Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week of Thanks: Day 5

I couldn't possibly have a Week of Thanks without taking the time to say how incredibly thankful I am for my family. So much of my everyday inspiration is drawn from memories I've held onto from when I was a child, memories of my grandma teaching me how to embroider, of my mom stringing beads on a loom, or of my dad carving at or burning one thing or another.

My grandma was always keeping me busy with something creative. She showed me how to make animals out of beads, jewelry out of safety pins, dream-catchers, wind-spinners, and so many different projects that I could do if I put my heart into it. When I moved away, she would send me jewelry that I could take apart and make into other pieces. More recently, she sent me a vast array of buttons to add to my ever-growing collection. She did so much for me just by showing me that I could make things and giving me things to make with, and I'm thankful to have people like her in my life to support me in all of my crafty endeavors!

My dad was very much focused on our Native American heritage. In his spare time, he loved recreating the weapons, clothing, peace pipes, and decorum of our forefathers, and eventually he began building this passion into his own creative business from home. He would take the family to Pow-wows and buy cassette tapes of chanting, drumming natives. He loved to hunt and would use every piece of an animal that we didn't eat in his crafts. He made staves with brightly painted skulls mounted atop them, handbags out of turtle shells, and tanned hides from his own kills to make into leather shirts and dresses. We would wear these outfits in old-fashioned family photos taken in front of our authentic-looking teepee, which he also made. He taught me how to draw inspiration from the elements and how to protect myself from them.

Looking back, it seems strange that it took me so long to realize that this is the path I want to take with my life. I had never imagined following in my father's footsteps in such a way, and truly this was not my intention while planning my business. Since making this connection, I'm glad to know that I would have so much in common with my dad were he alive today. There were times in life after my father and other family members passed that I looked back and wondered if maybe I hadn't become a person that I'd like them to know. I'm thankful now that I believe I've become someone they would be proud of, and it's an honor to carry these memories with me in everything that I do.

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