Beaded Prayer

My school has an amazing habit of setting up all these interesting workshops and lectures through out the year. Though towards the end of the semester I didnt have time to make it to even the lectures I really wanted to hear, on the second day after we flew back from Amsterdam I attended a workshop that I had signed up for weeks earlier. Honestly I was surprised I had the energy, but it was really worth it. The workshop was by the Beaded Prayer Project.

The name of the Project comes from the shared etymology of the words “bead” and “prayer.” In Old English, biddan, from which “bead” is derived, means “to ask” or “to pray.” The concept for creating packets with potent contents was inspired by traditions among different peoples from Africa and the African Diaspora.

In this workshop we were given pieces of fabric, bits of string, and some beads. Each person wrote a prayer on a square of paper, placed it in the fabric, and stitched it up with string and beads. After walking around the gallery a few times I decided I wanted to make something really special, and I wanted to play with the properties of fabric (yup, my materials class was always on my mind). Anyway, I knew I wanted to make something out of an Origami fold, but what? When I wrote my prayer, realized it was mostly about achieving inner peace and happiness, and so I decided it had to be a crane (which is a symbol for happiness in wisdom).

We only had 45 minutes to put our prayers together (did I mention we had to make two? One for ourselves, and one for them? though we could keep both or give both).. had I known how long it took to fold and sew each fold I may not have done it.. thank God for ignorance.. In the end everyone in my group got to hang our prayers on the same wall.. it felt nice having my prayer mix with everyone esles. And the whole process of setting down to sew was very calming.. I really enjoyed it.. hope they come back next year 🙂

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