Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ceremonial…. You just gotta go with the flow...

Sigh… This blog… I have had it for many years and the last little while, I’ve had writers block and just can’t seem to write.. today I will try.. I am so moved by living and working in Bali. I want to  try to describe to you a little of my experience. As some of you know, I travel the world and make jewelry along the way. I find wise and knowing silversmiths and goldsmiths and sit with them, talk with them, learn from them and sometimes am lucky enough to work with them. It is not an easy road to travel, staying true to values while trying to make a living, but it is what I do and I would much rather go with the flow of how ‘they’ work, then force my own agenda on a culture that works so differently.

July 2, 2014

I had a meeting with Nyoman this morning. It is has been 8 weeks since I took my designs to him.. I asked him to make me 20 pieces and 5 samples.  This should take about one week.. I know this. It has been 8 weeks and one sample is finished along with the 20 pieces.. I am not in a hurry and it is frustrating at times, but I also understand that here in Bali, the most important thing is ceremony.. And there are a lot of ceremonies here. When there is a ceremony, work stops and life revolves around it. The last 8 weeks have been a time of many many ceremonies, including Galangan, where the Balinese ask their ancestors for forgiveness and guidance. It is a 10+ day ceremony where there are preparations before, making food and offerings to the Gods, the day of Galangan there are processions and performances throughout the island. It is beautiful! 10 days later is Kuningan where they send the spirits back and continue thanking them for their guidance. This day is spent in a temple. Then there are cremations, when someone in a village dies, the whole village is involved in the ceremony which takes a full day or two or three. This is just a small example of what happens here in Bali. So, navigating this within the world of trying to get things done, can be quite challenging. But as a business woman who believes in the people I am working with,

I realize, I must go with the flow.. The flow of their pace and schedule. So, I too, have tried to plan accordingly in my deadlines and timings of production. As working against it just simply DOES NOT WORK! So, I have most of my new pieces.. They have made it through all the ceremonies and are blessed for you to wear, on your wrist, your ears, you neck…

Please know, these are made by hand, by beautiful soft people and are designed with so much love.

Here is to going with the flow.. May you too, feel that in your life.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A day in the life....

This morning I woke up to the sounds of the birds chirping and the distant sounds of waves crashing. I am in Kerala, South India, staying with my goldsmith teacher and his family.

Over the years, it has been my mission, my passion and my dream to bring together the East and the West, connect people and places through my jewelry. Today, I want to bring you closer to a day in the life of Balan and his family.

They live in Kannur district of N. Kerala, very close to the Arabian Sea. Although many large homes and guesthouses are popping up around them, they are still living their simple, yet complex life in the jungle. Each morning they wake early, Balan walks to the sea to get some exercise, talk to the fishermen and brush his teeth. Pankacha, his wife, starts boiling water and sweeping the house.. You see, they have an open water well. They get water from a bucket and put it in a pot and throughout the day boil water over a fire outside to always have clean water. They are very kind and treat me like a bit of a princess and even boil water for me to take my shower, from a bucket..

Yesterday, Pankacha made tali for me.. a mix of hibiscus leaves and flowers and water. It is the natural shampoo they have been using in Kerala for ages.. It feels like aloe, a bit slimy, but it is refreshing for the scalp and then they apply coconut oil and all is well… Pankacha does this once a week and says she has not used shampoo… she is in her late 50’s and looks like 30.. Not one wrinkle and the most smooth beautiful skin.

Their days are very routine.. waking early cleaning, boiling water.. chai break.. breakfast at 9:30 and I’m not talking a cereal breakfast, I’m talking from scratch (literally grating fresh coconut, they got from their backyard) chutney’s, curries, chapati etc.. Divya their daughter and beautiful sister friend is busy making breakfast while Pankacha is hand washing all the clothes. Balan is sitting over a fire with a blowpipe making gold jewelry and I am sitting there feeling like a bit of a burden.. My own feeling of course. They do not make me feel that way…

Now it is 10am. Time to do dishes and start making curries for lunch, the biggest meal of the day. Balan is still working on jewelry and Pankacha is finishing the wash, whacking it against a stone.

Around 11:30 we have a fresh juice break. Pankacha and Divya sit and relax for a bit and chat with Balan while he is working. 1:30 is lunch.. Always extravagant and always amazing!! Then dishes again, cleaning the kitchen again and then time to relax for a bit or work on other ongoing projects around the house. Yesterday, they had visitors and we walked to the Sea, it was very nice.. around 4pm another (homemade) snack and chai… now it is nap time for about 20min.. at 6 it is time to pray and do prayers at their family temple.. and then last night we sat around and picked pepper off the vine.. they have a pepper vine here and had it harvested the other day, but it was time to take the small peppers from the individual stocks and we sat and did that for a couple of hours.. they put the pepper in the sun for about one week and have over years worth of black pepper from their tree…
9:30 is dinner, a bit of left over lunch and fresh dosas and then sleep at 11… up at 6 the next day to start all over again…
tali to make natural shampoo

their stove

Divya cooking
picking peppercorns off the vine

Balan working on their veranda
with my ladies at the beach 
making a fire to make jewelry..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


There I was horizontal. Finally, after all this time, I found myself confined to my bed, in my room, running back and forth to the toilet. SICK.. 36 hours in my bed. Stomach cramps and I won’t go into the other details. It reminds me… of attachment or  whatever you want to call it, to the unacknowledged bliss we feel when we are not sick.  The unexpected vulnerability of surrendering to nature and wanting to be nurtured.. Momma, where are you?? Feeling disconnected and completely connected at the same time.

Unexpected emotions coming to the surface.. Needing to come out of me along with other things… Detaching or whatever you want to call it, from my body and my mind. Letting it all out. An unplanned cleanse, as most things are.. Unplanned.. Whether we plan them or not.  

An unexpected, but happy work meeting  got me out of the house today.  Still feeling sick, but since I was already out and about, I decided on a massage, for a bit of nurturing and voluntary release from the confines of my mind and my aching body. A big rain came during my massage and the earthy fresh smell made me feel so alive on the table, while being poked and prodded and soothed at the same time.  An afternoon of pondering… is upon me now, with a little more horizontal time.

Oh the beauty in it all. Feeling blessed….

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bloomingdales.... Here we come

Oh man!! To catch up on the 5 month lapse would be a job worth my time, but for now..

Let's celebrate the moment!!

Karazi Design will be the featured artist for a trunk show at
BLOOMINGDALES in Chicago (check out the link and scroll down, he he... so excited!!)
Oct 25 & 26, 2013

If you are in the area.. It would sooooooo amazing to see you!! Please pass this information on to all your peeps..

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bali blessings!

Ubud, Bali
May 8, 2013

The impending rain looming over the, nearly ready to be harvested, rice fields. It gently reminds me of the gloomy days lived out in Seattle. This is different though, taking the place of  bone chilling cold, this tropical heat is mixed with full on humidity and reminds me of my summers growing up in Wisconsin.

I’ve been here nearly two months. Here being Bali, my new home or should I say launching pad. The magic does not stop, even in the mundane of daily life.  Today being one of those magical days. Early morning wake up to the roosters and ducks outside my window, sunrise meditation, followed by a few hours of work.  The hours pass and I think to myself, wow!! This is my life, I live in paradise.

Feeling really blessed at the moment, working on many different projects from making and designing jewelry, to music, to setting up exotic tours and of course having fun…

Check out some of what’s been going on.
A recent performance of a new song I wrote while in India. It’s called The Space in Between 

A big MAY (love) sale in my online store.. All jewelry is 15% off this month. Many new beautiful EARTHY.EDGY.ELEGANT pieces. Enter MAYLOVE2013 at checkout to receive the sale price ONLINE SALE HERE

And two tours this year
October 13-26, 2013

S. India
January 12-25, 2014

For more info you can email me

Friday, February 1, 2013

Do not try this at home (WARNING, graphic photos)

Kerala, India

They go into a trance, with the wild rhythm of the drums, they pierce their bodies and offer them to the gods, in hopes of purifying negativity. For several days in advance, they prepare their bodies and their minds for this extreme ritual.

Unfortunately, information on this Thaipusam ceremony is minimal, but here is a little, Thaipusam

Oh Incredible India!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Holy Cow!!

The 2013 S. India tour just ended. I was not able to keep up the blog while traveling. So, now is the time to catch up.

This first entry is a guest entry by Efrat, one of the women on the tour. She wrote this beautiful post about the first day of the tour.

outside of chamundeswari temple, mysore

It is not easy to find time to write as we ebb and flow and bob around...The days are full from morning to night, each with its own set of lenses in this kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, smells and constant motion. The trip from Bangalore to Mysore was a typical series of fast forward, shrieking slow downs at potholes, bumps and occasional narrow gates at a fence across the highway, and of course, constant horn blowing.

Bangalore, while fascinating in its chaotic frenzy, was good to leave behind for quieter Mysore and for meeting Samia and the beginning of the first chapter of my "Injia Adventure".

The view along the way was fascinating, city scape giving way to country with huge, dramatic rounded stone boulders for a while then mellowing into rice fields and water buffaloes as we moved further south. The 3 hour trip was into its 5th hour when we finally rolled into town and found ourselves in the magical Green Hotel where a majestic former palace and blooming gardens welcomed us along with beautiful Samia.

entryway at Green Hotel
The wonders that followed are too numerous to describe - the incredible market, the palace fully illuminated on Sunday night ( only, and for 1 hour only), and going to receive protective blessings at several temples with Kumar, Samia's goldsmith teacher who was our most gracious and incredible host and driver.

The story I want to put in       momentary limelight, is the plan to see cows painted yellow with tumeric, decked and decorated parade in the streets and then jump through a fire in honor of the harvest festival that was happening that day. Our anticipation mounted as we watched cows being washed and adorned. But when we came to the appointed field we realized that things were way too quiet to portend the climactic event.

decorated cow for Shankranti

After some inquiries and as many different answers and speculations as those asked, we understood that this day also happened to be the Day of the Bull    and cows jumping was incompatible with this (which goes without saying in this male dominated society...). All we could surmise is that the said event either already happened the night before or will happen the next evening. We spent the next day trying to determine if the latter might pan out.
The sun was setting. The field was empty. We were crest fallen until a few more inquiries had Kumar turning his vehicle around and driving us down a narrow alley where we were assured, the cows will jump.

The estimated wait time being 15 minutes, we rolled down our windows and prepared our cameras for action. In only a couple of minutes we were surrounded by throngs of young boys screaming and asking for chocolate, young mothers feeding their babies and men who just stood and stared. The crowd thickened, the wait became less clearly defined but we were going nowhere as the alley was completely blocked. Then we noticed that straw was being piled in the corner not far from our car and in the thick darkness we saw that cows were being brought into the crowd. We scrambled out to find a safe spot when a match was lit and all of a sudden there was flame and dust and dragging hoofs and slappings and loud calls. Mayhem. The last cow was dragged through the embers and it was over.


cow jumping over the fire
The crowd quickly regathered around us. We realized that the true spectacle was US... We posed for endless photos, shared our names and where we are from until finally being able to get back into our car and drive away giggling in disbelief.

A silver sliver of a moon appeared. We knew, the cow did jump.

But remember, what happened in Mysore stays in Mysore.

Much love and magic,

Reconstructed from report written a week ago. Please get ready for "Did the elephant cross the road?"