Lesson 11: Beading: Soul Imprints

“In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and cara is the word for friend. So anam cara in the Celtic world was the “soul friend.” In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide was called an anam cara. It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam cara you could share your inner-most self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.” 

JOHN O’DONOHUE, From the Book Anam Cara

Bead by Bead – Soul Imprints

SOUL LOVE is the surrendering space where hidden intimacies of your life are revealed, this kind of love cuts across all convention, morality and category. To be seen as you are – RECOGNITION. With the Anam Cara (soul friend) you can share your inner-most self, your mind and your heart. In this companionship you are understood as you are without pretension and you are liberated from all superficiality. To be bonded on a soul level, you can expand your understanding, altering your identity and perception. Soul love transforms your whole being. Where you are understood, you are at home – BELONGING. In HOLDING SPACE for a friend, we are becoming a container so another can see the reflection of her soul. The art exercise below represents the transformation an Anam Cara, soul friend, brings to our life experience.

WRITING EXERCISE – Remembering Soul Friends in Gratitude

We remember those who left imprints on our souls, acting as agents of change by altering our individual perceptions and  our understanding of what it means to be a human being present in this life and how to experience reciprocity in love and relationship – a soul connection.

  1. Write the names of friends who have seen and accepted you for who you are. A relationship in which fear is not present.
  2. Choose one friend and write a short message of gratitude for being your Anam Cara (soul friend).
ART EXERCISE – Working with stacked clay and imprinting tools
  1. Condition clay in medium to thin layers that can be stacked for imprinting work.
    (Imprinting tools: texture plates, modeling tools, odd objects that can perforate and create patterns, stamps, etc.)
  2. Try the Mokume Gane Technique as shown in the video. Mokume Gane is a traditional Japanese metal layering technique adapted to polymer clay. Its method of imprinting and slicing through layers can reveals colors and spontaneous patterns.
  3. Try Collage and Weaving Techniques as shown in the video. Explore a collage-making with left-over pieces, and try weaving textured strips.

ATTENTION: Don’t bake your creations yet! All clay stacks and pieces created during this session can be used to create new beads and pendants at your discretion.

Suggested Materials:

One polymer clay set (or single colors, but include black and white)
One set of polymer clay tools
Several imprinting objects (see above)
Clay softener
An oven (your kitchen oven is fine as long as you don’t overbake the clay.)

Shopping Links (pdf)
Fab’s Polymer Clay Overview (pdf)
Baking/Curing Guide (pdf)

Watch Beading Lesson video #2…

Our guide: Fabricia Lima – contemplative artist, spiritual practitioner, mystic and mother. She has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from UFG (Federal University of Goiás) from Brazil. She is a certified spiritual director by the Haden Institute, certified (in all levels) children’s spiritual formation teacher by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd National Association, certified SoulCollage® facilitator, Veriditas trained labyrinth facilitator, and creator of Art as a Spiritual Connection™ programs. 

Fab brings the gifts of creativity, contemplation, and hospitality in all that she does – serving as a sacred container by holding space for others as they seek spiritual awareness. She believes that art as soul expression is for everyone and the creative process can be a pathway to self-reflection and restorative healing. Her preferred art mediums are: acrylic paint, colored pencils, watercolor, polymer clay and collage. Connect with Fabricia at http://www.spiritedhandstudio.com.

Visit our Contemplative Creativity page to learn more about this program and to catch up on previous lessons.

Lesson 11: Beading: Soul Imprints