In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is another installment in "Collective Conversations," a weekly series focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to Ella Badu, designer, storyteller, and the woman behind the amazing A'Sika Jewellery. We have been lucky enough to have A'Sika pieces in store from the very beginning. The brand was born in Ghana in 2018 when Ella began exploring the country's rich cultural history and artisanal workmanship. With a background in sustainability, Ella uses primarily recycled or reclaimed precious metals to extend product life through design, recycle and redesign. Today we talked to her about the importance of a creative outlet, being authentic and letting go.
1. Describe yourself in three words?
Down to earth.
2. Where do you feel most at home?
Waking up on a Sunday morning at my parents’ house to the smell of my mum cooking breakfast and my dad dancing to soul train. It’s like clockwork!
3. What do you do to nurture your individuality?
This has been a journey of letting go of an idea of what I “should be doing” and making time to explore what I am passionate about. For many years I didn’t have a creative outlet and it showed, mainly through “unprofessional” colour schemes on my Excel spreadsheets. Now I dedicate time to projects, experiences, and people that inspire and energize me. Creating A’Sika was a big part of this journey and creating jewellery has become an extremely nurturing way to express myself, while sharing the stories I have learned about my cultural heritage along the way.
4. What do you love most about yourself?
I love that I am adaptable, while still being authentically myself.
5. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?
I like to push the boundaries of my comfort zone quite a bit, some may say too much. I must admit some haven’t been the smartest boundaries to push, but I have either learned from them or walked away with one hell of a story to tell. I don’t know whether it was turning 30 this year or the fact we have been living a majority of the year out of our comfort zone in isolation, but I’m starting to be a little more selective as to which boundaries I push these days.
The last time I felt wildly out of my comfort zone was exactly this time last year. I had been boxing for a few years and I decided it was time to enter my first fight. The thought of getting knocked out in front of my friends and family plagued me every day for two months. It pushed me to train hard and get in the best physical condition of my life. In the end, it was less about the physical preparation and more about the mental– being disciplined, controlling your thoughts, and consciously replacing self-doubt with confidence. After wanting to pull the pin more times than I care to admit, I made it into the ring. I copped a fair amount of punches, but I won!
6. What does it mean to honour yourself?
Being honest with yourself. Recognising your perfections and imperfections. Acknowledging your disappointments and celebrating your triumphs.
7. What have you recently become obsessed with?
Trying to figure out how I keep killing my green babies. My plant cemetery has well and truly reached capacity!
8. Where is your favourite place to escape to?
Usually, the beach or anywhere I can get a glimpse of the sunset. They both have a fantastic way of making you feel like you are on holiday. During lockdown my housemate and I discovered we could escape to our roof, again pushing the comfort zone, but totally worth the sunset!
9. What are some things that you are leaving behind, letting go of, or unlearning in order to move forward?
I’m leaving behind relationships that don’t nourish me.
I’m letting go of fighting to be understood.
I’m unlearning what I thought I knew about racism.
10. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I have a dark sense of humour, it’s probably not appropriate to share.
11. Is there an item that you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future?
I’m dying to see Collective Closet prints on a beach towel or picnic rug!
You can follow A'Sika Jewellery on Instagram here and visit their website here.