Saturday, May 4, 2013

Memorial Bead - Wardena

I was recently asked to make a Memorial Bead for a dog named Wardena. She has such an amazing story! I always find knowing some things about the animal or person I make Memorial Beads for is really helpful in the bead design. Wardena was a pure breed Canaan and was born in Iraq. This is what her human dad had to say about his girl:
A friend found her, as a puppy, getting shade in the wheel well of a nearby tank. He brought her inside for food and water and before long, she was sleeping in a box at the foot of his cot. She essentially became the mascot of his unit. In fact, that's how she got her name --  _________ was a captain and his troops called him "Warden" because he was strict. So.. they just tacked on an "a" for his little sidekick.

Eventually, he wanted to get her out of there to a loving home.. so we worked with a rescue mission in Jordan to bring her to the states. Before she was cleared to leave, she was quarantined in an empty lion cage at the Baghdad zoo. Then flew to Jordan, Paris, Los Angeles and Phoenix before landing here. Picking her up at O'Hare was one of the best days.

It's funny -- she didn't bark for the first 2 weeks that we had her. That would soon change. Perhaps it was the stresses of being born into war.. but she was one heck of a guard dog. Constantly watching the neighborhood thru the front window.

She loved people, but loathed other critters and chased them at every opportunity. She amassed quite a trophy case of squirrels, mice, birds, rabbits and even a few skunks. Since she's been gone, moles have already wrought havoc on the backyard.

Later in life, however, Wardena really settled into her role as a sweet little lover. Above all, she loved cuddling, loved her certain blankets and pillows to be set up just the way she liked. The only time she would ever give kisses was first thing in the morning, right when [we] would wake her up.. she would stretch her legs and lick our faces. I miss that so much.

I just couldn't imagine this sweet pup being quarantined in a lion cage at the Bagdad Zoo! How scared she must have been and yet, she clearly hit the jackpot - finding people who loved her so and took her so many places!

The Wardena Bead:
For the bead, Wardena's folks wanted a large soft yellow base and visible cremains. Green and blue accents since she loved being outside and a touch of dichro. As I prepared Wardena's cremains, I was amazed that they were the darkest I've ever seen.... I wonder if that is a white dog trait?

I had one false start - never good when making Memorial beads! I got the long skinny bead made and was preparing to add cremains when I realized the bead release was about to get fussy with me! I grabbed some colorful stringer and made one of the most interesting beads!! (I'll show you that one tomorrow!) I was so glad I did because it was spinning on the mandrel by the time I was done! NO WAY it could have handled cremains and all that encasing!

The second bead just flowed. I got the long, thin base made and added Wardena's cremains and quickly cased with dichro. And she blasted right through all that pretty glass!  This is the 2nd time I've had that happen. I feel like the personality is just determined to show. As I worked and cased them, they added most lovely shading to the opal yellow looked like sand! Finally, they seemed to be happy and I added another strip of the dichro!  I always have a few extra pieces ready, just in case now!

Wardena's cremains were also worked into the grass / leaf stringer and the top layer of flower stringer.  They just glisten in the light!

I finished the bead and made a few spacers just to clear my head. It's always a bit emotionally draining making these large Memorial Beads.... and I glanced over at Wardena's photos and back at her stringers sitting in a cup. Something told me to make a heart with her glass.

I've never felt this before and her pawrents hadn't asked for one but I did it anyway! Luckily it was well received! I just had the feeling that Wardena wanted someone to have a little extra love from her.

It's always such an honor to work on these beads and get to know the people and animals and help them along on their final journey together. They are truly the most rewarding beads I make!

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