SFCC to present Maasai Beading Class on July 9

Santa Fe Community College Continuing Education Department will offer a Maasai beading Continuing Education class presented by International Folk Artist Phoebe Lasoi from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 9.

Lasoi is a Maasai designer and beading expert from the Kitengela community in Kenya, just outside Nairobi city and on the southern border of the Nairobi National Game Park. Under the auspices of Acacia Moyo, (www.acaciamoyo.org) she has been invited to participate in the International Folk Art Market this year, and will be traveling from Kenya along with Chief Nickson Parmisa to attend from July 12 – 14.

During the workshop, Lasoi will present a short talk on the important role of beading in Maasai culture, followed by a beading workshop in which participants will make a beaded leather medallion that may be attached to a necklace (provided for purchase) or worn as is. Cost for the class is $49.00 plus a materials fee of $15.00. To participate or for more information, please contact the Santa Fe Continuing Education Department 505-428-1676.

Director of the SFCC Innovation Center Luke Spangenburg said, “The SFCC Innovation Center is pleased to work with Acacia Moyo to provide this rare opportunity to the Santa Fe community. Our collaboration to assist the Maasai Kitengela community in Kenya in applying sustainable alternatives for agriculture and workforce training has brought SFCC into an evolving and rewarding cultural exchange for our students and instructors. It is an honor to be able to host Chief Nickson and Phoebe Lasoi.”

The Maasai have a very long history of beading. As a nomadic people, unable to carry heavy artifacts or works of art, they focused on decorating their bodies with necklaces, armlets, anklets, belts and headdresses for men and women. Each item and every color had symbolic meaning. For example, a woman’s necklace could let her community know how many children she had, if any; whether she was married or not; and even to which age-group she belonged.

At the International Folk Art Market, Lasoi will be selling some traditional Maasai necklaces as well as her contemporary beaded jewelry, leather sandals and colorful palm leaf shopping baskets decorated with beads and fabrics. Although she is the designer, the items are made by the Olmakau Women’s Collective of 25 women in Kitengela. Proceeds from the sales benefit the entire community.

Space is limited and participants are encouraged to register in advance.

SFCC’s Continuing Education Department provides credit and noncredit courses for all ages. The Continuing Education Summer Schedule 2019 outlines classes and workshops that can provide a valuable means of personal enrichment and professional development. Call 505-428-1676 or go to www.sfcc.edu.

Of Note: For interviews with Phoebe Lasoi or Chief Nickson Parmisa, please contact Kenny Mann at 646- 479-5884 or acaciamoyo@gmail.com.

Photo: Maasai beaded necklace with beaded medallion


For more than three decades, Santa Fe Community College has served as the gateway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high quality educational programs that serve the social, cultural, technological and economic needs of a diverse community. The college serves more than 15,000 students per year in its credit, noncredit and adult education programs. For further information, visit the website or call 505-428-1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.