Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jewelry and Storytelling

One of the tips you often hear from indie biz and handmade promoters is to tell (and sell) a story. And with good reason! Aren't our most favored possessions, the ones we really and truly cherish, storied items?

For example, one of my favorite pieces of jewelry that I've ever received has a few different stories behind it! Even if none of them are particularly geeky stories (unless Finnish mythology is geeky?).

Kalevala jewelry
My Kalevala necklace

First of all, it was a Christmas gift from my nearly-mother-in-law in 2007 or so. She bought it on a trip she took to Finland to study felting (she has a farm with lots of very very cute sheep and therefore LOTS of wool). How cool is that? I live on the other side of the globe from Finland (at the moment), I wouldn't normally have anything Finnish in my jewelry box. And it's a piece that will always make me think of her and her sheep and her thoughtful consideration & kindness long after she's gone.

Finland Map Pocket Mirror
Finland Map Pocket Mirror by LiteraryTease

Second of all, the design itself (cast in bronze) is based on a figure from the Kalevala, a collection of Finnish folklore and epic poetry. The two horses' heads represent all kinds of duality, but most importantly they keep watch over the past and the future. The bells that dangle are supposed to scare away evil spirits. Put the whole thing together and it's a protective talisman/good luck charm.

Despite my inclinations towards science, I will totally confess to being a wee bit superstitious and "frou-frou." I wear this necklace whenever I travel, or on occasions where I need a bit of extra good juju. If nothing else, it's a beautiful reminder of someone's love and thoughtful consideration of me. So it's a necklace that's been on a couple adventures!

Adventure Time pins Pande
Adventure Time with Finn & Jake Pins by Pande

My favorite adventure was one in Korea—the third story of this necklace. It was a Saturday, and at that point in my life in Korea, I spent my Saturdays making merry in Hongdae, the party district of Seoul. (I would like to point out that this exhausted me after just six weeks and did not characterize my normal behavior over the entire year!) The cast of characters in this story aside from myself included a Korean girl and a Chinese-Canadian girl, with special guest appearances from drunk Americans and Koreans. The Korean girl in question had been having a little too much fun that night. By four or five in the morning, she was passed out and clearly not on her best game. The Chinese-Canadian girl and I managed to get her out of the club and on to the sidewalk and watched over her while we figured out what to do.

We made quite the spectacle outside. A particularly belligerent Korean twentysomething—one who had been feeding her drinks for most of the night—hung around with hooded eyes, waiting for her to come out of it. Herds of Americans done partying for the night stumbled by and stared. A couple of the drunker ones asked us what we were doing. One such group seemed surprised at our altruism.

"What? You're going to stay here and take care of her?"

"Look at her necklace," their companion slurred, "of course she's going to take care of her!"

Of course by now you all know the necklace in question. :)

Mojo Bag BlackCatCurio
Sword and Shield Protection Mojo Bag from BlackCatCurio

I didn't press the fellow on just what the heck he meant by that as he and his gang stumbled away towards the subway, but it does speak to the appeal, power—and dare I say magic? ;)—of a good story; whether that story is one we tell, or hear, or of which we only catch faint glimpses and glimmers.

What's the story behind one of your cherished possessions?

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