Autumn – A New Beginning

For me, Autumn has always been a time of new beginnings – far more than our traditional New Year’s, which is celebrated in the dead of winter.  It’s a time when we buy new notebooks for school and a time of harvest.  As summer ends, hot days turn cooler and the air is fresh with promise.  Even nature wipes its slate clean, eventually shedding its leaves in a burst of color and collecting its energy as it prepares for the cycle of new life in the Spring.

In Autumn we celebrate Halloween, which is derived from the Celtic “Samhain,” an ancient festival that was celebrated over several days from October 31 to November 1.  Samhain later influenced the development of the Christian festival of “All Saints’ Day” or “All Hallow’s Eve” – hence the name for the modern holiday of “Halloween.”  In Celtic culture Samhain was the beginning of the year and a new turning on the Wheel of Life.  It was considered a time of transition – a magical time when the dead walk among the living, and a time to reflect on our past and look ahead to our future.

We’ve carried the Celtic symbols of harvest with us in our traditions of carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples, as well as the symbols of “All Saints’ Day” with our images of skeletons and goblins.  But what appeals to me most about the old traditions is the practice of reflection and the sense of possibility.

With that in mind, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Celtic New Year, and invite you to take a moment to reflect.  What have you achieved this year, and what would you like to improve?  Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Here’s my list – or at least the beginning of a list.  No rush – we have until October 31st to think about it.

1.       Keep learning. Sign up for a jewelry class or practice a new technique at home.  Seek out new authors.

2.       Be creative – everyday. Working a full time job, this is often a challenge to me, and sometimes I procrastinate too much.  But it’s easier to do one thing each day, than to try to tackle everything at once.

3.       Be thankful – all around us is abundance, we just have to look for it. For many of us these days, sales are slow and money is tight.  But there’s always something for which to be grateful.

4.       Get organized. Now, this is a hard one.  I’ve acquired quite a large stash of beads and supplies, and I’m an avid reader so I have a lot of books and magazines.  Keeping track of it all is a challenge.  As a result, I waste a lot of time looking for things that I know I have, but just can’t find.  Getting organized means having more time to do what I want to do.

5.       Eliminate clutter. I work better in a clutter free space, but I often hang on too long to old magazines or supplies that I bought a long time ago but can’t find a use for now.  It’s time to purge and de-stash, so I can be more productive.

I’d love to hear your resolutions for the Celtic New Year.  Maybe we can inspire each other.


Would you wear meat around your neck?

Lady Gaga caused a huge stir when she wore a “meat dress,” topped by a little meat pill box style hat and matching meat boots, to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.  When talk show host, comedienne, and vegan Ellen DeGeneres asked her why she wore the outfit, Lady Gaga said it could be interpreted in a variety of ways. “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And I am not a piece of meat,” Lady Gaga told DeGeneres.

Now, Celebuzz reports that the L.A.-based jewelry company, Onch Movement, has taken Lady Gaga’s statement wardrobe one step further, with a “meat lace” necklace. Of course, it’s not real meat, but it looks pretty darn close. This cruelty-free “Meat-Lace” necklace hangs on a gold and black chain, and is on sale at Big Cartel.

What intrigues me most about this necklace design is the way that Onch Movement has identified and capitalized upon a trend to advance their business. Isn’t this something we all need to do as handmade artists? What’s more, this necklace gives consumers a fresh new way to express themselves. As I always say, jewelry is both art and self-expression disguised as a fashion accessory.

Tell me, would you wear a slab of beef around your neck to make a statement? I’d love to hear your comments on this.