The Call to Create

I have a beaded rock. Now that’s not something everyone has and I’m pleased to own one. It’s a small rock, about the size of a wild bird egg but thicker in the middle. In its old life, it was a smooth river washed pebble of unknown color.

Now, it’s tightly covered with a new skin of beads in shades of sky and water with a star burst on each side, white in the center and milky spider veins. The design is intricately worked of seed beads in peyote stitch. The beginning and end are well hidden so I can only guess they are in the centers of the stars. The beader was an expert.

It had to have taken hours of exertion to bead this rock. Why would someone spend the time, effort and materials to cover a common rock that could be tossed away without another thought? I suspect the answer is deeper than the value or labor involved.

Humankind has been applying ornament to themselves, their tools and their environment for longer than recorded time. Even in the dangerous and uncertain times of our prehistory, we decorated and beautified our world. We obeyed a command, a whisper from our soul.

The craftswoman who made this rock heard and listened to that primal call to something more than ourselves. She used her time and her spirit and her hands to make something beautifully crafted. It’s an example of decoration for its own sake – there is no function here other than to please the maker and the beholder.

When she gave it to me, she was clear that not everyone got a beaded rock. She told me, “I’m giving this to you because you understand why someone would bead a rock.”

I do understand. I understand that we all hear the call of ornament, that craft is its servant and that we are driven to decorate. I’m honored to hold this gift of beauty and spirit in my hand.

How do you answer the call to create? Share some of your favorite things in the comments.