This red yak bone trio contains Nepalanese male beads and was made by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Symbols Create Expressions of Meaning

My recent collection, Symbols and Treasures, focused on expressions of meaning in our lives. At times, I felt like a teenager as I raved to potential customers about tokens and the importance we assign to them.

To me, it can be all important or not at all: the markings detail on a clasp, the seemingly coincidental mix of beads in a charm, the possibility of a talisman or amulet that carries special significance for someone. What could be more fun than immersing yourself in the wonder that symbols create for you.

Shortly before my event I visited a local artisan to purchase findings such as toggles with texture and hand-made fasteners of bronze and brass. The extraordinary finds added delight to the final works I prepared. Delight for me in the making and delight for others as they examined the creations.

In nearly every situation, detail makes the difference. Look at this necklace for instance. The heart, placed asymmetrically, calls out to someone who yearns for a one-of-a-kind presentation.

This asymmetrical heart is part of how symbols create expression for Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, My Heart’s Off-Center

Even though it would be easy to make a stack of bracelets exactly alike, variations add interest. 

In the trio of bracelets below, beads seem similar. Then, interest is piqued with additional details. Close study may reveal differences: different shapes of beads, different types of beads including glass and wood, brass spacers, and un-matched elephants, for instance. 

Tiny patterns carry out the symmetry: red Nepal yak bone beads with brass, turquoise and coral, then an open weave brass round bead, and then another red Nepal bead. Brass is the constant in the design. White accent beads are glass.

While assigning meaning is not a requirement, I discovered that my customers were hungry to know the why behind the creation. As an artist, I create expressions of meaning, symbols, for customers.

What is your gift to your customers? Do you create expressions of meaning?

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