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  • Writer's pictureElena

Beauty for Ashes.

Dress Alabaster Jar.

Working on a haute couture dress is similar to the work of a sculptor. The fashion designer pins the fabric onto the mannequin, creating the shape of the dress, cutting off the excess, adding decor and embroidery; this can take weeks of trial and reworking. On that particular evening, I drapped and pined 12 meters of gorgeous blue-green Moire Taffeta onto the mannequin and sat down at the table to finish my draft for a new shawl. I always used special indelible inks for my drawings. Suddenly, I knocked over a bottle of black ink and the paint fanned out onto the mannequin so carefully pinned. In one second, 12 thousand dollars were destroyed by one of my careless movements. I stood in the middle of the studio in complete horror ...

We all make mistakes, we are human. I looked up at the ceiling with a silent prayer, Lord, what have I done! And yet, in the midst of this horror, amazing peace came to my heart. God gives us peace beyond understanding, it is not from our experience, wisdom or self-control. This is God's help, in desperate circumstances, without which we would never be able to cope. With surprising calmness, I removed the silk from the mannequin and spread it on the carpet in my studio. About 3 meters were hopelessly tainted with large black spots, the rest of the fabric was covered with small black splashes of ink in various places. Praying quietly, I cut out these three meters and washed them with a special soap artists use to wash brushes and hands. The ink stains completely disappeared, but as well as the finest moire patterning of the fabric! It had become completely different! Yet some time later, this very texture of fabric was needed for the dress The Wounds of Christ! My mistake was redeemed!

From the remaining 9 meters of fabric we made one of the most beautiful dresses of the Alabaster Vessel Collection. All the black dots from the ink were hidden in the folds of the draping, they are not visible at all. The shape of the dress resembles an ancient vessel; many years later I saw an alabaster jar of the same shape in the Museum of the Bible. And also, I now know that the most expensive and rare alabaster stone has a blue-green color! The belt like a wreath of roses was embroidered by hand during 4 months in our workshop - this is a symbol of the fragrance of the incense with which Christ's feet were anointed. Do you think that Jesus could smell this fragrance on the Cross?

For me, this dress is a symbol of how God creates beauty from our broken and sinful lives. God gives us beauty instead of ashes. In the East, women cover their heads with ashes as a sign of grief and mourning. Depression falls like gray ash on the soul, depriving it of life; but look at the sky, even if there are dark clouds God hears and He is able to save the lost, transform the broken and recreate a magnificent masterpiece from your life.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair”. Isaiah 61:3

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