Recently I have been thinking a lot about why I make jewelry. Sometimes it feels like such a materialistic pursuit and career, and I have days when I struggle with that. I have days when the weight of my choices and the weight of the choices of the world feels like it is weighing down upon me and I am crushed under it, unable to breathe or find relief. But then I come back to center and remind myself that I started creating jewelry because I love sharing something personal that I have created from my heart with others. I have loved doing it since I was a little girl. Birthdays and holidays came and all I really wanted to give my friends and family were things I had made. I started out beading, and when I put love and creative energy into a piece I was making, no matter how it turned out, it brought me great joy, and I hoped it would bring it's receiver that same joy. I knew I was putting love into something that I was going to be able to share, and I loved that.
When Christy and I started House of Alaia it was somewhat of a side-project for both of us. It was born in a place of heart but also a place of pain. We were both transitioning. I had been doing a lot of production work for other people and it was emotionally and spiritually draining. I really needed to get back to myself. So Christy and I spent a few afternoons talking about symbolism, and what resonated with us.
One of the first symbols we used was the LOTUS. The lotus flower symbolizes overcoming difficulties to find peace. Living in Bali, the lotus flower grows everywhere, and it is a very important symbol in the Hindu tradition, as it is in most eastern spiritual philosophies. Lotus flowers begin as seeds in muddy waters. The stem grows up through the dark, cloudy water and eventually makes it through and the bud rises up above the surface of the water. Once it has risen above the surface, only then does it bloom. It remains rooted in the mud, but an immaculate bloom reveals itself suspended above the water's surface, free.
In eastern philosophies the muddy waters symbolize the material world. The growth of a lotus flower symbolizes the growth of a human spirit. One's spirit is nurtured and challenged by life and the material world, and then grows strong because of one's struggles in the world. Spirit is then able to rise up above suffering to become free. It remains connected to and able to see that suffering is actually a great source of strength and creation.
I suffer from depression often, and it is the lotus flower symbol which brings me back to myself, brings me back from the darkness, and reminds me that even the darkness is a part of myself, a part of the world, a part of spirit that I can love. It helps me grow.
The lotus flower collection arose from this relationship I have with myself and with spirit, and the profound peace brought to me whenever I am reminded of the journey of the lotus flower.
In beauty may we all walk,