Tuesday, December 06, 2011

beads and meaning

I'm fiddling with beads this morning, working them into necklaces.  I just pulled a batch of clay beads from the woodstove that fired last night and I love their earthiness.  So it was interesting timing that there was a lovely email in my inbox this morning from a dear reader in which she said "..to work with clay from the earth is to be in tune with this beautiful planet that is going through such drastic changes." 

Those words have been running through my head all morning.

I do feel a sense of connection with these simple beads.  I dug the clay myself, tempered it with shells that I crushed, and fired these in my woodstove.  No strip mines, no machined perfection.  These little gems are imperfect and rough and utterly one of a kind.  Just like nature... just like you and I.

I value the process as much as the outcome.

I think a lot of you feel this way too and it startles me when I go out into the "real" world and see the racks and racks of cheaply made (read: disposable) costume jewelry.  And see the people buying up all those trinkets without a thought as to how it was made and at what cost - and I don't mean monetarily.

Me, I'll be wearing the beautiful agate my friend Lynn cut for me, the hand-dyed silk sewn into a feather by Eva, the tiny acorn from Sonia, the dried lichen garden from Margie, the macaroni necklace my boys made me (yes, I wear it), and even these beads of mine.  And while I realize that even handmade goods are not made without impact, each of these pieces is gentler and carry much more meaning than anything I could find in the mall.  And that matters to me.

I'm curious, what kind of trends have you noticed in your community?  Have you seen a shift towards more sustainable "stuff"?  How do you feel about it?  Do you think it matters?  Am I being a soapboxing hippie? (you don't have to answer that one)

Happy Tuesday everyone.


Unknown said...

I believe these things matter very much, my dear Soap Box Hippie! Hurray for handmade.

Tree Dellinger said...

I volunteer at a local thrift store that uses all of its profits to help others in the community. I'm appalled by the amount of cheaply made and disposable clothing and goods that are donated to the store. Yes, it's being put to good use within our store and we recycle as much as we can if it's not sellable. However, I find the idea of intentionally making something cheaply so it can be sold for cheap and tossed at the end of the season by the consumer, who is then enticed to by a new cheap item the next season, just an incredible waste of money and resources. Then there's the psychological toll of drowning in unwanted, useless stuff. Have you seen Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff" video? It's a *great* discussion starter for theproblem with our consumer culture. http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/

Anonymous said...

it matters to me too, and that's why I value so much all the necklaces & brooches I've been gathering from my friends (you & Margie included).
I love wearable art made with love.
I know you & I (and some of our mutual friends) share that love & interest.
PS : have you ever thought of making earrings ? I am SO lacking of earth friendly earrings. ;-)

Alina S. Tarmu said...

These beads are wonderful. My neighborhood is definitely shifting towards sustainability. We are planning for rain gardens and permacultured community lots! I am sooo excited!

julochka said...

i spent part of last weekend participating in a handmade market in a shopping center full of empty shops and i can tell you that the handmade movement has made NO impact whatsoever in denmark. it's all industrial (over)design with the right brand label on it. and that makes me very sad.

Tumus said...

I see it in the food scene around here. Though it's still kind of a "treat" to afford the organic meats and cheeses I see more people trying to do right. I heard an interesting comment on the news today about one of the climate summits going on that said people in Europe are amazed at the the lax attitude people here in the States are taking towards climate change and the impact they have on the planet. It sucked to hear that.

I know it's true though. It seems like America has forgotten what "value" really means. Ask anyone on the street and I'll bet 90% of them say value means getting more for less. Whatever happened to people thinking it meant quality, love, hard work and labor? To value something to me is to treasure it. I treasure that I can afford to support the local farms around here and hope that it can still become the norm one day.

k said...

oh i am the other hippie standing right up on the soapbox with you. it's funny, i keep getting sort of an urge of holiday bustle, feeling like i should be out shopping with the hordes, despite not having a definable 'list' of what i would buy. and then i pause, and remember that no, there is no need for that. i have most of what i need to make some gifts for my loved ones. and the few items i have bought have been carefully selected items handmade by others (okay, and a few books - there will always be books). i think there are a lot of people in my community with like minds, but based on the continuing appearance of larger and larger box stores around here, i know that is not entirely true. too bad.

prpltrtl946 said...

First, let me say that your beads are FANTASTIC!!!!! I totally enjoyed the whole process! And the nerve it took to toss that pottery in the woodstove!!! WOW!! 8*)

My world is kinda limited since I am disabled and my hubby has MS. The stuff I see is my son trying to farm wahatever he can in my yard and containers. He was so proud of his first "Harvest" and the teeny tiny potatoes. 8*)

My son is also working on "other" sources of energy. Right now, I have 5 or 6 dead (as in ready to go to the dump, but he saved them) car batteries that he hooks up to some magnet thingy (I got lost in how it works...) and it makes enough power to light a light bulb! He is so proud! (He is 21 years old and I am so proud!)

My friends are working very hard to only buy made in USA and hand made/grown in NH stuff. There are Farmer's Markets all around me. We have a vegan restaurant next door to our town Library!! 8*)They also teach vegan cooking, and sells its food to our local grocery store (that has a "natural foods" section) and to other organic/natural food stores.

My hubby can't stand that I won't toss my "100 year old useless beads" to which I had GREAT pleasure showing him a handmade gift using those very same "100 year old useless beads"...teehee. 8*)

I have been told many times that I was born 10 years too late. Should have been 1950, instead of 1960. Because I am a Hippie at heart and always have been. 8*)

Barbara's Thought of the Day said...

I had a "why didn't I think of that moment" when I read that you fired your beads in the stove. Brilliant idea and one that I so want to explore. I'm wondering if you could share a little about the process. I switched over to pellet stove two years ago, but live in Vermont and am surrounded by former hippies and wood fired friends. I'm fascinated by the idea of a "free" firing.


Margie Oomen said...

is it too late for us to start a commune lisa
or at least to muster up a much larger soap box for all us hippies

Malinda said...

Hi Lisa,
I found you via Betz White's blog and I am so happy I did. I have read back about a month and look forward to reading further. I do identify with your homegrown "hippy" ideas. Born in the early 50's, I could have been a hippy, but my upbringing deterred me. I am so happy to shop in the thrift stores now and make jewelry and quilts, grow a garden and volunteer. (Having grown children makes the last item possible). I am slowly learning to knit and crochet. Very slowly.
Keep up the great blog.
I will be back to read more soon. You are on my favorites list.


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