What does business and branding have to do with making a necklace? When I started making this necklace my mind kept chattering that this was meaningless work. I needed to stick to my marketing plan. I quieted the screaming in my head and followed my fingers to my inner wisdom. I know I can trust creativity to reveal the truth. Mindless art, beyond the limited left brain, connected to my essence, always knows the way. As I cut the fabrics and covered each bead, floods of memories and insights flowed.
Each bead is covered in Indian silk from the early 60’s. I still dream of the silk shop in Old Delhi. Down a narrow alley I carefully stepped over puddles of urine, past pigs wallowing in rotting garbage. I walked around a half naked snake charmer squatting in the filthy street. The cobras head bobbed, a python slithered around his arm as he played an off key flute. The air smelled of feces and rubbish mixed with cheap incense. Flies and bugs assaulted my eyes. I wrapped my scarf tightly around my face trying to lessen the invasion on my senses.
Up the narrow stairs, I took off my sandals, ducked under flaps of grungy fabric, and then stepped into dreamland. Every possible color, weight, texture and sheen of pure silk. Bolts of fabric, floor to ceiling, rainbow hues floated around the room. The raw, earthy smell of hand died pure silk permeated the space. My body relaxed, delicious joy, sensuous delight. Luscious erotic heaven right here on earth, just beyond the despicable streets.
Mom sewed up a storm for four years in India and returned home to Altadena, CA. with outfits to wear to the Country Club. These are the dresses I’m clipping to bits creating this necklace.
Her clothes spilled from one closet to the next, and then completely took over a huge master bath. My mother loved to design clothes. No matter where Dad’s job took them to live in the world, she had one demand, Vogue. Magazines were delivered to the isolated desert in Iran, a remote village in India, her homes in Holland and Saudi Arabia. Vogue magazine would arrive in the mail and Mom would dig into the back of her closet and pull out a dress she had designed two years earlier. A replica of color, fabric, cut and style of her dress graced the cover of Vogue. If she had been born in a different decade she would have been a renegade fashion designer.
Snip, snip, with each cut of silk from my mother’s dresses, energy cascades from the fabric, slides through my fingertips, and triggers memories to form in a new way. A new perspective arises of what life was like for my mother, and what she had to go through to pursue her desires. The price she paid for her lifestyle; alcoholism, two kids that she really didn’t want, and trapped in a lost, loveless marriage for fifty years. Even though she had a college major in math, unheard of for a woman in her day, she felt her only option was to be a wife and mother. She would have been a fabulous businesswoman. A frustrated a fashion designer she created a new outfit for every occasion.
I wanted to get my mother’s attention. I wanted her approval and praise. So, I started sewing at the age of three. Mom had a sewing machine with a knee pedal to press against to sew. I pressed my total body weight to the right against the knee pedal and stretched my head and neck as far to the left as possible. My eyes needle height I learned to sew.
Here I am on the other spectrum of that little girl just learning to sew. Now at seventy my eyes don’t see so well. My fingers can’t work the tiny details. I can’t sew like I used to. My sewing isn’t perfect like it used to be; it doesn’t have to be anymore. I can wear whatever I want; however I want. I’ve reached the age of freedom to be absolutely me!
In retrospect I’m thankful my mother neglected me. I dove into my own artistry as a way to connect. Her inattention became a precious gift, my creativity. Creativity has saved my life in every possible way. And now my inventiveness expands beyond the patriarchal world that my mother inhabited.
My mother educated me about a particular type of passion when she taught me how to sew. I live in a time where I can go for my dreams, weave together my passions and earn money. Unheard of in the circle my mother lived in.
Clothes are a big piece of my life. How I dress and the jewelry I wear is how my essence expresses herself and a part of my brand.
What’s Your Brand? What diverse, unrelated parts of yourself and your life do you want to weave together to create your work? Invite your conflicting desires to come together and create something new so all your wishes can manifest. What’s the deeper story behind your brand? Bring the richness of your life to your business and brand and watch your abundance grow.
Do you expand with the excitement of new possibilities and then contract with fear or not knowing your next steps?
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