Several years ago I came across this brilliant assembly of necklaces in Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry by Lark Crafts. Titled the "Coexist Prayer Beads" by creator Nancy Meli Walker, for some reason this was the first piece in the book that I noticed, and as I flipped through the rest of this fantastic showcase, I realized that I was still thinking about this collection of simple and meaningful necklaces.
For me, the historical, cultural, and human ties to beads and beadwork are impossible to separate from my own work. I feel that it is extremely important to spend some time investigating the role that beads have played throughout our history, and that includes the role that beaded items play in the realm of religion and spirituality. A few years ago I picked up a copy of A String & a Prayer by Eleanor Wiley and Maggie Oman Shannon, which is a fantastic modern investigation on the role of prayer and meditation beads, along with a guide to creating and using your own. In my head, the bead strings were connected - I needed to make my own set of "Coexist Prayer Beads" - an assemblage of pieces that resonate for me on a more personal level...and so this project was born:
How do you go about gathering ingredients for something like this? For me it's very important to have some sort of memory or other connection to the major components of each piece, along with finding tactile pleasure in the bead or other material that makes up the bulk of the necklace. Today I'm going to share some of the pieces that I've created so far, along with components and materials I have gathered for future creations.
I think of this piece as my own personal "rosary" - a tool for assisting with the mindful management of my own thoughts. It consists of a bronze octopus coin with labradorite by Cynthia Thornton, a bronze urchin component by Lesley Watt, and a pewter fish link by Green Girl Studios. These pieces are paired with iolite, labradorite, and fire prehnite beads, along with copper, niobium, and gold. I feel that my major inspiration - the sea and her creatures - resonate in this piece.
It's no surprise that eyes would fall into the jewelry that is most significant to me, is it? The focal bead on this necklace is a Nazar that a friend brought back from Turkey. Paired with enameled eye chain, brass links, vintage glass beads, and brass eye "ball" dangles - this is my favorite thing to wear when I feel vulnerable in any way - surely all these eyes will repel any negativity, right?
I've been seeing this term tossed around lately on the internet - Every Day Carry. This appears to apply broadly to those things you don't leave the house without, come hell or high water. I've realized that these pieces have become my Every Day Wear - I can't leave the house without at least one on. Even if I'm wearing a larger beadwork necklace, I'll wear a special charm on a chain too, or something else that coordinates. It doesn't matter the day of the week, where I'm going or what I'm doing, I just can't make it out of the apartment without some item of jewelry that resonates with my spirit. I'm sure you have something like this that you wear every day too - maybe it's a watch, wedding ring, or earrings you've had for years. That item you fiddle with when your hands are idle. That accessory you feel naked without. Something that means more to you than just "jewelry". What is your Every Day Wear?