In one of our older posts (Interesting Stuff: Memories are made of this), we talked about turning items from your family into tangible memories. But not every family has art or jewels to pass down to the next generation.
In fact, for a lot of people who grew up on farms in the Canadian prairies, even the buildings have disappeared to make more acreage. Sometimes all that’s left are a few shrubs. Such was the case with our latest commission. On arriving at the homestead, all we had to choose from was some caraganas.
This lowly shrub is actually a legume, Caragana arborescens. Native to Siberia and parts of China, it was introduced to North America in the 1700s.
The uses are astounding: a food source, an emmenagog to prevent pregnancy, a cancer treatment, fiber to make rope, a source of blue dye, pet bedding and even oil for aromatherapy.
During the 1930s, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (PFRA) worked extensively with farmers on the Prairies to establish caragana shelterbelts to prevent wind erosion. Saskatchewan farms alone have an estimated 25,000 miles of mature caragana shelterbelt. Add Manitoba and Alberta into the equation, and you’ve got thousands more miles of the hardy shrub-like plant.
With this kind of heritage, I had to come up with something wonderful. Because of the small amount of raw material I settled on a toothpick holder and wind chime/mobile. The challenge was not only that I needed 7 wonderful things for 7 family members, but to create something that future generations would like to keep.
After cutting over 300 pieces, I was able to choose some pleasing designs to make these items.
The idea for a memory piece is to remind you of loved ones and good times and smells from your childhood.
Sometimes a piece as simple as a wind chime can be an unforgettable memory peg. To be a part of that for this family was a very enjoyable and satisfying commission.
Let us know if we can create a tangible memory peg for your family.
“—received the wind chimes and the toothpick holder today and am very touched by them, the thought of preserving something in the first place, then turning these thoughts into pieces of art. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“—thank you so much for the imagination and the concrete time and skill you put into the caragana wind chimes and toothpick holder. That was such a lovely, lovely idea.”
Walking sticks used to be a common accoutrement for people when they went out. Of course, people walked more often. Now, walking sticks seem to be reserved for hikers and are either high tech or very rustic and masculine.
This walking stick is designed for a woman who does not want to have to compromise her style. A single large rose is carved from a moose antler and mounted on a polished stick of Nannyberry. The antler has a natural purplish color that is complimented by a purplish stain on the wood. The end piece has detachable rubber and pointed brass tips. The wooden part can be shortened if desired to cane length.
4cm diameter x 9cmH
1.5”diameter x 3.5”H
length: 48” (122cm) or less