Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do you Have a Hobby?

I've mentioned this in passing before, so I thought I 'd show you what I do with my hands before I fall asleep watching while I watch my evening TV.

I make rosaries. Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopalian... whatever.


I made these over the past week. They are the first rosaries I have ever been commissioned to do. I'm so proud. I made them for the husband and son of a colleague.

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I made these for Mrs. Gunfighter... I liked them so much, I made a copy for myself.

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These were made for my Pastor's wife... I haven't given them to her yet, but I am planning on making sure that she gets them before Christmas (I made a set for the Pastor, too, but haven't photographed them yet).

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I have made so many of these things, ranging from the very nice (and expensive) to the very tough and utilitarian, depending on the level of use and the receiver. Generally speaking, I give them away to people I feel might get something out of their use, or who might be in need.

I know that one or two of you were raised as Roman Catholics, so rosaries won't need much explanation to you. However, the use of beads in prayer is a tradition that as is as old as organized prayer. Many faith traditions have fallen away from their use, but they have had something of a resurgence in recent years, particularly in the Anglican/Episcopalian communion.

See the following:

Major religions have for centuries advocated the use of prayer beads as an aid to prayer. A modern twist on this ancient tradition is the development of the Anglican Rosary, also known as "Episcopal Prayer Beads" or "Christian Rosary". Known and used as "Rosary beads" by Roman Catholics, "Mala beads" in the Hindu religion and "Chotki" in the Greek Orthodox tradition, the earliest prayer beads were most probably loose stones carried in the pocket, used to number one's prayers at set times of day. Eventually they were strung together so as not to be so easily lost.

While the Catholic Rosary has 59 beads and the Hindu mala 108, the number of beads in the Anglican rosary has been set at 33, the number of years in Christ's life. A set of Anglican beads is comprised of four sets of 7 beads called "weeks". The number 7 represents wholeness and completion, and reminds us of the 7 days of creation, the 7 days of the temporal week, the 7 seasons of the church year, and the 7 sacraments. Four "cruciform" beads separate the "weeks". They represent the 4 points of the cross and its centrality in our lives and faith, the 4 seasons of the temporal year, and the 4 points on a compass. Anglican prayer beads use a cross rather than a crucifix. Near the cross is the "invitatory bead". The beads may be of wood, glass or stone and the cross of wood or metal.

Mrs Gunfighter loves that I make these, but every time I come up with some new design, she snags the first one for herself (I can't even tell you how many of these things that she has!).

Anyway, there you are.


Please email me if you would like me to make one of these for you. I'd be happy to do it.


Grimm said...

Truly amazing work, GF. I am seriously in awe of these. They are beautiful.

Now I feel awful. You make such wonderful creations and I play online poker in my spare time. Good grief.

Great post as always.

Gunfighter said...


Grimm, one of the reasons I do this is because in my line of work, I don't create anything.

The practical application of different ways to kill people is how I primarily make my living. It can be somewhat bothersome for the soul, to put it mildly.

I make these things as some sort of life affirming gesture. I don't really have the words for it, but it makes me feel like I am doing something good.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. You make rosary beads. That's very cool.

I was born and raised a Catholic and boy howdy do I remember getting bitch slapped with having to say the beads every now and again for penance. One time I had to say them three times! I don't even remember what the hell I did to have to say the rosary three times.

I'm an atheist now.

Tasha said...

Your work is beautiful, GF! I wasn't raised with the rosary...I'm not sure if the wig-slinging set could pray in such a way, but I've always regarded them as very beautiful. I may just have to order one from you.

Syd said...

Those are seriously beautiful. You know, if you replaced the crucifix with something like a skull, it would be totally rock-n-roll. I'm just sayin'.

Gunfighter said...


THREE TIMES? I'd love to hear that story!


You needn't be Catholic. As a matter of fact, you needn't follow certain paryers. I use them to keep my prayers collected and organized, and as a way to seek a small bit of peace in the morning.


Tell you what, since you are so special, I'll make one for you with a skull, how's that?

Syd said...

I'd hate for lightning to strike you on my account. LOL But, should you feel inclined...

Kelley said...

A rosary with a skull? That sounds like the next hipster trend in NYC, or something. GF, you could make a fortune! ;)

Beautiful work!

Janet said...

Those are gorgeous, Bill. Back when I was still nominally Christian I was a big rosary person. I always carried at least one with me nad said them all the time. Especially on Good Friday when I would spend the entire Three Hours saying the rosary. You are making me so nostalgic, I almost want to see if I still have one about the house and give it a go.

janetmkincaid said...

Gunfigther, these are beautiful. And I learned something today about prayer beads. Don't Muslims also carry prayer beads?

I'm wondering if something could be done that would include Mormon symbology? (Mormons PRIDE themselves on supposedly NOT having a lot of iconography, but boy hey, let me tell you. We've got our fair share. I'd love to have something made just to be provacative and make folks stop and think. If I can find five or six elements to replace the crucifix, the invitatory bead and the four cruciform beads, could I commission you to make one of these for me?)

Red said...

You definitely have a talent there. I might just have to get on the bandwagon down the road and see about having you make one for my Aunt. She's been a nun for over 70 and recently been hospitalized and celebrated her 94th birthday.

Gunfighter said...


I'm lightnig proof... what are your favorite colors?


If you don't have one around, let me know.

Janet K.,

Email me... let's talk about LDS symbology.


Welcome! Let's talk about your aunt, soon.


kathleenios said...

GF... I have many questions! I will be e-mailing you soon.

Anonymous said...

Again, such beautiful work. I'd love to know how much you charge for rosary beads!

Amy Barry said...

Pretty! You are quite the talented guy. I have to laugh at the irony of a big police officer "beading" though. ;) Like the football players that play the flute and knit. Sorry that sounds so narrow minded and sexist! Seriously - it just brings a sweet happy smile to my face to see guys take on non-traditionally-guy stuff. Especially the guys who look all guy on the outside.

Those really are very beautiful.

Amy Barry said...

Oh - I guess I forgot to answer the original question. I am a scrapbooker but i have been seriously delinquent and am more than a year behind on Jaxon's books now. :(