Every once in a while as an artist you want to give your creative brain a break and do something mindless — but fun.
Mirrix offered a beaded bracelet weave-along this week. That sounds like fun! I haven’t worked with beads in years. While other artists created elaborate patterns from the tiny Delica beads comingled in one little bag, I carefully constructed a random pattern! It’s a cute wrap bracelet that took only a few hours.
While weaving it, I was reminded of the year I spent creating a beaded collar for my daughter’s bat mitzvah tallit nine years ago. A tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl. It’s personal and special. And sometimes 13-year-olds love it for a minute, then forget it.
The few hours I spent working on this simple bracelet evoked the most powerful memories of struggling to craft a gift that a 13-year-old would love, and the adult she would become would treasure.
I knew the tallit would take a while to create. Starting from scratch, I purchase the silk, dyed it, purchased more, dyed it again, and prepared it for the collar and fringes (tzitzis.) Creating something this special requires thought, study, reflection. I wanted it to be right. This is a garment she would have her entire life.
A year is a long time to work on a project. Of course, I had to do it in secret so it would be a surprise. At times I’d look at it an wonder why I was putting in the effort. I don’t have time for this. Was this worth it? Was I making it to satisfy my ego? Was it any good? Would she care?
Hammy is an animal person, so animal scenes were drawn, beaded, changed, re-beaded.
A dolphin, horse, panda, parrot, butterfly. I sewed the collar to the shawl hours before presenting it to her. She loved it. Then it sat in the tallit bag.
Five years later, in 2014, she is no longer a child. At 18, months before she moves to Namibia to study animals, she flies off to Israel. At the Kotel, the Western Wall, she pulls it over her head.
Knitters and weavers know the phrase “knit-worthy” or “weave-worthy.” A knit-worthy person is someone who appreciates the hand-knitted gift, will care for it, and understands the hundreds of hours –and pieces of your soul– that went into making it. There aren’t very many “knit-worthy” people out there.
Whenever we make special gifts for someone, we take a risk. Will it be appreciated? Will it be valued?
It’s funny how writing works. This started out to be a piece about a simple, fun beaded bracelet. It turned into praise of a “bead-worthy” daughter.