Hope-filled Shards

Here is what I have just put on Facebook, with a few more details after:

We are moving forward with the jewelry project that will employ Ishinomaki women in making jewelry out of broken ceramics left by the tsunami. We need to decide on a name in the next few days. We’d really like a name that can either: a) work in both Japan and the US; or b) have two names for both languages. Here are a few that have been suggested: Shards of Hope; Kibo no Kakera; IM Project (IshinoMaki – problem is Instant Message!); the Silver Lining; PI Project (Project ishinomaki)… today’s favorite has been てのひら(pronounced te nohira – the palm of the hand from Isaiah 49:15,16). The problem is that there are several smalJapanese l NPOs with this name – is that really a problem? – and we can’t find a good english equivalent name. Thoughts? New ideas?

Next Tuesday we will be having a jewelry-making fest here in Ishinomaki! We have different friends from up here who are interested in helping get this started- we are going to do an open house from 9-3 where ladies can come when they are able to and begin creating. I have been so encouraged by the interest of women! There will definitely be a learning curve that needs to be conquered in terms of learning the soldering process – we are hoping to get some decent samples through the process.

Last week our family went down the hill about three minutes and picked up broken ceramic pieces for about 40 minutes. Today I cleaned them and laid them out mostly based mostly on color:

It’s kind of fun to look at broken rubble and imagine it becoming beautiful again! Here’s one piece that I could imagine as a cool pendant.

It has been an interesting endeavor. Each time I feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do next, the way seems to open up. Our friend Jonathan has given this very unbusiness-like me some good basic business advice – like to first come up with some samples that allow you to show people what you are making. From my initial research of the process of soldering, it seemed like it would take expensive equipment/machinery in the US. Last Saturday, though, when we were visiting our friend Ishida-san in Sanda, she whips out the jewelry she has made over the last ten or more years and there were some beautiful pieces of soldered glass- the exact process we need to learn to do this! She showed me the simple tools that it takes — we can get them all up here to at least make the sample pieces we need. Our friend Fifi is working on some ideas with using old kimono fabric- Ishida-san added to this. Laura, a new jewelry friend in Florida has been really helpful; and we are looking at working with an organization called Heavenly Treasures to help us begin well. Their founder, Kathy Gaulton, sent me a really helpful email with a number of things to think about that I hadn’t. In some ways I was feeling the responsibility to come up with the sample products. Her email made me realize it’s not supposed to come from us, but the products really need to come from the women up here. So our scheduled event on Tuesday will be really important – to see what kind of jewelry flows from the women who come to try. We need to do a lot more prep- purchasing the tools and equipment we need, getting more pieces of ceramic, getting some basic jewelry pieces.

We need to raise some start-up money to do this. If you have any ideas of companies/people who might be willing to help, please let me know. An important next step is deciding on the name and creating a logo to go with this. We are leaving for the US next Friday, July 13th, and want to have a name to take back with the sample jewelry! We really welcome any thoughts/suggestions. Nothing is too out there.

I would really appreciate your prayers for God’s continued leading, step by step. I have found myself praying often these days the life verse of my Japan missionary heroine, Irene Webster Smith: “As you go step by step, I will open up the way to you” (Proverbs 4:12, Syriac version). God is so cool in doing this!


5 thoughts on “Hope-filled Shards

  1. Sue, this is wonderful! We will be praying with y’all. My family used to have a friend that raised emus. My mom and her sisters would use a Dremel drill to cut the eggs and design them into crafts, like Faberge eggs. They are really strong and pretty reasonably priced, I think. You could also pitch your project to the Dremel guys and ask for a donation in kind for the tools. Check out this You Tube demonstration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANJ9g5l6sRk Hope this helps.

    We lived in Iwate for 3 months last year, where my husband led World Vision’s efforts for the initial phase. We think of y’all often and are so thankful God has brought you to serve in Ishinomaki.

    In Him,
    Stephanie (Mogg) Ban

  2. So cool indeed, Sue. Thinking about you, Eric and the kids with the warmest of affection.

  3. I just read your blog on this. This verse come to my mind – Isaiah 61:3 … Beauty for ashes. Will pray for your ministry in Japan.Take care.

  4. When I saw the ceramic shards, I thought they’d make nice trivets or garden stepping stones. Perhaps they can serve to remind people that they can take the “heat” with God who strengthens them, and they can use even tragic experiences as stepping stones toward growth and wholeness.

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