Tagua starts out as an ugly nut, something people just want to throw away. It has to be cut, sanded, shaped, dyed, and then polished before anyone sees its beauty. Dunamis does all this before the tagua ever gets to be made into jewelry. It is so labor intensive. Yesterday I had the opportunity to cut and work tagua. It gave me a whole new respect for this misunderstood nut. When you cut a nut, it yields just 2 slices that can be used. Once it is cut, it is sanded. We then shape it and with a sander, determine the color we want, and dye it. From there we throw it In a tumbler for 1 1/2 days to get a beautiful shine. Once all this is completed, then and only then do we use it in one of our designs. Lot of work? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Why? It's a one of a kind piece of art.
As I was working on the tagua nut, it reminded me of my Christian walk. Before Christ, I was not very loveable and quite ugly. Then God captured my heart and I began to change. He cut things from my life that weren't good. He sanded me when I didn't want to be sanded. He shaped me even when I fought Him. Why was He doing this? To make me more in His image and so the world could see who He is. Those who knew me before, saw a change. What did people see? A new creation. Someone who started seeing His children the way He saw them. Who wept, when He wept. Who stepped out in faith, to help others when she had no clue if she could do it. People, if we are all honest with ourselves, we all started out as this ugly nut. The question is where are you in this journey?
The last few days in Ecuador have been full of emotions, emotional highs and lows. I have leaned into God when my heart was breaking and He showed me new sides of His compassion. When I don't understand, I have just learned to trust the process.
I have one more day in Quito before I hop on a red eye home. I have done what God has asked me to do and leave exhausted but satisfied. Today I will spend the day with the girls going through our final designs. What will it hold? I have no idea, but I can be assured it will be good!
Pictured from the Geometrix Collection by Dunamis. Left: Tagua Disc Necklace $24 (15 inch chain). The Triangle $20 (16 inch chain). Tagua Circle Tassel Earrings $12.
Designing abroad is an adventure. Lack of raw material selection, ferocious traffic, and let's throw in some rain for good measure. Head to the bus station because that's where we pick up our tagua. It comes from the coast 8 hours away. Yes people we don't get our shipment UPS, we get it from a bus!! It feels like you are constantly racing the clock to get prototypes done and I have to say you are dealing with 2 perfectionists. One more tweak and it will be right! Yeah- we said that 4 tweaks ago! It is so important to us that we create a stellar collection because as we head into show season, everything has to be just right. Our groups work like crazy to meet the Christmas demand then in January they can hear crickets. No orders come in. So they must sustain their artisans through the lean months by creating a beautiful collection. The pressure is on! We don't want you guys to just like it, we want you to LOVE IT!! Who is ready to see some more prototypes?!?! Folks this is not your mama's tagua nut! We are taking it to the next level!!
Pictured is Geometrix, Dunamis's New Fall Collection from Ecuador. Top left Triple Arrow and the Tagua Disc Bracelet with a hammered arrow charm. Each $15. The Tri is a triple triangle necklace $30 (32 inch chain). The Geometrix is a necklace featuring a disc, circle, and triangle $26 (18 inch chain). Triple Disc Earrings $10. The Short Double Strand $28 (18 inch chain). Folks, this isn't even all of it! We are a designing machine!!
Sanctuary. The word that popped in my head when I entered the Zoey House, Dunamis's protection house. I was blown away by the beauty and peacefulness of it. Set on top of a mountain, this house is truly a place of healing. It is a sanctuary. It is so well made and thought through. In the dormitory, there will be 20 beds. It is lined with beautiful windows, honestly large windows are throughout the house. Outside the bedroom are private showers and a nursery. There is also room for female police officer. You walk down stone stairs and there is a kitchen and laundry room. Off to the side is a beautiful dining room and 2 private counseling rooms and then you enter my favorite room, the living room. You walk through 2 glass double doors and in the center is a massive stone fireplace. Windows flank the fireplace on all sides. It is so beautiful and life giving! These young girls have never experienced a good home life and as I stood there I could hear the laughter that would soon fill this room. My heart felt so happy knowing that these young girls rescued from trafficking would have a safe place to heal. It was nice to step away from design so I could refocus on the "why" we do what we do. The jewelry helps realize the true dream, a restored life.