I've said before that I think I can trace Gramma Ada's people to the western rim of the Carpathian mountains, which, compared to Tepes' roost, is a series of speed bumps parted by swiftly flowing rivers headed for the North Sea. My mom used to call me a Bohemian when I displeased her, "Just like your gramma Ada." But when it came to the heritage homework at the beginning of each school year, Gramma Ada was Bavarian. And, as it turns out Bavaria, Bohemia, East Germany, Hungaria and some part of Czechoslovakia have all claimed a particular piece of geography at one time or the other. This oft claimed land is where the Lords of Lauenstein put down roots and rebellions while fomenting their own brand of religious and republican resistance. This land, I suspect, is the genesis of my wild Bohemian heart. The draw of it, all these generations later, must be the tie that binds me to Gramma Ada.
I am constructing a costume for this Halloween. I have only one place to wear it that I know of, the Psychic Fair at Higher Self. But I think that I will wear the basic blouse often... especially as I loose weight. I am in the process of gathering materials for the embellishments. I spent the last two days in the bead aisles at our BB craft stores. The gypsy in me started drooling when she gotto Michael's. And when I reached out for something that was remarkably like the German/Bavarian silverwork from the 1500's in my History of Jewelery book, Gramma Ada stood next to me.
I know that sounds weird. I did not see, hear or touch her. Nor did I smell any weird floral essense as is commonly described. What it was was a presence, silent but aching with the desire to tell me her stories. How do I know it was Gramma Ada? With each piece I was drawn to that is outside of the style I normally choose for myself I felt connected. And the piece brought images to my mind from so far back in the 1900's that I could not possibly have been told about them by my mom. The impression my empathic little sefl had was the start of a story that began with, "I had something like this as a girl." or "My Aunt so and so used to wear _________ like this." I sensed an appreciation for a color and texture of fabric, for a place in the woods, a shop along the riverside in Hamburg or Hannover [fachwerk is a dead give away that you're in a German town]. I also had the impression that a finished piece in her mind was being held up to me for my approval.
In the eeriest part of this spiritual connectivity experience to date, I did to myself what I've done to my brother. I made a statement to myself, spoken with abslute sureity regarding the decision process. One of the product lines is composed of keepsake pendants. These are constructed like the epoxy pieces Lynne Perrella and Tim Holtz make. The metal plate has a narrow bevel like a picture frame, a piece of ephemera is cut to shape and placed on the bottom then a resin is used to fill in the piece. Anything can be "preserved under glass" like this and it makes an attractive cabachon that is less expensive and more believeably attained than a cab of semi precious stone would be. The aisle was full of eye candy. My hands reached for all sorts of things. Then my inner voice, the one that talks to me from Nieve's perspective, said "You need to have a story for each piece. Be selective. Be sure you can tell the story that goes with it." I put a beautiful but uninspired piece back on its hanger. My voice then said, "You've been all over the world," I was looking at a decidedly Middle Eastern/Turkish (not Ottoman) piece of scroll work, "Yes, you've been here [Islamic world]. You've been everywhere." I reached for Asian pieces, began to collect charms of bizzarre creatures; griffin, chinese dragon, seahorse & thought back to the St. George lion I found at JoAnns. And as I moved form one intriguing piece to the other, I felt the voice start to tell a story. Well it wnate to tell a story but I couldn't stand still long enough.
I had so many ideas running through my head of how Iwould present each piece in the costume. My type A mind was trying to make its image of me in costume picture perfect and flattering rather than organic. And just as I was virtually trying on piece after layered piece, rejecting one and replacing it, the voice and Gramma Ada chastized me with the same word. "Organic. A gypsy doesn't plan her look. She wears her collection." I have to look like I've been collecting for a while now. Ridiculous, I thought. This is the most farcical conversation I have had to date. So I left with my parts to construct the belt and went to Aroma's to do some research.
The first site I landed on was for Gypsies around the world to connect that offered advice on how to gather and present a renfaire gypsy costume authentically. And that site said this much: if I want brocades I'd better have a damn good reason for having expensive material in any amount because your guild will chew your arse. And on another site, one I will book mark, the author said that ephemera and jewelery is gathered, scraps and bits get attached because the gypsy has no where to store her possessions other than on her person. For those of you keeping score at home, VIMH 2 : Me 0. Gotta love those stats.