Monday, August 9, 2010

Creating a Gift

I’ve just heard from my friend Melissa, known to most of the online world as Dr Snit that she received the bracelet I’ve spent the last several months (off and on) designing and working on as a special gift for her. I’vewanted to blog about it for some time, in part to share a little bit about Melissa with the world, and in part to express the thoughts and sentiments that went into designing this bracelet.

Just to give you some context, I met Melissa on Facebook a couple of years ago via a little application called (fluff)friends. Unlike many of my online friends I have since had the fortune to actually meet her and her adorable little doggy in person. (Or, ok, full disclosure, she was determined enough to push me not to be too shy to give meeting up in person a shot!)

She is a comedian, writer, geek, poet, lifelong student, improv-er, and a friend and supporter to many people near and far Since meeting her, I’ve also seen her living with a seemingly endless parade of life-changing chronic and auto-immune illnesses. She has become an active advocate and supporter of others coping with similar illnesses through her writing and social networking, including her blog Living With Lupus-But Dying of Everything Else, and her Chronic Snarkopolist column on the Dear Thyroid website. Visit her links if you're interested in a very unique, open, raw, and real portrait of a person living with lupus and auto-immune thyroid illness. Not to go any farther into the most personal details, let's just say she’s been having a difficult year. Beyond trying to be an emotional support when possible, I really wanted to send something tangible her way, a token, that would let her symbolically carry the support of friends with her, to pull out when she is sad, or lonely. To that end, I spent a long (some might say an insane amount) time choosing just the right materials for this piece.
Jade animals: I’ve been told that the year 2010 has the potential to be rocky for those, like Melissa, who were born under the Chinese sign of the tiger. To counteract that, I have included jade versions of the tiger’s ‘allies’ (the horse and dog) and ‘secret friend’(the pig or boar) as focal pieces in the bracelet.
Tiger’s eye: Tiger’s eye used in jewelry has been thought to bring good luck and protection from the evil eye. It also works as a grounding stone to bring calm and clear thinking. It is also supposed to alleviate physical pain and stomach problems. The tiger is also a very meaningful animal for Melissa. I love tiger’s eye, and bought these beautiful round tiger’s eye beads at a little bead store in Connecticut, especially for this project.
Copper: Copper has often been used as a healing metal, and some sources say it is especially good for arthritis, rheumatism, and blood or metabolic disorders. Copper is also thought to help enhance the healing effect of other stones. For this project I used beautiful bright red-orange copper magnet wire (a type of enamel-coated copper wire normally used for electrical applications) that I found on etsy to make the beaded links. I made the bracelet extendable with beautiful solid copper jump rings, a lobster claw clasp, and a short length of chain (and some copper advice) from A Beaded Affair. I’d also like to give some appreciation to Bailey Belle for copper advice and support via twitter.

The final element of the bracelet is the Hamsa, or Hand of Miriam: The hamsa has meaning in Jewish (especially Sephardic) culture, as well as some Middle Eastern or North African cultures. It is used to ward off the evil eye, and is supposed draw positive energy, happiness, riches, and health. It is often hung in the home or worn as a charm or amulet. Aside from its obvious positive and protective meaning, its relationship to Jewish culture symbolizes one of the many connections I feel with Melissa.
After months of choosing and designing just the right elements, and searching for the actual pieces, this bracelet has finally come to life and been delivered. This is why I so love making individual gifts, even when the specific meanings behind them are not as clear as this one. While I don’t believe that certain stones or materials truly have inherent ‘magical healing powers,’ as a student of psychology I believe that materials in a human or social context have meanings, that gifts, tokens and symbols can have a psychological and emotional effect, and that the mind and emotions have an effect on physical well-being. I sincerely hope this bracelet will help bring her joy, healing, and support. <3

Copyright 2010. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo


  1. I love this so much. I am so deeply grateful for this beautiful lovely gift! How do I deserve friendship so great as yours I do not know. The bracelet is perfect! It fits as though you measured it just for my wrist! And The colors are AMAZING. I love the greens of the jade and how they perfectly complement the copper. And you KNOW I love the hamsa. The hand of Miriam is SO POWERFUL to me. I love it. I love everything about this. I feel so loved and so connected. Thank you. Thank you for the beautiful wonderful lovingly made gift.

    I am truly humbled to have a friend as thoughtful and loving as you.


  2. the bracelet is really lovely <3

  3. Most of the time I tweet copper wire jewelry pieces made by artists all over the net. If you have copper in your post, my search engine picks it up and if I like the piece I re-tweet it. Win-win, you get re-tweeted and then you might follow me and visit my shop. Once in a while I get to help someone with a copper project. I am really honored to have met you and so glad I was able to help with this very special project. It turned out beautifully and has such loving sentiment attached to it. The energy you imbued this piece with surely can't help but make your friend feel better every time she wears it. It's a wonderful tribute to your caring friendship.

  4. I have ben talking to Melissa through Twitter for some time now, and she is a real trip! I read about the gift of the bracelet through her blog and came here to see it. I got chills reading about it. Wow. Such a neat, thoughtful gift from a friend. Excellent. Thanks for sharing all of this information, and especially for sharing your love for a friend.

  5. I came by way of the wonderful DR. Snit. You are without a doubt a most beautiful breath of fresh air. Brava to you for standing strong right beside your friend. The illness we deal with steals so much from us & yes, our friends too. I had friend for several years who one day up and decided I had a broken spirit simply because I must vent when the need arises about this dreadful disease. Sometimes it's once a day, once a week or once month but I must vent. To know a fellow lupie has found proverbial gold in another human being helps me to hold hope I won't loose my other friends or new ones won't walk away.

    As far as your bracelet, beautiful. It does not matter if you do not believe in the stones or metals as a healy property. It matters when you believe it for your friend to hold hope. Maybe the gesture alone will lift her on a dark day. YOU, you are wonderful.

    Thank you for having me.



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