Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hats Off to the New Year!

It is a crisp, clear night, here in the hills.
A fresh layer of snow covers the now frozen ground and softly reflects the waxing moon.
The fire cracks and pops in the woodstove from still damp wood, lately gathered in.
The holidays are behind us, a new year has been delivered and it is back to work.
My first project involves documenting a charming assortment of headdresses and hats from tribal peoples around the world.
Before me lay peaked caps with long trains sewn from black cotton and lavishly embroidered in red, gold and green silk floss. Satin stitch and petit-point create the Tree of Life, solar wheels and stylized ram’s horns, all vitality symbols, all charms for the new life that will wear them.
These handsome headdresses are made by mothers in Kohistan, N. Pakistan. The long train protects their newborns from the chill winds and the symbols welcome them to this world with hopes for a strong and vital life-force. Supplementing the embroidered designs are old coins, tiny white seed beads, metal circular charms and shiny buttons to deflect misfortune and attract wealth and prosperity.
I marvel at the creativity and skill of their makers and think of the love that went into each stitch and collected ornament of this traditional tribal culture now living in the 21st Century.
New life, new beginnings, New Year…
May their world and ours be blessed in all the days to come.

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