Indy Beads

I pull out my carry-on bag, open it, and slide my hand into a red Chinese embroidered bag about the size of Crown Royal whiskey bag. It contains the colourful glass beads, each containing a speck of Indy dust – this is what Mark and I have named her cremated remains.

In the end we will leave nine in Japan. Each bead is about the size of a shooting marble, the kind our daughter used to collect when she was in grade three or four. Some are perfectly round, others are doughnut shaped. Mark has strung them on a burgundy velvet ribbon. I’m terrified of losing them. The beads are made using a technique called lampworking. The colours are layered, the images made by manipulating glass pipes that look like coloured spaghetti.

Each Indy bead represents an aspect of who she was. There’s a red one that looks like a tiny 1950s flying saucers, another that says “sing” with a musical note, one with a singing bird, a blue and silver bead that looks like the earth seen from space. There are small cracks inside the glass that remind me of firecrackers breaking through the night sky. When I run my hands over the beads I can feel these. This is the India dust. Lezlie Winemaker, the artist who made them, told me that when India’s remains hit the fire they sizzled. “She’s a feisty one. I can tell,” she said.

from One Strong Girl. Published October 31st, 2018

Bead #1

Cleveland, Ohio – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

41.508117, -81.695147. We’re pretty sure India would have liked the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. We KNOW she would have loved Johnny Cash’s bus! That’s where her first bead is.

Bead #2

Tokyo, Japan – Hibiya Koen

(Gardens attached to the Imperial Palace).

35.674776, 139.758196. 

Bead #3

Harajuku district, Tokyu Plaza

35.668586, 139.705829. I think this was one of our favourite places for a bead.


Bead #4

Tokyo, Japan – Ghibli Museum, Inokashira Park

35.696131, 139.570354. The Ghibli Museum was closed and the gates were locked the day we went but we managed to get a bead in anyway.


Bead #5

Yasaka Shrine, Kyoto

35.004004, 135.778770. We came upon this large Shrine at dusk on our first evening in Kyoto, visiting the Gion – the old part of Kyoto.


Bead #6

Kyoto, Japan – Arashiyama district, Bamboo Forest

35.016858, 135.672279. Arashiyama is like walking around inside a Miyazaki movie. It’s in the hills just north of Kyoto.


Bead #7

Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

35.026970, 135.664993. On a whim we decided to walk a ways up the hill and try to get into the Adashino Nenbutsu-ji temple.


Bead #8

Manga Museum, Kyoto

35.011936, 135.759043. The building used to be an old elementary school and the upstairs is still a museum showing the classrooms.


Bead #9

Kyoto, Japan – Off the Shijo Dori Bridge in the Kamo River

35.003511, 135.771448. The Shijo Bridge over the Kamo connects the commercial centre Kyoto with the historic Geisha district of Gion – the Old Town.


Bead #10

Tokyo, Japan – Old City – Yanaka Cemetery, Burnt-out Pagoda

35.725275, 139.770797. We couldn’t resist the vision of the burning pagoda.

Beads #11 & 12

Vancouver, BC – Margaret Buxton

49.275570, -123.059163. One extra bead for the time she would have spent with Margaret during college

Margaret Buxton, Vancouver

More to come…


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