I finished a few of my "Om Malas". I really enjoy making these bibelots. They are versatile, beautiful and can be personalized for each user/wearer/bearer. A mala is a bracelet-like, or rosary (necklace-like) collection of prayer beads. I have a few in my personal collection - wooden beads, carnelian stone beads and others. They are used as a tool in meditation or prayer.
My handmade malas are personalized, but bare bones, so that the recipient can add his or her own meaningful materials. I start with a drawing of the charm, seal, symbol, sigil, or amulet that I think most befits the recipient, or the dedicated purpose of the mala (Archangel, Om, Zodiac sign). The main amulet is typically made of brass, but I have used sterling silver and copper. I pierce the design into the brass using a jeweler's saw. The disc is hammered into a convex form. The piece is then stamped with my mark, and perhaps the title of the symbol.
I like a patinaed or oxidized finish, so I experiment with the coloration. I then choose a tassel, beads, crystals and various adornments that compliment the mala's dedication. For instance, in the above malas I chose rose quartz for a pink hue to enhance the love vibration of the Om symbol. The main disc was flame-colored, then hardened to get rosy tones. The other mala (Tamil Om) features a brass endless spiral and some gorgeous peach-toned agates and crystals, as well as the patinaed brass.
Above is another Om mala, resplendent with gold and deep red. This mala has a silky, generous tassel, a large wooden bead and genuine red garnet crystals. Again, the Om symbol is colored with a lovely, turquoise green patina. I think this mala is rich-looking. I was inspired by the Tulku/Tibetan monk robes of saffron and dark red. On afterthought, I should have created the Tibetan Om symbol (which is different than the above). Oh well, that is an idea for another day.
I love these pieces - and that is saying a lot. I do not like everything that I make! These malas, to my eyes, glow with a life of their own.
After these creations are turned over to their new owners, all kinds of delightful things happen. One client wears her mala around the neck with a handwoven cord. Another friend promptly clipped hers on her handbag. Another draped her mala around a Quan Yin statue in her entry hall.
Me? I display my own collection on the walls of my home.