Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy Fourth Day Of Christmas

Each year as Christmas approaches, the handmade ornament wheels in my brain start to turn.

Always, my goal is to produce a little trinket to share with family and friends but the fine points of each creation is totally left to my whims. Often, my inspiration comes from certain materials - wood, paper, beads - or colors or random ideas that mash up in my brain.

This year, though each of those factors played a role, my ornament design was primarily a nod to the themes of my life during the past year.

^ Random rectangles of air-dry clay, roughly hewn into rectangles with a toothpick and speared twice to create hanging holes. My process was intentionally raw and unrefined; my finished product turned out nice and scruffy. 

^ Pristine, shiny, delicate red baubles with fancy filigreed fasteners. I didn't have to do a single thing to prepare these beauties for the project - they were pure and perfect from the get-go.

I know. That sounds like quite a bit of philosophical baggage for a bitty little Christmas ornament to carry. But hear me out.

^ There's an undeniable contrast between the two elements that pleases me. I like mis-matchy things.

More than ever before, this was a year of yin and yang for me. Some parts of my life were gilded and shining and almost perfect; others were irreconcilably flawed. Although I would usually choose to live comfortably in the merry middle, these intense and opposite experiences reminded me that there is also grace and peace to be found in the extreme highs and lows.

^ Golden cursive is hand-painted and therefore less than perfect, but provides a counterpoint to the two extremes. The detailed, repetitive brush work is like therapy for me.

So whether your year was a blissfully uneventful stroll through the seasons or a walk on the wild side, like mine, I hope that you have found beauty and joy in the journey.

^ VoilĂ ! Say hello to my 2015 Ornament of the Year.

And now, for the love of Pete, let's all buckle our seat belts and hold on to the handrails as we discover what 2016 might have in store.

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For more Ornament of the Year posts, check these out:

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