II. A NEW SEED IS PLANTED
Nature and art are alike in that they both have their seasons of famine versus plenty. It is a fluid energy – sometimes it is the medium that changes and at others, it is the intensity, the waxing and waning of a mysterious force. What stimulates growth one day might hinder it the next. Turmoil and adversity are supposed to be the great fertilizing agents for profound artistic achievements, and in December of 2014, I was experiencing a medium level of discomfort as I browsed the aisles of the Newburgh Vintage Emporium.
When I moved out of the city, I had left behind a toxic roommate situation, and I was still haunted by the tension like a phantom limb. I was looking for some magical object to elevate my mood, a beacon of color and light amidst the blanket of grey slush that extended as far as the eye could see. You may not be able to buy lasting happiness, but I was convinced that the right object would provide temporary relief for my feelings of ennui.
After pacing the aisles that had been carefully curated, I settled on a leather bracelet that featured hardware from an antique dresser, something the “Mother of Dragons” might wear, and a headband. Both were made by local artisans, and the hair accessory was designed by Celia Panella, using antique lace and luminescent beads. Aside from the occasional feathered concoction, my first thought was, “am I the type of person who even wears headbands?” Looking back at old photographs, the answer to that question seems to be “yes.”
And when I took a closer look at how it was constructed, I realized that I could make my own. So while it may not have possessed any supernatural powers, the headband turned out to be the exact object I had been looking for.
Around the same time as this sartorial discovery, I took a workshop at Golden Bridge Yoga in lower Manhattan. If there ever was such a thing as an instruction manual for being human, the seemingly ageless guru had it in her possession. For three and a half hours, the stunning, serene, and occasionally humorous, Siri Sat Kaur led us through a series of exercises, while explaining their intended effects. Among her morsels of lesser known wisdom, was her description of the energetic aura that emanates from the top of the head, where the crown chakra is located. In the same spot that I had been wearing my new hair accessory, artists have been painting halos to distinguish the sacred figures in religious paintings.
Another allusion to that same energy are the jeweled tiaras that have been worn by monarchs for centuries, as symbols that their positions have been bestowed upon them by the highest power. But according to the yogic tradition, the “light body” is not strictly the province of the elite or enlightened. It is the source of “intuitive knowing,” which is possible for all human beings to achieve. And intuition is the seed of all creative inspiration, even if your conscious mind can't yet see the full scope of what your muse is aiming to achieve.
I started with a single headband design, just to see if it would work, and discovered a whole new wellspring of ideas. I knew I had tapped into something of value when my mother changed her attitude from “oh, I don’t wear headbands,” to claiming multiple pieces for herself.
She began digging into her own personal trove for items that I could incorporate into my designs. My dad then asked for a male version…
And this whole experiment, which has turned into a business, has reminded me of why I wanted to be a designer in the first place – to create wearable art that reflects the beauty and mystery of the natural world.