April 21, 2014

a closer look


years ago, there was a tiny boutique on ninth avenue that sold beauty.  the walls, the tables, the floor, every available inch of surface was occupied by loveliness, covered in things, objects whose sole purpose in existence was to make your eyes smile.  the kind of place where you knew the owners, and where you were happy to open up your wallet for them.  during the wintry holiday season, this magical place held special shopping nights for friends and neighbors in hell's kitchen, and after work, in the eleven o'clock hour, i trudged out of my theater, past snowy bars and restaurants filled with revelers to the one shop window still warmly gleaming, where i was greeted with a glass of wine, welcomed in the hopes that i would complete my shopping list by midnight, and stay for another drink. 

the last season i shopped there was the year of the towers.  the year that gift giving needed to be balm more than bounty.  my favorite object was a delicate, tiny, bejeweled hamsa hand on a thin silvery necklace.  i'd been introduced to the hamsa several months before at my very first seder (another night of beauty).  i fell in love with this charm, a hand that reached across not only judaism, but also christianity and islam.  it was all i wanted to fill my basket with.  i didn't care what religion my friends and coworkers ascribed to, whether they celebrated christmas or kwanzaa or hanukkah or the winter gleaming moon...it was my intention to buy every tiny hand i could afford, and decorate as many necks as i could with this small piece of great good luck. 

some loved it, some didn't. no, maybe that's not the best way to put it...some loved it, some were confused by it. a hamsa hand for christmas?  religion is a wide thing to me.  i grew up roman catholic, i was an altar girl in fact, but as the years went by, there seemed to be too much wonder out there for any one belief to be THE be-all-and-end-all.  there's a truth in everything, there is something to learn from everything.  so the gift made perfect sense to me. 

as much as i loved those benevolent baubles, i never bought one for myself.  though i stared longingly at the little boxes until they left for their new homes, holidays are for giving, non?  later, life found us in LA, escaping from the financial gray skies looming over the city, and when we returned, i found my favorite little store didn't weather that storm.  cyberspace was taking over. 

a few weeks ago, i got an email from michal golan studios that read just as warmly as the welcome in that beloved brick and mortar shop.  they'd seen my blog-- really seen it, to the point of applauding my Haphazard Use Of Capitalization-- and wondered if i'd like a pair of earrings, specifically to go with my version of rachel's brasilia dress, which they admired.  (heads up, retailers hoping to create relationships: that's how ya do it.) 

sadly, that stretch cotton went the way of the dodo, so i was invited to browse their website.  on my couch, but still!  with a glass of wine.   


when my eyes fell on this necklace, my heart skipped several beats.  as beautiful as that long ago gifted bauble, but even better...this tiny swavorski encrusted, beaded hamsa was attached to a rosary. WHAT GENIUS CROSS POLLINATION.  i've worn it almost every day since it landed on my doorstep--it was part of the inspiration for my duster coat.  it feels like so much more than a pretty trinket.  it feels like the best parts of all the religions around my neck.

am i waxing poetical?  let me climb down off my pulpit, no offense to trinkets, i like trinkets ever so much!!  the abundance of holi-days this past weekend seemed the right time to share this story.  if you'd like to see more, trinkets and holy art both, do hop over to michal's place.  there's all kinds of beauty there. i suggest a glass of rosé as your companion... especially if your religion of the moment is welcoming spring.  

44 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Miss Oona! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Oh, I love these little hands. What a comfort! What delight in all their sparkly loveliness. I think myself may need one. The universe is wide and in my father's house their are many mansions, no? xo

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    1. oh i love that saying. or do you call it a proverb? i could make it a mantra.

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  3. Ooooh, the close-up and the story has made this beauty even more lovely...

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  4. Marcy, you can wax poetic all day long and then some. Such a lovely and thoughtful post that honors the past, and lends optimism to the future. I'd say your hamsa is magic indeed!

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    1. thank you so much sue! it was a pleasure to babble about.

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  5. The hamsa isn't only a Jewish symbol. It is just a common middle eastern symbol worn by Jews and Muslims and according to Wiki predates Judaism, Christianity and Islam and yours is beautiful.

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    1. yes, i didn't say that very well. and the hand is always attributed to a woman-- fatima, mary, miriam...

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  6. What a lovely story to go with this beautiful piece of jewelry!

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  7. Beautiful story! I wear my hamsa almost every day.

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    1. mine is definitely getting a workout :)

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  8. What an homage to a gorgeous piece of jewelry - it does make the eyes smile! And it fits you perfectly - sits in just the right spot.

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    1. it really does, right over le heart :)

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  9. love this post!
    once i "stamped" a hamza hand on the door of of my apartment, with ultramarin color and my own hand :-)
    but the house got renovated in luxery style - so it´s gone and me too.
    thank you for remembering!

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    1. what a great idea! i used to have one hanging on our front door, ultramarine in fact.

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  10. Beautiful post :) And gorgeous necklace, it looks super good together with your coat (which is gorgeous as well!)

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  11. I love hams as and this one is very special

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    1. and i'm loving your looks at LA architecture. beauty everywhere!

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  12. I don't think I've ever posted on your blog, but I always enjoy seeing what you create. I had to tell you, however, that I was very touched by your sharing of today's story. Thank you. It's a lovely reminder.

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    1. thank you so much! i really enjoyed writing it, i'm glad you enjoyed reading it :)

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  13. That's ever so pretty, but I think I might find your Haphazard Use Of Capitalization and little hand-stitched one even more beautiful….even so grabs glass of rose and goes to explore…..

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    1. hahaa! i almost sent those little hand stitched ones out as prizes but then second guessed myself. mebbe i'll make a few more...

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  14. What a wonder-filled post! Thank you! The first baby quilt square I made had a hamsa hand appliqued onto it, and the mother loved it, nestled in amongst all the other sweet squares in the quilt. It's a powerful piece of imagery.

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    1. i love the way you put that!

      i must say, a baby quilt has been the ONLY quilting that's intrigued me, and yours sounds so lovely.

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  15. "there's a truth in everything, there is something to learn from everything." Those words are so true, so impactful. If we approach the world as gray instead of black and white ... our journey's are richer.

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    1. the world would be so boring if only one people were right.

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  16. i also love a hamsa - i love the way you've written about it. thank you for sharing this great story and great new shopping site. :-)

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  17. Well, this is a beautifully worded, heartwarming post. Gotta say, I've never paid much attention to Hamsas, but I didn't know much about them until I read this. Now I want one. (Advertiser's dream, moi?!). I also want a glass in my hand, and a fabulous local shop in which to browse, with said glass in hand. I love your description of that shop, by the way. I want to go to that shop and make new friends, spend money I don't have and hang out with cool people. Such a shame it's gone. Thanks for a great story! x

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    1. ha! suggestible! but they really are beautiful. aaaaand i think michal actually has a studio in town. probably BYOB (Bring Your Own But due to zoning issues you probably can't drink it while looking at beautiful things.)

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  18. That's one very clever and pretty rosary. I love how this hand came back to you ;)

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  19. This is so lovely (the hamsa and the story).

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  20. Reading this post will probably be the highlight of my day. I love your erratic babbling about dresses, but these almost poetic texts always stay with me.

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  21. I really love beautiful things with a story behind them, and this is definitely one of those - thank you for sharing - I'm glad the perfect hamsa came back to you; it was hamsa karma!! :D

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!