milk of cattle when they are milked in the morning or my heart goes white as the goat’s milk.
  2. Red (obubomvu): My heart is full of blood, inhliziyo yami igcwele igazi
  3. Red (obubomvu) for intense and jealous passion or eyes red with watching for beloved.
  4. Blue and White (inkankane nobumhlophe): Ngiyohamba ngikhala ngingahleki, ngikhumbulu isoka lami, I will sing a song that will always stay in my ears.
  5. Green (ithunzi) : Noma ngiyakuphi ngofika ngithole izihlobo, ngokuziphatha kwami , Whereever I go I will make friends as I behave well with others.
  6. Green (okuluhlaza): Ngiseluhlaza, ngimuncane. I am a green, innocent child, but old enough to be courted.”

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