Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Prayer Rope Making Story (The Short Version)

Hello All,

I've created this blog primarily in response to my prayer rope customers who have been clamoring for an online place to learn more about the work I do making Eastern Christian prayer ropes, as well as Roman Catholic rosaries and Coptic/Ethiopian Christian mequtarias.

I actually started making rosaries when I was a kid. My mother was very devoted to Our Lady and prayed the rosary every night. She was also a crafter, and at one point made jewelry. The two passions combined led her into rosary-making. We mostly made rosaries with beads and wire, the way most rosaries are done, but we also made some "mission" rosaries out of plastic beads and cord.

When I went off to college I had to stop making rosaries and focus on my studies (I majored in theology). After graduating, however, I purchased an Eastern Orthodox prayer rope (chotki/komboskini/whatever you prefer) for use while praying the Jesus Prayer. Looking at the simple construction it wasn't long before I wondered if I could make one myself. A quick search on the internet revealed a video and a written set of instructions. At the time there was only the one video on YouTube; now there are many.

I spent hours and hours sitting in front of the computer, watching and re-watching the video, reading and re-reading the instructions, practicing, making every mistake I possibly could, until finally I had the entire process memorized and could successfully tie my first knot. After making two or three small prayer ropes I was able to produce one that I thought was up to snuff. I took it to work with me - I was working in a Catholic bookstore at the time - and showed it to some friends of mine.

I really never had any intention of selling prayer ropes, or even of making them for others as gifts, I simply wanted to see if I could make a one for myself that I felt was comfortable in my fingers and lent itself better to prayer. It wasn't long, however, before friends starting asking if I could make one for them and offering to pay me for my work.

Shortly after that I also started talking about the Jesus Prayer and prayer ropes on online forums. There again it wasn't long before folks online started asking me to make ropes for them. My first couple of customers were collectors. They had been collecting prayer ropes and rosaries for many years, and, I suppose, simply wanted to add mine to their collections. After purchasing them, however, they were stunned by the beauty and quality of the ropes I was making. My ropes became their primary "prayer tool" and they continued to order more from me both for their own use, and as gifts.

I don't say any of this by way of pride. I've honestly been quite humbled by all the kind things that folks have said about my prayer ropes over the years. But in humility I must acknowledge this gift that God has given me. Nearly all of my customers have told me that I have a gift, and that this gift is my ministry. Praise God, because the gift is from Him.

I'll post some pictures of some of the prayer ropes and rosaries I've made. I'm always experimenting and learning of new designs and new ways to divide the prayer rope. God willing I'll regularly be posting new images of my work. If you're ever interested in ordering a rope from me, just send me an e-mail.


1 comment:

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