“And yet Soloman in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”
Monday July 08th 2024, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Life


You know I love Ukrainian vyshyvankas, their embroidered shirts, and Ukrainian gerdans, their traditional beaded necklaces woven on beading looms.

I have a particular favorite artist on the latter.

My father the art dealer spent decades helping keep the hundreds of years old French Aubusson tapestry weaving guild alive, and in many ways I am my father’s daughter.

Etsy at the beginning of the war in Ukraine forgave all debts and waived all fees for all sellers there. So everything you pay goes directly to the seller.

But also, according to what I have read, they have a policy in response to scammers such that if the computer address where your shop is listed doesn’t match what you later use, they’ll block payment. In war zones where people too frequently have to flee, the seller has to work out with Etsy that they are still legit.

Which brings me back to Lyubov. Many of her projects are one-offs and the designs are her own with the work carefully done with finer beads than most and an artist’s eye for where the light travels in the piece vs the matte beads.

My cherry tree gerdan came from her.

And frankly, you pay for that talent. She had one with a field of sunflowers on one side and above, a seagull with black wing tips taking off into the bright sky opposite a lighthouse where the tide was coming in below, the blue waves and white foam forming the curls framing the head of a woman rising from the water with a sun tattoo. Such tiny beads. So. Much. Detail. (I loved that one but just couldn’t afford it.)

Her home is–was?–in Kherson. Last year she showed me pictures of the bombardment her apartment had taken and vowed to rebuild. She had family whose home was entirely gone.

It’s easy to want to support someone who deserves it in every way.

She created some new pieces–and then her shop went down.

A few weeks later, hoping she was okay, I sent her a note asking after her. I told her I was hoping to buy her new Lilies gerdan if it was still available because I have a four year old granddaughter named Lily.

She reposted her shop, albeit with fewer pieces. There it was.

But the payment wouldn’t go through. I tried. I contacted Etsy. I sent a note to her. I tried again. And again, hoping something had changed. I bought a $4 sunflower sticker to prove to Etsy there was no problem with my credit card. Nothing.

I didn’t hear back from her and feared for her safety.

It turns out she had been hoping to surprise me, and in fact she very much did: she had my address so she simply packed it up and put it in the mail so that I would have it. Five other people had put it in their carts but she knew where she wanted that one to go.

After our busy weekend, I tried again today to see if everything was fixed and if my payment might go through this time, and as usual it did not. So I sent her one last note.

And with that she told me what she had done.

I was speechless. And thrilled. For the necklace, absolutely, but also very much for how it confirmed the goodness of this woman I’d love to meet on the other side of the earth.

I wanted to do my part and asked if I could pay for it, and how?

She decided to let me PayPal her. I would have anyway. She would have waived it anyway. I did it anyway.

After all the times I tried to be there for her the best I knew how from my distance these past few years, she was the one who chose to be there for my granddaughter and me. I am in awe of the person she is in the middle of all she and her family have been put through, and so grateful.

Slava Ukraini!

2 Comments so far
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Wow what a connection.
Your investment was so worth it.
Thanks for sharing that

Comment by Lisa R-R 07.08.24 @ 5:48 pm

How wonderful! I’m sure your support and love for her work means so much to her.

Comment by ccr in MA 07.09.24 @ 10:10 am

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