Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Taking SHAPE

SHAPE campus at what was originally Sandy Bay Primary school.

SHAPE, Saint Helena Active Participation in Enterprise, was birthed about 11 years ago, by a couple of Saint Helenians and modeled after the Soltane schools. It was a humble beginning with a few students and directors learning on they go. There is great pride taken, as it should be, that now 20 or so disabled adults and receive education, encouragement, job training and a variety of services three days per week.  In that time fifteen people have “graduated” and moved on to independent employment. 

We're helping in a variety of ways, although I've mainly been in the craft room and Kyle is working on two murals. We research craft methods/patterns, discuss design and help source supplies as getting stuff from the outside world on such a remote island is a task unto itself. We chat and encourage and drink tea. Oh yes, always tea.

Samuel has spent almost all of his time outside helping with the farming – pruning banana trees, planting potatoes, harvesting chow chow – all of which is taken home by students or sold to help support the center. (For a kid who wants to be a farmer this is like tropical, muddy heaven.)

The craft room.

Bangle bracelets that I designed using one of SHAPE's materials of choice, cereal boxes.

Banana and potatoes all in the same garden!
The needs of of students, or trainees as they are called, are varied. While some were born severely neurologically and or physically disabled, others suffered a stroke as an adult or were the victim of incorrect misdiagnosis of disease and subsequent lack of proper medical treatment.

Some people may wonder if this sort of environment is depressing – oh for sure it could be. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I fully think about the limitations of the students, what their daily lives must be like, what their families lives must be like. And for the tireless employees who are there 5 days per week no doubt there can be great stress and sadness. 

But day to day, SHAPE is mostly a place of relationship, laughter, amazing kindness and opportunity to find meaning. Daily I am challenged to think differently about how I act and speak and think about myself and my own problems. I hope I am giving to them as much as they are giving to me.

SHAPE's recycled paper, illustrations added by Jeannie, beads rolled by me = teamwork! She and I are really proud of these babies. 

Jeannie can only use one arm but she amazes me by making bracelets and even earrings. Here she's laying out a necklace with beads she and I made together. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Recycled Paper Jewelry

Its now been over a month since we left home and it will be another month until we return. I have to resist the temptation to fret over all the things we'd like to do but might not have time for on this trip. 

I've been getting up early in the morning, when there is less competing for my attention,
to work on some of my own paper jewelry using SHAPE's recycled paper. I don't typically work this early at home but I'm considering starting to try getting into the studio at 5:30 – 6:00am every day. Will I be able to do it or will obligations, distractions and old habits creep back in?

At any I am now. I spread everything across the kitchen table and watch through the open door as the sun comes up over the house and hits the ocean. 

I'll be selling one of the pieces I've created while here with all money going to SHAPE. It will most likely be a necklace but I'm working on some brooches as well. My shops are closed so I'm trying to work out a way the funds will go right to SHAPE's account. Hope to have that sorted by next week.

Happy Monday!

I brought a small box of simple tools with me - a small paper cutter would have been nice too. Maybe next time....

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Found Jewelry

Saint Helena is inspiration at every turn for me and I'd love to have more time for jewelry in situ, as I call it.
Rocks and lichen on the way back from a rocky coastal walk.

I can't plan it, I can only “expect”. In some situations it has to happen quickly (like today when I was making the banana leaf necklace it had started to rain). For some ridiculous reason I enjoy that sense of urgency. The immediacy feels more like play to me - no fumbling with clasps or worrying about weight - just design in the moment.

Banana leaf trimmings from our garden.

Woodland finds from High Hill

Tumbled rocks from Sandy Bay Beach

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

They say inspiration is everywhere. While I'm sure that is true I seem to find it more some places than others.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Far out in the South Atlantic

Seventeen days since leaving home, just over a week since arriving to Saint Helena. When you are are really, really here as the nearest land is an even smaller island 2 days away by sea and the east coast of Africa is 1200 miles to the east.

Impromptu jewelry design on the beach in Cape Town.

Our flight (BWI to JFK to OR Tambo to CPT) was long but uneventful. Thats all you can really ask for in a 24 hr. economy class flight really, right? Uneventful. Our time in Cape Town was relaxing ( I really like Cape Town...I wish it wasn't so dangerous) but rainy. They need the rain so desperately though.

Deck of the RMS in the early morning.

Next - five day sea journey with calm seas, far too much delicious food and ,as always, interesting company. I must admit the sea sickness patches which do their job well also make me a bit dopey but non the less I always find the assortment of passengers on the Royal Mail Ship Saint Helena a bit like the UN. Saint Helenians traveling home, an Australian travel writer, The Bishop of the South Atlantic for the Roman Catholic Church...we are always the least traveled of the bunch.

Arriving Saint Helena 7:45am.

Our rental house is older this time, built fifty some years ago in the traditional Saint style with the bathroom accessed via the veranda. Our sweeping sea view faces directly west. Every sunset captivates me.

Our home while here. 

Our settling in has been smoother and easier this time. Much is familiar but most importantly friends welcomed us back just like we had only been gone a couple days. Sure there are many cultural differences but when you get down to it, people are really so very much the same. That has struck me so profoundly this time.

Looking north from The Peaks. Flagstaff is the pointy hill on the left. The barn which is volcanic formation is on the right. 

Thus far there's been a good bit of nesting, visiting, hikes and walks. We just started volunteering at SHAPE yesterday and now perhaps life with settle into a bit of a rhythm. 

Ever sunset is a marvel.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shops closing soon and

Thanks to everyone who made purchases during the past week and to everyone who has taken the time to reach out with kind and encouraging words regarding my upcoming trip to Saint Helena! You guys are wonderful! 

Both my shops, the regular website and my Etsy shop, will be closing in less than 48 hours and as it stands now they will be closed until the end of the year. If there's any piece you've been interested in, now's the time.  I expect the next six months to be a period of growth as I learn and explore new materials. No doubt older designs will be culled in the process. 

All the earrings here are from my one of a kind Redemption Series made from recycled polymer. There a little smaller than some of my pieces, very approachable, very light in weight. I've marked then all down by $10 - no coupon code needed.

All purchases will be shipped before I leave for Saint Helena of course and you will still be able to reach me if you ever have any questions or concerns about your jewelry as my website and email will remain active.

Have a great week! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Sale that I almost forgot

Time is getting away from me as I squeeze in all I have to accomplish before we leave in just two short weeks.  Admittedly its easier than for our first trip to Saint Helena nine years ago (there'll be no Legos to pack this time)  but in the flurry of activity I almost forgot to announced my Pre-hiatus Sale!

Use Coupon code Summer20 in my Etsy shop now through May 30 for 20% off total purchases, jewelry and beads, no minimum purchase.

 Everything will ship asap and my shop will close May 31 through the end of the year.