The kindness of others

by Sayraphim on November 28, 2012

I’ve been thinking about kindnesses between strangers or near-strangers and today I thought I’d share two kindnesses I’ve been on the receiving end of.

Many, many years ago I was the set designer and fabricator for the International Puppet Carnival at Fed Square. I did a call out through various networks for anyone who wanted to help me paint the many massive arches that formed the main design. A number of people came, some for just one session and some came back to help out again and again.

One lady who came one of those very first days was M, a humorous lass with amazing red dreads that flowed from a beautifully knitted wrap (picture a beanie but without the top). I complimented her on the wrap, asking where she had bought it. It turned out that she had knitted it, and I was amazed by how beautifully and delicately it was created. We spent the day together, slowly getting covered in more and more paint and we chatted constantly as we painted. M was great and I really enjoyed getting to know her a little that first day.

M couldn’t come to the next painting session as she was off to Tasmania for the weekend.

The next painting session rolled around after the weekend and M was again there, bright and early, but this time she had a small package, which she handed too me. I unwrapped it to find she had knitted me a head wrap too, in the softest mohair I think I’d ever felt.  

I was thrilled at the beautiful gift, but stunned as well. That a woman I’d only met once had taken the time, over a weekend, to knit me this beautiful wrap was just amazing. As we discussed it, M shared something that made her even more amazing. She said that whenever she feels bad, she likes to do nice things for other people. She’d had some bad news just before she’d left for Tasmania and was feeling really negative. So she decided she’d knit me a wrap to counteract it.

That really did leave me speechless.

I wear my wrap every winter, for the past 6 years and it’s the only beanie type hat I own. I don’t feel the need for anything else. And every time I wear it, I think of M and how she makes herself feel better by doing nice things for people.

Above is me in M’s wrap, adorned with a fascinator that was left behind in a craft workshop I ran for kids.

The other piece of kindness by a near stranger was the bracelet I’m currently wearing. The first semester of my Masters finished up recently, during which about half of the students in the course went away overseas to create and install public art in a Turkish village the university has ties with. One of the first semester students, in my level, went along with them. She’s a lovely girl, younger than me who has been really sweet to get to know. Although we don’t know a lot about each other, we’ve bonded a little over art and enthusiasm and I missed her presence in our classes while she was away. The day after she arrived home she came to class for a presentation she had to do (which I thought particularly brave of her, considering how I felt the morning after getting back from England) and after her presentation she came over to me and asked me to hold out my hand. She tied the above bracelet on, telling me that she’d made it for me. I was really touched, again the fact that someone takes the time to sit and make something as a gift is quite humbling, and I thought it kind that she also created it from glass Nazar Boncuk beads, which are also known as ‘evil eye’ beads. Each one has an eye on it (or three, in the case of my bracelet) which is thought to stare out into the world, to ward off evil spirits and keep the wearer safe. Although we didn’t discuss it, I suspect that she bought the beads during her trip in Turkey, which means they’ve travelled half way across the world to protect me. I’ve always liked these beads, but I’ve never owned any, until now.

I find both pieces beautiful,

partly for the fact that someone thought to take the time to make them,

partly because they were given to me,

partly because of the love and care that went into each item

and partly because these items remind me that there are amazing and caring people in the world, generous with their time and talents, and both women and the gifts they gave me continue to inspire me and my work.

So thank you, to anyone who has ever taken the time to make something for someone else. It’s one of the most meaningful gifts you can give.

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