About the Designer

Ama McKinley's work as a jewelry designer lies in a deep connection to spirituality—a sacred thread woven into the fabric of her artistry and the soul of Ilium Wing. Rooted in the wisdom passed down by elder women initiated into the Lucumi/Ifa spiritual tradition, Ama's spiritual teachings revolved around harmony with nature and spirit, and veneration of the ancestors and the Divine Feminine — a profound foundation that laid the groundwork for her transformative work with waist beads.

She first made beaded jewelry as a child. Then in her early 20s, she made beaded jewelry as religious relics. Making her first waist beads as a spiritual prescription, Ama embarked on a quest to infuse her craft with spiritual resonance, breathing life into each bead with intention and reverence. It was through these sacred encounters that the essence of Ilium Wing was born—a testament to the divine union of tradition and innovation, spirituality and style, humility and opulence.

The journey into the realm of waist beads was not merely about adornment; it was a sacred calling—an invitation to rediscover the beauty within and reconnect with the rhythms of the universe. With each meticulously crafted piece, Ama invites you to embark on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and spiritual awakening—a journey that transcends time and space, weaving together the threads of past, present, and future.

Through Ilium Wing, her work serves as a reminder of the power of spirituality to transform lives and elevate the human experience. Join her as she continues to weave her narrative in the tapestry of existence, one bead at a time.