28 October 2012

Prayer Beads

Our line contemporary prayer beads are almost finished! Its been a process of back and forth, between the first concept sketches to the first prototypes. 

A contemporary take on prayer beads in many traditions-- Catholic rosaries, Buddhist malas, Muslim Tesbih...   The designers and I were working off the themes of life/death, light/darkness in paintings (see below). We wanted to give meditators a visceral reminder of these dualities (and non dualities) by creating pieces that varied texture and hue. These are all silver-plated, and the number will be a factor of nine. 

Our Process
I gave jewelers Nine and Don five paintings as potential basis for design. Each painting reflected different aspects of meditation practice. 
For overall style, they selected my ink paintings as inspiration. In particular, they were moved by the story, Runaway Moon.  

In the book, the little horse thinks she is being chased by the moon. The entire story happens in one night. 

In designing the beads, we were interested in creating contrast that can be both seen and felt--mirroring dualities of light and darkness, life and death, that exist in all of us. 

Prayer Beads, a Historical Survey

I think it would be great to provide people of many faiths simple, elegant pieces they can wear that would serve as reminders and inspiration for their spiritual practice. 
"Beads are among the earliest human ornaments and ostrich shell beads in Africa date to 10,000 BC.[1] Over the centuries various cultures have made beads from a variety of materials from stone and shells to clay.[1]
The English word bead derives from the Old English noun bede which means a prayer.[2][3][4][5] The exact origins of prayer beads remain uncertain, but their earliest use probably traces to Hindu prayers in India.[1][3][6] Buddhismprobably borrowed the concept from Hinduism.[1][3] The statue of a holy Hindu man with beads dates to the 3rd century BC.[3][6]
[In Buddhism and Hinduism, prayer beads are often referred to as mala.] Mala (Sanskrit:माला;mālā) means "garland" or "wreath".[18]"
Excerpted from "Prayer Beads" in Wikipedia

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Thanks, appreciate the mindful comment! - Minette