Friday, January 29, 2010

Monday Member Meet & Greet - Laude Arts and Gifts

Name:  Linda
Where you live/grew up: Family:
Although I now live in Texas, I grew up in New England.  I have lived in several different parts of the country and while I have loved them all, New England is home.  I guess you can take the Yankee out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the Yankee!  LOL  I am currently single, no children...other than my two kitties named Ambush and Scooter.

How did you get started making rosaries?
I can't say exactly how it all started, but a couple of years ago, I suddenly felt that I wanted to learn how to make rosaries.  Fortunately, I had a friend who was willing to teach me.  I am so grateful to her for her patience and skill and for allowing me to use her materials.   My rosaries and my business have been a Godsend and none of it would have been possible without her gift of time and talent to me.  It has been a meaningful lesson to me on the importance of community and the need we have for other Christians in our lives.  None of us can get thru this life alone.  

How has your faith played a role in your rosary making?
Making rosaries is something that grew out of my faith and I doubt that I would be making them if I didn't have faith.  From early childhood, prayer has been central to my relationship with the Lord.  It is how I communicate with Him and He with me.  It is how we spend time together.  For me, prayer has always been more than just sitting or kneeling for a specified time.  It is more of an awareness of the Presence of God that I try to carry with me through out the day.  I have to confess that I'm not always successful doing that...but that's the goal!    I have always been drawn to contemplative prayer and I find that praying the rosary is conducive to that type of prayer.  I guess because of all this it just seemed natural to move from praying the rosary to making rosaries. 

What is your relationship to the Blessed Mother?  Has it always been this way?
I am a convert and as a small child growing up in the Methodist church, I was taught that praying to Mary (and the saints) was idolatry.  The last thing I ever expected to have in my life was a relationship with our Blessed Mother. 
To try and make a long story short,  my conversion experience took place mostly at LaSalette Shrine in MA.  This happened over the course of a year.  While my prayers at that time were focused on our Lord, I began to notice a very subtle, gentle Presence when I went to the Shrine.  It took me a while to realize that Presence was Mary.  One of my most profound spiritual experiences happened when I came to the realization that all this time, Mary had been caring for my son who died shortly after he was born.   Soon after that, I discovered that she is the loving Mother I had always wanted and that she had nurtured me through a very difficult childhood.   It didn't seem to matter to her that, at the time, I thought she was more of an idol than anything else.  She just knew I needed her and like a loving Mom, she responded.   
I think trying to explain a relationship with Mary to non-Catholics is the hardest thing to do.  I find the most effective thing I can say to people is to tell them that if they ask Mary to reveal herself to them, she will!  Isn't that great? 

Where do you see your rosary business going?
Right now, I don't know where my rosary business is going.   With the economy in such bad shape, I find that I have almost no sales.   Financially, I am not in a position to continue making rosaries if they do not sell.  I am praying that the Lord will give me some direction on what He wants me to do.  It may be that He wants me to stop making rosaries.  That would break my heart.  However, if that's the case, then I believe that He will lead me to something that would be even more satisfying to me.

Are there any new things you'd like to make?
I am always looking for new ideas.   I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and lately, I have found myself thinking that I am not using the talent that God gave me to it's fullest extent.  Right now, I am exploring the idea of making shrines.  Also, since icons have always played an important role in my faith, I find myself thinking that I would like to learn how to write icons. 
Another new avenue for me is that I plan to start offering some of my photography for sale in my Etsy shop.  If it's successful, I may open another Etsy shop just for photography.  I already have the name for the will be called "Eye Believe"!   In all my endeavors, it is my prayer that whatever I make will give glory to God will serve as a witness to others.

Share a special rosary story of one that you sold/gave away:
I don't have any special story about a rosary that I sold or gave away.  However, my buyers often tell me how they are going to use one of my rosaries for a special occasion of some sort.  At that point, I feel blessed that in some small way, I have been allowed to participate in an important event / experience in their lives.

Give one reason why someone should buy your handmade rosary over a rosary purchased in a store:
I try to pray while I am making my rosaries.  When I do this, I discover that the different elements of the rosary...beads...eye pins..chain...etc, start to become more than the sum total of the parts.  It's as though they begin to take on a life of their own.  I feel they become imbued with the Holy Spirit and they become elements of prayer.  Because of this, I believe the Lord will use the rosary as a vehicle to draw whoever buys it closer to Himself.  This isn't a result of anything I have done, it is the work of the Lord.  I don't think that's anything you can get with a factory made rosary purchased in a store.


Mystical Rose Design said...

Yeah Linda! What a lovely story. I had a similar awakening to Our Lady's presence in my life. It is difficult to explain to non-Catholics, I agree. I will use your suggestion that people should simply ask her to reaveal herself and she will. :) I'm sorry to hear about your son. When I had a miscarriage I had a kind of sense that Mary had all these babies to take care of, and had asked me to hold this one for just a little while to help out. It comforted me realize what a privilege it was to hold that child in my womb, if only for a little while.
In Christ,

Sarah Harkins said...

Beautiful Story, Linda! I was especially touched by Mary revealing herself to you, slowly and in subtle ways. May God Bless your work and continue to show you His will for your ministry. Sarah

EmandaJ said...

Hello Linda,

Great interview. May God bless you and guide you to the special work he has called you to do.


Stephanie said...

Linda, reading your interview was a real treat! I appreciate your frank answers and a peek at your walk with Christ. Stephanie

prayer bedes said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, Linda. It has been through the death of two of my children that I, too, have found the gift of Mary's presence in my life. Her faith and strength has been an inspiration and comfort to me.

God can speak to us in many ways. I have seen your photography and feel that it, like the rosary, can be another tool we can use to find communion with out Lord. It reminds me of the spiritual practice of praying with Icons, which is something I have done some research on and would like to know more about.

I love the name "Eye Believe"!

Laura said...

What a beautiful post. I can really relate to what you said. I know that you'll be guided to share your art and craft in the way you're "supposed to". It's always a mystery to us, isn't it? How we'll be used.
So much of your story rings true with mine and why I make "malas".
Though I'm not Catholic, I feel the same things.