Seashells as Symbols in Langalanga Society

Tessa sitting down with her products at the central market.

PASSIONATE about her art, Tessa Keran gives her full concentration to every piece of seashell products that she creates.

Hailed from Langalanga Lagoon in Malaita province; Tessa is absolutely proud of her heritage in the art of shell money making. She was taught the art of shell money crafting by her mother, who is also a master craftswoman in the traditional art of shell money making.

Tessa has continued to practice the marketing and displaying of her finished products at Honiara Central Market.

“My business has played a major benefit to my life and am very proud of what I have done over the years. My customers have encouraged me to maintain the quality of my finished products,” she told Solomon Women.

Most of Tessa’s customers are foreign visitors or tourist, and ordinary locals from Honiara and other provinces in the country.

“I have received many positive comments from both my local and overseas customers regarding my products,” she said.

Tessa’s handmade made jewelries and shell money products displayed at the Honiara Central Market.

Tessa has produced and sold a variety of shell products: Malaita traditional shell money (Tafuliae),  finger ring, necklace, earring, bracelet and other handmade jewelry.

But as passionate as she is, Tessa also acknowledges that being an artist has given her a stable source of income to make a living in Honiara.

“The financial stability and livelihood of my family depends entirely on the progress of my small income activity. I feel I have a big responsibility to play in the future development of my family – both short term and long term.”

Besides this passion with shells, Tessa also wants to pursue further trainings in finance and business courses in Honiara.

“There really are times when I thought of seeking further trainings on the business and management courses. I want to learn new business management skills and knowledge on how to run my own business in the future,” she said.