In early 1999 Azy was working for an obstetrician, and I was seeking one to deliver my first child. A friendship was born just prior to my child. Here we are twenty years later, crafting this project that we affectionately refer to as “our baby”, a labor of love, a project of necessity, one we hope is a gift that grants hope to those who no longer feel welcome. We want you to know that we welcome you. We are you. And you are us. We are here to share with you. We want to share our experience in this life with you.
In January Azy and I decided to take a small campaign Azy launched approximately a month and a half prior, a daily posting reminder of the importance of immigrants in this country, and make it a book. We wanted to take this peaceful angle and make it something bold. We wanted to make this a beautiful piece of work that could be held in the hands of small children and their parents alike. We wanted this to be a collection of stories that could be told about the evolution of our country, about how ordinary objects came to be, about how important accomplishments came to fruition, about how people with a dream made their ambitions come to fruition - here in our country. Poetic Illustrations was born.
Given that we both raise children, and live our lives in different states, a drive or a flight would be required to reunite. An opportunity became available recently, and I hopped on a plane to go visit Azy in Virginia for the weekend recently. Just outside of my gate to catch my flight to DC, there was a pop-up for one of my favorite stores in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, PA called Ten Thousand Villages. It’s the kind of store you can rarely feel guilty walking into as it sells Fair Trade products from around the world. I perused for a few minutes, but quickly came upon the perfect item that I knew both Azy and I would need to have. Named the “Sharing Memories” necklace set, designed for two, and handmade in India. How could I not immediately see the symbolism in this and not purchase these necklaces?
Over dinner that evening at Azy’s favorite Iranian restaurant I gave her the box and we both shed a few tears (because we are emotional moms and girls and old friends), and it was perfect. We decided to wear our necklaces each time we have the experience of meeting an individual we are honored to include in the book and throughout the process of writing and illustrating the content, and bringing forth Poetic Illustrations to publication.
Some friendships have a reason. Some have a season. Our friendship has withstood the test of time, and has renewed with a rhyme! We hope that this project gives us many new experiences together, and that our necklaces will weather it all. If you’d like to check them out, as they are so dear to us, you can find them here: https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/elephant-charm-necklace-set