September 10, 2013

Reading and Beading

I've been working on a beading challenge for an online beading group, and I'm very happy to have finished it!

The challenge was to read a book and create something inspired by it. The book is "The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow" by Rita Leganski.  That was the easy part! This beautiful book takes place in New Orleans in the 1950's.  It centers on a child who never makes a sound, but has incredible (even magical) hearing.  His remarkable gift of listening promises redemption to those who love him: his young widowed mother, grandmothers, deceased father, and more. With the help of a Creole housekeeper with her own special gifts, the boy leads his loved ones to the key to long-buried mysteries and helps bring peace to their angst. 

I loved the book. I love magical realism, and I love Leganski's beautiful use of language. I love the layers of symbolism, and the interaction between different kinds of faith. The book was full of colors, symbols, and emotions, so the hardest part of the challenge was to narrow down my list of ideas to something concrete.

In the end, I made a twisted base of purple, green, and gold to represent the New Orleans locale and flavor of the story. Upon that base, I created a body of branch-fringe to represent the Hoo-Doo "root work" done by the Creole woman. The roots are studded with leaves, hearts, pearls, 7 tears, and a loving hand working its magic. 


I always like to name my creations, so this one is called "Root Work."

September 5, 2013

Gifts of Gold

I'm sitting in the Synagogue, and the Rabbi is talking about taking care of your God-given body, and I look down at mine. Not too far down, because... well, you know... that gets depressing.  But as I look, I notice something very interesting (to me at least).

I am adorned today with gifts of gold from many people who have loved me.  I didn't intend this, but every piece of jewelry was a gift from someone special.  Not one thing was made or purchased by me.  My earrings are from my mother, my bracelet is from her beloved aunt, my necklace an amazing story from my mother-in-law, on one hand my wedding ring from my husband (and indirectly a gift from my father), on the other hand my grandmother's wedding band.  Each piece is made of gold, and each has a distinct and memorable "story."

It's as if these loving family members have dressed me, and ushered me into the Days of Awe. It feels a little like a bride being dressed by her inner circle.  On Yom Kippur I will go it alone, with no jewelry at all, but today 3 generations of family members have surrounded me with love and memories and fortitude.