Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowed or Haunted?

I have long been intrigued with the relationhip of the Raven to St. Benedict. To many, the raven is ominous and a sign of the mysterious and supernatural (Edgar Allan Poe's haunting and chilling poem "The Raven"), and some may even go as far as to consider the raven a sign of evil....."Nevermore" !

There is a reference to a story in the second book of the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great (Dialogues II, viii.d3) As the story goes, St. Benedict was saved from eating a poisoned loaf of bread by a raven. The raven snatched the bread and hid it in the woods. Of course, it is much more complicated and dramatic than that - as chronicled, but I find it interesting that the symbol of the raven has persisted as a sign of wisdom and goodness, associated with St. Benedict and the Benedictine tradition. If you look closely at the St. Benedict medal you will see a raven sitting on his shoulder. The art of the St. John's Bible, a significant hand-written bible project commissioned by the monks at St. John's in Collegeville, MN features a raven in at least one of the illuminations - "Creation" from the book of Genesis.

My own exposure to the Benedictine tradition has been significant. I lived in central North Dakota for 30 years in close proximity to the Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck. The amazing Benedictine nuns from the Monastery sponsor the University of Mary where I received my master's, and St. Alexius Medical Center - where my sons were born. The strong Benedictine traditions in that small North Dakota city carried over to the parochial schools - which the kids attended (k - 12). They both decided to attend St. John's University in Collegeville, MN - sponsored by Benedictine monks. Now, in my second career in Minnesota - I am working for Benedictine Health Center of Minneapolis, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Scholastica in Duluth (Benedictines!). Did you know that St. Scholasitca and St. Benedict were siblings?

The Rule of St. Benedict, which provides guidance and direction for the monastics and all institutions they support, is a good read. The Rule has been used for fifteen centuries, and St. Benedict is sometimes regarded as the founder of Western monasticism.

"Let everyone that comes be received as Christ" is one of the most familiar phrases of the Rule, and is especially applicable in my current work. This emphasizes the importance of hospitality in the tradition. Hospitality for Benedict meant that everyone who comes — the poor, the traveler, the curious, those not of our religion or social standing or education — should be received with genuine acceptance. Other important elements of the rule are life in community, the balance of prayer and work, stewardship, and justice.

I believe that Benedictine values are as necessary today as they were in the sixth century. Benedict's Rule remains a powerful guide, and provides a way of viewing life that finds meaning in the ordinary.

So, for me the Raven is hallowed - associated with the holy and divine. My office is filled with raven art - prints, pottery and poetry. I used them as a continual reminder of the Rule - and all that it contains for us.

Alison Wallace is the artist who created the linocut entitled ‘St Benedict’s Raven’, which I found while doing an image and icon search for St. Benedict.

And let me ask this question -
"Does wisdom perhaps appear on earth as a Raven?"


Total Rusticity

I believe my interest in leather began back in the early 70's when I worked for a leather store on First and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis. I made some little leather pouches, one of which I still have.
I loved the smell and feel of the leather and still do today.
A happy day for me is when my leather order arrives and I can lay the piece(s) out and plan my strategy for what I will make. I like hides with brand marks and often incorporated them into a particular piece.
I spent several years mostly making leather journals but along with those I am now also making checkbook covers, clutches, phone pouches, coin purses and of course the messenger bag which has grown in popularity.
My look is rustic.
And Tess, I do have one item in my line that has a name attached. That would be the Courtney Clutch. Inspired by a friend Courtney, of course that wanted a larger pouch than than the card/coin pouch. The Courtney has turned out to be a popular item! Thanks Courtney!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Holy Moly!!

....I can't believe I'm blogging. My friends in the Twin Cites will think this is pretty funny!!

I've been making devotional jewelry such as rosary bracelets, Psalm 23 bracelets (you remember, "The Lord is my Shepard...."), and rosaries for about 5 years. I really like making beautiful pieces, some classic and traditional - and some that are unique and fun with a trendy look. I like it when people say 'wow, cool bracelet' - or, 'what is the meaning of that medal?', or 'can you customize with my birthstone?' The bracelet above just sold on my etsy shop! I'm tempted to make another one for me. It's fun and kicky - with an awesome four-way medal.

Anyway, devotional jewelry is a great way to "remember your prayers"! In my designs, I use high quality gemstones, genuine Swarovski (c) crystals and pearls, freshwater pearls, sterling silver - and my new favorite - bronze. Very warm looking for fall. Lake Superior and the great outdoors are the inspiration for my designs. Stay tuned! Kathy

The Exposure Hat

This is the exposure hat the I made from Drops Designs. It's baby Alpaca and Baby Kid. It's a Scandanavian design so it took a bit to knit. I pulled it out once because I thought it was to big. After reading a message from this gal from Russia, I decided to just keep it the way it was. It is very warm though so if you would like one, just let me know. Tess

Vintage Sweater

This is Avery's sweater but as you can see, I got it to big. The hat looks to small and the sweater is to big but I still don't have a button on it. The pattern called for one button on the top. I think I will just knit an eye cord and put it on the other side. Any suggestions?

Oh, I messed up the cable but I really didn't want to pull it out. Usually I will pull it out. A bad habit that I learned from Grandma Stafford. Tess

Tess Broke the Ice

Cool! Our first couple of posts! Cute items Tess! The photos look great as well. I recently made this cute hat with ear flaps (see photo) that I was going to put in my etsy shop but my daughter Arete stole it right off the mannequins head. Oh well, it looks super cute on her and I made a couple more that are in my shop! I have been on a hat making spree and I will get a bunch more felted bowls and felted nesting bowls sets ready for my shop! Christmas is right around the corner. There are five of us sisters that will be posting on this blog. There will be a variety of topics which will make it fun and interesting! We have interests in vintage, repurposing old items into new fabulous pieces, knitting, scrapbooking, poetry, books, indie, fashion, nature, travel, jewelry making, leather, stones, aromatherapy and the list goes on. Add more if you want girls! This is the tip of the iceberg. Looking forward to the next posting from one of my lovely sisters!! hint hint.....

Desert Clutch

The Desert Clutch

OK! I have been bugging Margie and Anner for some time about mixing leather with felted objects. I tried a bag last year and my friend Marilyn did the stitching for me. So, i decided to give it another go and we created this bag that I am calling the Desert Clutch. It seems like the leather color is off with that color felt but it's a start. I also had a vision awhile ago about naming a bag "Johnstone" I know I know, it sounds kind of weird but can you just picture it now. Well made leather bags, just as nice as the popular ones. What is it PRADA???? Who the heck is Prada? Those plastic purses are really weird looking. I think it's all in the name, which is the whole point of this blog. OK, Margie. Anner has made a hat named Badeena so it's your turn. Go for it. Tess


Cabled Beret

I remember that i used to wear a beret when I was a kid. I think my Grandma made it. I thought I looked pretty cool when I was a kid but for some reason, I don't think a beret fits me that well. I think I wear hats for warmth rather than style but here is one that i knit for my friend Della. She has strawberry blond hair, just recently cut short. I hope she likes it. Tess