Tuesday, August 16, 2011


This is a picture of an old Hutsul woman that I found (original source unknown) and she is all kinds of amazing, I think.

It's been a bit of a long break here, but I am still writing, or at least planning to write. Home in Canada, trying to re-culturate and prepare for departing again to Scotland come mid-September. Dealing with family illness, trying to start writing my dissertation but not being able to gather thoughts in any semblance of order.

I ache to write but can't organize my thoughts very well at the moment, due to anxiety & too many things pressing at the vessels in my mind, so in the meantime I've mostly been making things with my hands: cabled handwarmers, felt mittens embellished with beading I did three years ago in the Yukon, tiny embroideries (though I had to stop the latter because my paraesthetic fingers and tired eyes protested). And beads... I've rediscovered how meditative it can be to pry at wires and string things along without any real plan, just adding and removing until my aesthetic third eye feels that telltale warmth and satisfaction.

I was of course inspired by the incredibly ornate silver decorations of the Sakha ladies, with their tiers of amulets protecting all parts of the body from evil spirit-influence, but what I am making with my own hands is simpler and less crafted. Wandering around the Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg on my way home I fell in love with the ancient amber necklaces of Baltic women, and the paleolithic pendants of bone and mammoth ivory, and after seeing the myriad strands of rough amber in the market stalls, decided these needed to be recreated. Combining that with the Carpathian colours, the warm reds of coral and carnelian and the raw brass and copper zgardy, I am making jewelry that reminds me of these elements and histories. I found stray vintage beads from Ukraine and antler tips from the Yukon in my treasure boxes and then bought some unpolished crystals, and thus many afternoons lately have been spent not thinking but simply making, inspired by these remembered patterns and textures and aesthetics. Pictures soon.