Introducing the “Abundance Collection”

In preparation for the 20th Old Church Artfest June 2-3, 2012, I’ve created the Abundance Collection, a selection of wearable art featuring vintage African trade beads. In today’s post, I’m previewing “Abundance Collection Bracelets.”

Ancient and modern worlds merge in this offering, making each piece incredibly special. Ghana sandcast blue beads make perfect pairings for jeans and a tee; wear one or several.

Abundance Collection, bracelets. 7.25″ to 8.25″ ©2012 Mary Ellen Merrigan

Vibrant colors call to mind primary values, nature, and fun.

Abundance Collection, bracelets. 7.75″-8.25″ ©2012 Mary Ellen Merrigan

Slight imperfections lend authenticity and uniqueness to each bead. More importantly, these are not the beads of mass production.

Abundance Collection, bracelets. 7.50″ – 8.25″ ©2012 Mary Ellen Merrigan

Variations in design and materials emphasize one-of-a-kind.

Abundance Collection, bracelets. 7.75″ – 8.25″ ©2012 Mary Ellen Merrigan

These beads, some of them hundreds of years old, were originally made in Europe and carried to West Africa by Arab traders. Vintage African trade beads were worn not only for adornment, but for currency. Beads were often traded for food, water, and other necessities.

My trade beads have been gathered from my travels, from friends who have traveled to Africa, from trusted vendors at bead shows, and from estate sales of other collectors. I’ve even received some trade beads as gifts. Never have I felt so strongly tied to a collection.

At the suggestion of my mastermind group, I named the Abundance Collection for what it represents:

  • Treasure, a rich, beautiful heritage which cannot be recreated
  • Variety, in generous color, a reminder of the variety and intensity of life
  • Authenticity, a value to cherish in a world of mass production
  • Prosperity, truly, beads for trade – beads with volumes of meaning for today

The Old Church Artfest, juried and hosted by the Corrales Visual Arts Council, includes works hands made by New Mexico artists. Admission and parking are free.

See the show 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday June 2-3, 2012 at Old San usidro Church, 966 Old Church Road, Corrales, NM. The Old San Ysidro Church is located one mile north of the Corrales Post Office on Corrales Road, then 3/10 mile west on Old Church Road.

During the remaining weeks before the show I plan to add more bracelets, as well as necklaces and earrings to the collection.

In addition, I plan to attach a printed card with my description of The Abundance Collection to each item containing trade beads. Because I’ve not published a collection in this manner, I’m seeking input. What do you think, my reader?