24 Jul

Prayer Flags

I’ve been wanting to create some Prayer Flags for a while now. Prayer Flags are something I’ve owned for years. A hippy mainstay, what dreadlocked boho goddess doesn’t fly a string of prayer flags in her house or garden?

Traditionally, Tibetan prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The idea that prayer flags somehow carry prayers to God on the wait or wind is a misconception. Prayer Flags are really better described as affirmation banners – their message is meant to permeate the space they are hung in or around, bringing benefits not just to the owner, but to anyone who comes into that space.

My Prayer Flags are created with words of affirmation I find partilarly powerful or meaningful. I am guided by the piece as I work on it with the word in mind, and ask it to tell me what it wants to look like! I am always guided to the finished result. It’s a joy working on them!

My favourite piece has been the “breathe” flag I made for my friend Zoe from 4ever Fitness and Health in Inverell for her studio. As we discussed colours and design, I had ideas of bright blues and greens, and maybe even a mandala design. However, as I started working on it, the piece began to tell me very firmly exactly what it wanted! I’ve never felt so strongly directed by inspiration to make a custom piece a certain way. Thankfully, Zoe loves it, and I do too 🙂

I’ve uploaded five new Prayer Banners to my Etsy store today, and they’ll be appearing also at Markets At The Fair at Erina Fair this Sunday the 30th of July, if not sold beforehand.

Please contact me if you’d like a custom Prayer Flag for your home, studio, or as a gift.

Cheers,

JO 🙂

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20 Jul

Sister Jo Bangles story is my story.

Sister Jo Bangles has a story. And her story is my story.

Just over two years ago, I suffered an emotional and mental crisis. A breakdown, followed by months of debilitating depression. I quit my job. I stopped writing. In fact, at the time I became unwell, I had a book released by a publisher after years of trying to be published, and I found myself barely able to tell people about it, let alone promote it. We moved back with my parents so we could cope financially on one income. I felt ashamed, crippled and helpless. All I wanted to do was hide in a hole or sleep. Thank God good friends and family encouraged me to seek out quality mental health support. It saved my life.

As I began to recover, I realized it was important I didn’t develop a habit of staying away from people and places. I needed also to avoid being with and believing the depression, which told me there was nothing worthwhile in the world, and I was finished as a person, and as a creator. I decided I’d get up, and get out of the house as often as I could. I started getting in the habit of visiting op-shops, a past time I’d always loved and which gave me joy. While browsing through the shelves looking for bargains, I didn’t think depressing thoughts. Whenever I was out and about on the op shop trail, I was happy, and my heart was light.

I brought home a ton of crap in those few months.

I found a small community of folks doing what I was doing, and trading their goodies through social media. I began to grow a little pocket money making venture – more op shop money, woohoo!

An unstoppable creative, I remembered some jewelry pieces I’d seen on Pinterest, and I thought I could make the kind of jewelry I liked from the bits I was finding in my explorations. I looked at a few videos online on how to make jewelry. And I was away.

Before long, I decided to get my sewing machine out and make a few pieces from op shop finds. I had never been one for buying new clothes anyway, and I saw so much inspiration on Pinterest I knew I could never run out of ideas!

What I love most still about creating these pieces is the feeling I get having gathered something which was considered no longer useful or beautiful, and giving it new life. It gives me so much bliss to resurrect the torn, the broken and the thrown away things of this world, to be a force against our disposable culture and throwaway mentality.

What really continues to inspire me is knowing Sister Jo Bangles has at her heart a culture of embracing, rather than hiding imperfection, of celebrating vulnerability rather than rejecting it, and of allowing the loose threads and ragged seams be seen, and seen as beautiful and worthy.

I know that in my own vulnerability, in my imperfection and brokenness, I am worthy and beautiful. Society may see me as an aging woman with mental health issues, unemployable perhaps, overweight (whatever that is), scarred and broken in places, not rich, without all the trappings to show for a “successful” life, but that’s not who or what I am. I am creative, bold, vulnerable, beautiful, strong, worthy and courageous. I’m a survivor. I have so much living left to do.

Just like all my Sister Jo Bangles creations.

I trust they bring you as much joy as they do me.

Love, Jo xxx

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