Town of Canmore

Prayer Beads - Kari Woo

What would it be like for the Trees to learn that we remember them as being alive? If the world is indeed burning, as they say, our Old Rooted Ones have their work cut out for them in the days to come. Amidst our collective neglect of all that sustains us, we will be asking more of them than ever before in the way of helping to balance our collective carbon footprint. 

What if we could give something to them? What if we could let them know that we stand with them and that we are doing our best to remember them and all the others that share this Great Green Earth too? Would it be that they would remember us too?

In the earlier iterations of this project, participants were asked to add a bead to the collection by shaping a piece of the local earthen clay. Prayers for a better day were shaped and whispered into the making of these beads; we asked that what was in your heart be imparted through your hands. 

The beads were then baked by fire, wood from local trees supporting the effort. Fireweed bark, a local plant fibre, chosen for its abundance and strength was handwoven into cordage to help carry the weight of these prayers back to the forest. Fireweed is one of the first on the scene after forest fires due to its ability to recycle nutrients left in the soil after a fire and quickly establish a root system for reproduction. This aids in preventing mass erosion from occurring on burned or logged hillsides. Such reestablishment of vegetation is crucial in the recovery time of disturbed lands, so the choice of this one to help with this project seemed fitting.  The labor of this weaving was an act of homage to the unseen labor that these rooted ones do without our knowing or ever asking.

These precious beads now threaded on fireweed cordage are offered to the trees.  Might it be that they hear our prayers and know our hearts? Could it be that this somehow makes a difference? If not for us, for those yet to come. 

Follow this project on Instagram by searching #prayerbeadscanmore. 


The Artist

Kari Woo is a fine art school graduate [ACAD 2003/BFA {Honors} specializing in Jewellery + Metals], a former brick + mortar shop owner [INFLUX Jewellery Gallery, Calgary, AB], an aspiring sculptor and proud parent. She lives in glorious Canadian Rockies in Canmore, Alberta with her family where she works out of her home-based studio.

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