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Shields of Life - Valour is a long awaited design. I have promised and it is now time to make good. Yesterday, the design was launched and it was greeted with great enthusiasm. Although we prepared inventory, the kits for the design were quickly snatched and shipped out. We have ordered new materials and hope to be ready to ship more kits by next week. So again, I am thanking you for your patience.

The Shields of Life series is very dear to me. It's been a journey of five years from the first of the series, Spirit, to this last one, Valour. Without being too philosophical I think about these five years and what has transpired in our world and in my personal world. In my small world there have been wonderful times; a move to a new exciting city, my beautiful daughters growing and making Reid and I so very proud, working at my art, traveling to new places. But there have been hard times as well, painful times. During my father's illness and after his death so many of you wrote to me to offer support and words of wisdom. You were right, there is not a day when he is not in my thoughts again and again. I miss him more and more but I am learning to live with this pain. It is so strange how I can at once be so very happy about Shiri's upcoming wedding and at the same time so sad my father won't be there with us.

Shields of Life: Spirit

These Shield designs were meant to give symbolic protection when confronted with turmoil and fear. I used them often, standing before the wall on which they hang and meditating, searching for comfort. Very often I found comfort.

Shields of Life - Triumph

I want to thank so many of you who have been at my side along these five years. What a journey, eh? Let's go on to see what the future will bring. I'm excited!!

Shields of Life - Courage


Digging for Jewelry.


I continue on my quest for the perfectly organized studio. The journey is endless and in the meantime things look worse than they did before I set off. Taking breaks for a Bead Fest in Valley Forge this weekend, or working on a color scheme for Janet Perry's Bargello design, none of that helped further my cause. I have, however, dug up some oldies but goodies. This is my latest find. I designed this a few years ago and then put it in a "safe" place. I plan on putting the design on my new website as a freebie. I'll keep you posted.


Is it a disease?

If you understand, my friend, why reorganizing all the threads in my studio was addictive . . .

why I keep stepping back to view the threads

why I can taste
how beautiful
the display is

If you understand all this, my friend,
then we are both sick...
(but in a good way).


Taking a stroll.

So I'm walking down a street in Tel Aviv with Shiri and Orin (my beautiful daughter and her fiance), and hanging out of a window are three wedding dresses from some unknown era.
So we get closer...
and closer...
I don't know what they were thinking, but I love it!

Tel Aviv is a city that never (really, never!) sleeps. It is a study in Bauhaus architecture. It's not a beautiful city but it has beautiful corners and a wonderful atmosphere (imagine Manhattan on the Mediterranean).

I took this photo from my seat in a delightful cafe' on the shores of the Mediterranean.




Israel - The Carmel Shuk in Tel Aviv is an amazing display of color. The stalls are works of art overflowing with goods in mouthwatering hues. Scrumptious!

I wish I could convey the smells of these spices! Yummy!

You may think that veggies that look this good can't possibly taste as good. Wrong!


I'm home.

It's been five weeks and many many miles. I'm back.

I will remember this trip for the rest of my days. It touched emotions deep, painful and beautiful, all at once.

I walked the streets of my father's childhood. I stood by my mother as she heard about the day her father brought her, a newborn, to register with the village clerk. I took a train to the town my father, an eleven year old boy, hid during the war. I peeked into the boarded up train lounge where he sat, over sixty years ago, so young, so brave. I stopped in the town where his brother, fourteen year old Sevek, was taken to work in a labor camp and later executed. It was such an honor for me to know that I was the first family member to come back and say goodbye to Sevek so many years after he died alone in that place. I met Marta, a wonderful woman who was our guide and who grew to know each member of my family. She did all in her power to bring their past back to life for us.

I walked the streets of old Krakow and took Nina on a horse and buggy ride to see the old castle and the busy colorful streets of the city. We drove through villages and farm lands and saw beautiful little gardens along the roads. I passed by rich forests and lush landscapes, one moment admiring their beauty and the next hearing the cries of people no longer with us. People who ran to those forests to hide and whose blood saturated the ground around the cities and in the villages. What a contradiction. Impossible to understand. Overwhelming.

I'm back. I'm home.


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©Orna Willis
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