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Free As the Light

Carnelian Baby Bracelet

Our monsoon season is already here, although we have seen precious little rain from it. What we do have, as is typical of these weeks and months, is an abundance of ethereal light.

In this place, the elements are their own spirits, free and fully animated beings that dance to the drum of the earth’s own heart. And while the world commonly numbers the elements four (earth, air, fire, water, with additional variation among Asian cultures), we who live here know that the wind and the light are their own fully articulated elemental powers, too, spirits with the freedom to do and act and be as they will.

The clouds will come later, but for now, our world is washed by bright golden light, a yet-youthful day born of a red sun. The light itself will lighten as Father Sun makes his journey across the sky, the gold dancing itself into shades of pure silver; by afternoon, blue-violet clouds will move in to mask its glow here and there. And by the time the day is old, and it and Father Sun descend together to their rest, their light will be red once again.

I had already planed to feature this work today, but given the brilliance of this not-quite-summer morning, it seems especially fitting. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Born of a Red Sun Cuff Bracelet

We are peoples born of a red sun. Wings honors its life-giving, life-sustaining power with three slender strands of silver braided together, flowing outward from a fiery carnelian orb. The outer strands are formed of slim lengths of half-round wire stretched gently outward at the center and bisected by a delicate strand of twisted silver, all three soldered securely together at either end. The outer bands are stamped with tiny wingéd beings that fly to the point where the band curves around the wrist, below which and extending to the ends are chased lightning patterns, summoning the imagery of those who hold the power of the storm. At the center, a glossy oval carnelian cabochon, all blood-red translucent fire, rests solidly in a saw-toothed bezel. At five inches in overall length, the bracelet is sized appropriately for small-wristed adults, youth, and children. Band is a half-inch across at the widest point; carnelian cabochon is a half-inch long by 3/8″ across at the widest point.

Sterling silver; carnelian
$425 + shipping, handling, and insurance

So much of Native jewelry is big and bold, and that is fitting. But for those of us with small, narrow bones, such pieces are often bulky and heavy, not always comfortable to wear. Adornment can be freeing, but when it becomes distracting, it weighs one down instead. But a cuff like this manages to be just as bold, and just as bound up with our indigenous identities, as any larger work. Its shape and shade summon a spirit like our own, people born of a red sun, while its featherweight form dances like the light.

For us, a piece like this is a reminder of who we are — and that, whatever the season or circumstance, our spirits remain free as the light.

~ Aji







All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owners.

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error: All content copyright Wings & Aji; all rights reserved. Copying or any other use prohibited without the express written consent of the owners.