Morocco, je t’aime

Several years ago, I traveled to Morocco and it made a profound impact on my life.  It was a “wow!” moment for me.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

It’s so different than anything I’d ever seen, most notably, the architecture. Morocco is an Islamic country and in Islam, it is believed that making things beautiful brings one closer to God. The tile work on buildings, the intricate patterns hand painted on to everyday items such as plates and cups, the brightly painted buildings. Special attention is given to ceilings because it’s closer to God. The thing that makes it even more special to me is that most of it is still crafted by hand.

While I do have great appreciation for modernism, I also love lots of colour and embellishment.

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My Inspiration

I had a little trouble writing this week’s post. I wasn’t feeling well and I have a lot stress in my life right now. Didn’t feel like being grateful or even getting out of bed until I came across this photo and it became clear that I needed to get off my ass.

Donar Reiskoffer, the copyright holder of this work via Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Spice market in Morocco

This picture reminded me of my trip to Morocco (more on that in an upcoming post). But more importantly, it’s the inspiration for the name of my jewelry business, Baharat Jewels – Spice Up Your Style. Baharat is the Arabic word for spice. My jewelry is inspired by colors and textures of Middle Eastern, Islamic and SE Asian cultures.

Once I had the concept, my extremely talented graphic designer, Nicole Marshall helped translate my vision into reality by creating this logo. It’s been at least 6 months since this was created and I’m still sooo excited about it! I have to remember this feeling when I’m down and feeling like my work is in vain. Ok, I’m too excited to keep writing – gonna get to work!

Baharat Jewels logo

When Hobbies Collide

As those of you who have a hobby knows, there is no such thing as having one hobby. Most of us dabble in 2, 3 or more creative pursuits.

In addition to creating jewelry, I like to crochet/knit, make greeting cards/invitations with rubber stamps, ribbon & decorative papers, sew, cake decorating and making “chocolate” candy. It always starts with the intention of “making things to sell.”

We hobbyists continually accumulate the necessary “tools of the trade” whether or not we have a particular project in mind. As a friend of mine justifies this by saying, “if you don’t have it, you can’t use it.”

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In my case, last weekend I attended Vogue Knitting Live, an annual 2-day smorgasbord for those addicted to the needle. Knitting needles and crochet hooks that is.

There were close to 100 vendors selling everything one needs (or not) to satisfy their craving and classes to learn new techniques including a relatively new obsession called arm knitting.

arm knitting

It makes me happy that this art form has gained so much popularity since the beginning of this century. Sadly, when I was a kid and was interested in this, it was considered very uncool. I didn’t know anyone who knew how to knit/crochet or was interested in learning how.

The coolest thing I saw was “knitted” glass objects by Carol Milne. I found this particularly interesting because she uses a jewelry making technique called “lost wax casting” to make these objects. I love that she was able to combine techniques from completely different disciplines to create unique art.  Please visit her website and see her process.

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