Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Repairing my Furin (Japanese Wind Chime or Wind Bell)

A few years ago a friend of ours who is half Japanese and grew up for the first several years of his life there before moving to the US, went back to visit his mother's family.  He brought us back a beautiful iron bell, or furin.  Similar to a set of wind chimes, they are hung mostly in the summer in Japan.  Either indoors near a window or outdoor on a eve of the house.  The ringing of the bell is equated with the sound of summer in Japan.  Here's some info about them from an online travel magazine:   

For some people, the relaxing sound of the furin paired with the sound of the Japanese cicada eases the summer heat.  The furin has a piece of paper hung from the center of the bowl shaped bell. When the wind blows, the paper catches the wind and moves the clapper to produce the sound. Thanks to the paper, the furin is able to emit the gentle sound that everyone likes enjoy during the summer months.  Furthermore, the paper is used to enhance the feeling of a cool summer breeze. The paper allows us to visually see the wind. Even when the paper moves from a light breeze, you suddenly acknowledge the presence of the wind. It is the secret of how to feel cool even on the hot and humid days of the Japanese summer.

The bell has hung on our porch for about 5 years now, but recently the cotton string broke, which in turn let the paper float away into the wind.  I though about repairing it with new paper and cotton string, but my friend Vikki drew my attention to another Japanese tradition, Kintsugi, or repairing broken pottery with gold, in order to highlight the breaks, rather than hide them.  Showing the beauty of the new life the object has received through repairing it.

So I repaired mine with some treasured bits and bobs from my beading stash, including a stunning handblown glass focal bead (the black one in the center of the string), some round quartz crystals, picasso art glass beads, seed beads, bead caps & spacers, and a large crystal pendant I've been holding onto, awaiting the perfect project.  I'm not sure it will ring as often as it did with the paper wind catcher, but I do love the site of it repaired and rehung on my porch, with the beads highlighting its ongoing presence in our lives, and reminding us of friends we don't see often enough.

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