It is the character-filled tarnish that is acquired by precious surfaces as they age: patina; the accumulated changes of texture and colour, signifying the natural, even unavoidable, experience of life. Patina is a thing of beauty - proof that life has indeed had an impact over time. Look closely at the fine lines, the discoloration, the imperfections. What stories they tell!
I am thrilled to tell you more about a project I have been working on for the last many weeks. I am creating a fairy tale set inspired by a lovely group of vintage, foundling and handcrafted items. Each item has a story to tell, its own unique patina. It is up to us to take the time to appreciate the items' uniqueness, their flaws and their allure in order to learn their stories....
I also want to share with you the organization that 100% of the funds from the sale of this set will be donated to. Reeds of Hope is a grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit organization working on the ground in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Reeds of Hope supports vulnerable children in the war-torn region by meeting their physical, spiritual, and educational needs through meaningful in-country partnerships.
Currently, Reeds of Hope works with an orphanage that serves babies whose mothers have died (most in childbirth). Reeds of Hope provides life-giving, prohibitively expensive formula and dedicated care in the critical first year of life. Most children have families who want to care for them, if they possibly can, and the ultimate goal is family reunification and cultural preservation.
The poverty in this region is extreme, war is pervasive and displacement is significant. Thus, to attain the goal of family reunification, support of vulnerable first families and outreach to extended families and/or alternative local families is essential. Reeds of Hope is in the process of raising funds to provide training to orphanage staff on family reunification, support, and the alternative orphan care framework. They also plan to hire a social worker to provide family assessment services and seek community resources to support vulnerable families and orphan reunions.
I must also point out that Reeds of Hope pays the school fees of 77 children who have moved out of the orphanage and back with their families, promoting a tangible and positive impact on the future of the region.
The story of the Congo is deep, intricate and tragic. And yet, the indelible impact of that story has left the most beautiful patina on the country and its people.
“The Congo is not just blood and gore. It also has an incandescent, raw energy to it, a dogged hustle that can be seen in street-side hawkers and besuited ministers alike. This charm is not unlike that of America’s mythical Wild West, full of gunslingers, Bible-thumpers, prostitutes, street urchins, and rogue businessmen. This is the paradox of the Congo: Despite its tragic past, and probably in part due to the self-reliance and ingenuity resulting from state decay, it is one of the most alive places I know.” - Jason Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters
Please, if you can find the time, check out Reeds of Hope's website www.ReedsofHope.org. Also, you can explore the powerful writings of Holly Mulford, Reeds of Hope's founder, on her blog www.kitumaini.blogspot.com. I am proud to call Holly a friend. She is a beautiful person and a true inspiration.
I have quite a bit of work left to go on this set. Once completed, I will share more pictures and information here. The set will be available via auction. The winning bidder will receive a tax deductible receipt from Reeds of Hope for the full amount of the donation. See you soon!
(Click on thumbnails below to view full size photos)