Mary Curtis ✿ The wood between our fingers slows us down


6 May 2021

Mary Curtis explains how she has primed her jewellery to create a tool for meditation.

Through the course of developing this exhibition, I began the journey of moving towards a zero-waste jewellery practice. I am interested in the life of all the materials I use, where they come from and where they end up. The wood used is sourced sustainably from within New Zealand and all materials that make these necklaces can be recycled

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Beads are one of the earliest forms of human adornment. 

The etymological root of the word “bead” in English is from the Old English noun bede, meaning prayer. “To run a string of beads through your hands is to touch an ancient practice”. Beads have been used as objects for calming and meditation across many cultures and religions. They are a powerful tool to slow the breath and silence the mind.

There are many ways of determining the number of beads traditionally used in a string. For the purpose of this exhibition I have drawn on the Greek tradition, the total number of beads equalling a prime number, a calculation made by multiples of four + one. The pattern in all the necklaces here uses different variations of this calculation, multiples of four + one.

This is for luck.

Mary Curtis Breathe was exhibited at The National 13 April – 01 May 2021.

Follow @mary.curtis


Ehrmann M., Desiderata, 1927

Strand C., “Worry beads, Tricycle” The Buddhist Review, 2006

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