February 5, 2010

Leaps of Faith Part Deaux

It's my story so I can tell it like I want to, right?  Even if that means telling it in reverse? 

See.  I knew I liked you.   Part 1 is going to take a little longer and likely require a large glass of wine. And who drinks wine at 2 in the afternoon?  Oh wait, I do.  Just not on Friday.

I should probably tell you that some of what I say is meant tongue in cheek.  The rest of the time I am typing with my tongue.  Also?  I am easily distracted, so let me get back on track.

If you've been reading my blog you know my focus frequently shifts to my Jars of Clay series.  It is very personal for me and something that has been a long time coming.  For now I am going to share with you the significance of the finished jewelry.  It is hard to keep my emtional attachment in check with these, so if I get slobber on your screen~ sorry about that.

The 'jars' are glass focals that I wind at my torch and later cold work to make usable in bead embroidery.    They were accidentally born in 2003 at a time of intense soul searching and became a personal reminder to allow the potter (God) to work the clay (me).

You might notice that the colors have been carried outward from the Jar into the beadwork.  This represents striving to allow one's outside to reflect the light and beauty that lives inside each of us; to remain true to the unique gifts that are our own.

The focal pendants are suspended from the necklaces by 3 individual strands.  One each to personify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The necklaces are double stranded to symbolize the duality of man and to acknowledge that our choices, all of them, are a matter of free will.

Each necklace is adorned with a single hand at the end of an extension chain.  It is there to serve as a reminder of God's constant presence in our lives~ His hand at work both in us and around us.


How awesome is it, and how blessed am I, that my gifts allow me not only to connect to but also to express my spiritual creativity?  It's better than chocolate.  And cake.  And chocolate filled chocolate cake double dipped in chocolate. 

Thanks, God.  You're nice.


  1. Juli, your faith and your work are inspirations to me. One of the things that has attracted me to bead art and handmade jewelry is just what you describe -- the opportunity to put a little (or a lot!) of yourself into every piece. I always, for example, work a small mistake into every piece I do -- could be a couple seeds beads in a completely different color, a deliberately short stitch,..whatever. It always serves to remind me that everyone makes mistakes but that beauty can still be achieved through imperfection.

    You and I have been on this bead journey for a long time, and one of the things I loved about The Art of Beads is that it attracted people who poured their hearts and souls into their work. There are so many people doing beading now, but so few who really take the time to create something unique. I rarely see jewelry booths at shows anymore that feature anything other than mass-produced, boring pieces. The sisters from The Art were special in that nothing was "mass produced" and everything was made for a reason.

    I don't sell much any more, but create my art for myself or for people I love. I didn't find much satisfaction in selling, but then it's not my livlihood either.

    What impresses and inspires me most about you is that this IS your livlihood and yet you make each piece unique in it's own right. You're not just stringing or stitching beads, you're leaving a little bit of you in each piece.

    Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Patty, I love that you leave an intentional mistake in your work. I usually find something after the fact and it speaks to me in much the same way.

    I find myself thinking of The Art frequently these days. It was an amazing adventure that far surpassed any expectations I had when I started it, and you are so right about the uniqueness of the beadwork and sisterhood that grew from it.

    I found myself smiling through tears at your words. Thank you for the very kind affirmations. We *have* been at this for many years, and I feel blessed to remain as inspired as I am by it.

    I'd love to see your latest endeavors! Why not Blog 'em?