my Talismans ... a bit of history

Up until a couple of months ago, I had virtually no motivation or inspiration to work on my Talismans series.  Then my nephew, Richie, asked if I could donate some work for his recent For A Reason World Foundation fundraiser.  I debated about what I wanted to make and then there it was, that long missing inspiration. 

It took a bit to figure out what I wanted to do, haul out my stash of imagery and symbols and themes, then start making some new components.  I ended up sending him a half dozen simplified pieces and they were immediately snapped up .... hmmmmm.  Maybe it was time to revisit this body of work.

So that's what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks.  I'm thrilled with what I've created and have listed the new work.  But I thought it would be nice to share a bit of the series history and the original urge that led me to make these treasured, meaningful jewels.

The roots of All One Talismans go back to early 2008 and a rather intense personal meltdown ... a total crash and burn ... after which I spent a full month not working, but writing and meditating and taking long walks on the beach.  I slowly got back to work as usual.  Then a few months later I had the overwhelming desire to create pieces full of symbolism with text messages and blessings, work that was overflowing with deep meaning and positive energy.

I decided to work on themes that seemed relevant for our times ... journey, forgiveness, gratitude, grace, intuition ... with symbols and imagery appropriate to each theme.  Journey could be a life spiral or a cairn of stones or beach glass; forgiveness a mended heart, a hand for gratitude, a cross for grace and a silver pebble with a rune for intuition.

I added gemstones for their aesthetic as well as energetic properties.  I'm a strong believer in the energy potential and properties of gemstones, but not really a student and prefer to use my intuition to select gems.  Funny thing, when I did look up their meanings or properties, I always chose the perfect stones.  I added beach pebbles as "gratitude touchstones" and sea glass nuggets as reminders of life's unexpected gifts.

Lastly, I wanted to add a blessing.  I dyed some vintage silk ribbon, then cut small sections and wrote on the silk a blessing or inspirational phrase.  The silk would be lashed to the chain or cord with waxed linen, the message hidden within, but I needed one more thing ... a seed to tuck within the blessing.  So I headed down to our local food co-op and wandered around for a bit.  I had no idea what kind of seed, but was trusting my intuition would guide me.  Nothing on the seeds for growing display jumped out, so I headed over to the spices.  I opened jar after jar, smelling and gazing and then there it was ... the jar of fenugreek seeds. 

I pulled down the jar, opened it up and was virtually overwhelmed by an extraordinary sense memory.  I remembered that fenugreek was one of my paternal grandfather's favorite things.  My Grampa was a deeply religious man - fervent and intense, no teeth, no hair, crotchety as the day was long and he could scare the daylights out of me.  

 Grampa in the backyard shed ...

Grampa in the backyard shed ...

But when I opened that jar, I remembered that he was also something of an herbalist and was always making plasters and juices and god-awful concoctions to doctor us up or grow hair or fix whatever was ailing us.  I really don't know what he did with the fenugreek, but when I opened that jar, there was my Grampa and I burst into tears.  So I felt a bit silly crying amidst the spice jars, but it was a revelation.  Needless to say, I scooped out some seeds and headed home to finish my blessing wraps.

What I later realized is that for all those years I had completely misunderstood and discounted my grandfather's influence.  While his religious fervor could be a scary thing at 5, the passion and authenticity behind it was clear to a more awake 52 year old.  This is how I now remember my Grampa ...

 My Granny and Grampa with his beloved Bible ...

My Granny and Grampa with his beloved Bible ...

The Talismans were turning into an amazing healing project and finally coming together.  I dubbed the series Waking Up and even licensed this gorgeous Angel of Pompeii image to use in my marketing materials ...

 Stephen Brigidi, from  Angels of Pompeii

Stephen Brigidi, from Angels of Pompeii

We were still in Port Townsend when my Waking Up Talismans and I had our "spiritual coming out" party at Artisans on Taylor.  It was an emotional night ... lots of joy, lots of tears ... beautiful and rewarding and, ultimately, enormously healing.  A long way from that crumpled human earlier in the year.

I continued to make Talismans for several years, changed the name to "Talismans for Fellow Travelers" then a couple of years ago, "All One Talismans" ... not such a mouthful and easier to understand.  But somewhere in the last few years, inspiration fled.  Probably something to do with major moves and feeling rather ungrounded.  I have enormous respect for the power of this work and it's absolutely impossible for me to create from an unstable foundation.

 The latest group of All One Talismans laying on the marbled page of a vintage ledger that belonged to my Dad.

The latest group of All One Talismans laying on the marbled page of a vintage ledger that belonged to my Dad.

So it would appear that I'm finally feeling a bit more settled.  These latest Talismans definitely feel grounded and inspired and right, but also new and fresh.  It's like a homecoming and for that awareness and the inspiration behind it, I am deeply grateful. 

With widespread unrest, political upheaval and global craziness the subjects across all the newsfeeds and social media, finishing this work at this time was essential ... to offer contrast, to counterbalance and bring light.  Thanks for joining the light brigade. 

The journey continues ...

with light filled blessings - kvk