Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Favorites... Spirit Beads

Reposting a favorite post of my own from the early days of this blog. It was originally posted June 5, 2007.

When I was participating actively in a beader's guild a few years back, I learned about the concept of the spirit bead. As I understand it, Native American beaders would always include one bead that didn't fit the pattern they were working, to indicate that only the Great Spirit or Creator was perfect. My own work had plenty of spirit beads that arrived on their own wings, so I had no need to insert them intentionally.

Ever since learning of that concept, I see "spirit beads" in other aspects of life. For example, the blue flax that piggybacked on a daylily I transplanted to my purple, rose and crimson front garden does not belong. It is the only blue in the garden. Though lovely, and one of my favorite flowers, it is too light and too bright for this particular garden. Nevertheless, so far I have left it there. The blue flax is the spirit bead in the front garden, reminding me that I am not the only gardener on this little parcel of land. There are birds, and wind, and entangled roots that have a hand in the design of my garden. I know it is only the first of many surprises in that garden, and I like it, though it mars my dark romantic color scheme.

The burnt corner of the casserole you are taking to the potluck dinner? Spirit bead. The sagging spot in the top of the birthday cake you made for a friend? Spirit bead. The embarrassing moment you have in front of way too many observers? It's just another spirit bead in the story of your life. It doesn't define the pattern, or who you are. When you start to recognize them as "spirit beads" even imperfections can be beautiful.


Cloudhands said...

I remember when you first posted this. I liked it then and I like it now. I may have even commented that quilters especially Menonites and Amish are careful to add a false block because only the Divine creator is perfect. An assumption on the quilters part that she had to purposefuly make the error that has always struck me funny.

Pom Pom said...

I like this post! The top I am sewing is going to have a spirit bead because I can't figure out how to apply the bias tape. Thank you!

Aisling said...

Mom, Yeah, that's funny. I'm sure some little flaws would have been there anyway, so there is a certain arrogance in doing it on purpose. But, arrogant in a cute way! *grin*

Pom Pom, It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? Have fun with that top, and good luck with the bais tape. Tricky stuff!