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Friday, December 02, 2011

Every Bead Tells A story

 This was one of the first pieces I ever made and one I couldn't bear to part with for that reason. I considered it a kind of talisman as I unfolded the wonder of these incredible objects loosely called beads. A bead is anything with hole drilled into it, by the way. In any case, this one had a chunk of very rare jasper with the same kind of coloration I first saw in the Australian rainforest where raw ocre streamed up from the earth. I actually have a photograph somewhere  of this same pattern on the forest floor.
Not long after, I discovered my first batch of amber in a little trading post-type shop in Santa Fe. I remember that shop well since it was set up in the wild west style but run by a gentleman from Afganistan who knew a lot about amber. He showed me what to look for, how to tell whether inclusions were genuine or 'included', to tell genuine amber from resin wannabes. That double-drilled slice of amber is the real thing and I've never found anything like it since. Good thing I bought multiples, all different.
Ebony and Ivory tells yet another story. The interesting tear-drop oval centerpiece attracted me last year at the BeadFest in Santa Fe because it was so unusual and  partnered so well with the silver-chased Thai bead. A vision came a-knocking. Sometimes a bead will tell me what it wants to be and I'm just left to pull it together. Real ebony from a neclace I purchased from a man in Zimbabwe features as does onyx and cracked agate plus dalmation jasper. I've always loved dalmation jasper. Though its named after the Croatian coast, I see puppy dogs straight out of the Lady & the Tramp!
But here's the thing: I have genuine ivory in there, too. Long ago in Zimbabwe, elephants were converging on regions of Africa that had food and provided some sanctuary. I visited the country at that time—Zimbabwe when  it held the promise of a continent—and learned the harrowing poaching stories from the guides who led us into the bush. The then-government confiscated poached ivory and turned it over to crafsmen to make items from the white gold which would then be funneled into the sanctuaries and anti-poaching efforts. I bought some. Will an elephant die in vain, I ask myself, or do we wear these pieces in tribute? I don't have the answer. I'm still struggling with the question.

Posted by Jane on 12/02 at 06:56 AM

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It's lovely Jane. I have a few of those oldies but goodies too, and I do think that whatever ivory you have should be worn in tribute. If anyone asks, say it is a talking point and educate them about the senseless killing of elephants. A friend gave me some exquisitely carved old ivory beads a few years ago, and I have been saving them until my skills caught up with their value. I am nearly ready to make them into a necklace now!

By Mardi on 2011 12 04

Recent Comments I've almost finished Rouge Wave and anxiously awaiting Book II. Do you have any idea when it will be available?

By Verlene Brooks on 2014 08 22
From the entry 'Rogue Wave nearing completion!'.




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