A few weeks ago, I was at Lake Austin Spa Resort, prepping for my cooking class, when in came Corinne Cargnoni, the activities concierge, whom I’d met on one of my previous trips in the last year.
She must have flown in across the tables, because I didn’t even hear her until she was right in front of me. (I am certain that she probably just leapt across the room in some magic way.)
“Ellise!” she exclaimed. She came over and grabbed my hand. “Have you seen the baby swans?!”
I had not.
So off we went. In our brief jaunt down past the dock to see the baby swans, Corrine told me the story behind the two bracelets she was wearing – one was white, the other brown. There were different colored beads on them, but I don’t remember now which colors. I just remember she had these bracelets, and this infectious enthusiasm for the baby swans…and I wanted some of both.
Her brother had died a year ago, she told me, and she started making these bracelets as a way to heal from her deep and sudden loss. She called them “Healing Knots” bracelets, because she said making these knots between the beads was actually helping her untie her internal ones. Then she started making them for others, too.
“Grief is powerful and it will turn your world upside-down,” she said. “For me, it made me find my art.”
She personalizes each bracelet depending on how many beads a person wants (54 fits a normal-size wrist), and what colors they’d like to wear. There are different colors of elastic between the beads and four different “base” bead colors (chocolate, black, coffee, latte and off-white) and a number of accent colors, too.
“The knots between each bead are where I find the most pleasure,” she said. “Each one is perfectly imperfect, just like we are. The knots give each bracelet character, just as each step of our lives defines us as unique and we ‘untie our knots’ or troubles, you can feel the bracelet holding you and reminding you of your thoughts, hopes, and prayers.”
I taught my class, signed some cookbooks, then hurriedly changed into my sweatpants and flip-flops and was on the way to the spa.
“Ellise!” said Corrine, running after me, down the path. She pressed a small envelope in my hand and said, “Put this in your bag and open it up later.”
Then she was gone again.
A mani, pedi, and a facial later, I was back in my room. I opened up the handmade envelope. And I put the chocolate and turquoise beaded bracelet on, twisting it four times to fit, and haven’t taken it off.
We saw the downy gray swans, by the way. I think of them, too, every time I look at my wrist, wrapped with the bracelet that came to me at just the right time, with the bonus of a new friendship.
Corinne sells her “Healing Knots” bracelets for $45 apiece, and each one is made to order. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a ring: 512/587-0129.