African Mask (1926)

I went to a garage sale to find the next item. A man sat at a table in the back of his garage while I perused his stuff. It was late in the day, garage sales close down early in Arizona because of the heat, and no other patron was present when I arrived. I looked around, taking my time to touch a few things on one of the tables. Occasionally something will call to me so I’m never in a hurry.
I spied a shelf, down low near the floor of the garage, that had some masks on it. These drew me right over. Some were from Kenya and others from different places. I squatted down and was checking them out, one by one, asking the price and origin of each. There was a green one that looked like a dragon, from China, that I focused on but when I held it, nothing came to me so I put it down. At this point, from over my left shoulder, I heard a man’s voice. Another would be buyer had shown up. I didn’t look at him as he knelt beside me and started doing the same thing I was. He picked up a few masks and asked the same questions I did. This was where I felt him, his energy got stronger as it came at me (we were nearly elbow to elbow) “Desire,” that’s the word I got when I felt his vibration. We handed masks back and forth,”Hey, check out the back of this one,” “Feel the weight of this one, it’s heavier than the rest.”
I took a mask in hand, one of the heavy ones, and slowly walked over to the man behind the table when from out of nowhere the other guy grabs the mask right out of my hand and offers the homeowner more money than he’d asked if he could take the two of them. I was dumbfounded. I was pissed. The exchange that followed, and ended with me having the mask back in my hand, was full of colorful expletives that flowed from my mouth. Now I may be tall and lean, but I’m no pushover.
One thing I didn’t do was to make eye contact with this guy during the exchange. I never got in his face or threatened him. I have a good idea of what I can do and never use it unnecessarily on anyone.
There was obviously a reason for the exchange. I was there at the exact moment that man arrived and was in the exact location for the whole thing to take place. The only thing I can figure is that I did him a favor by knocking him down a notch. His arrogance, self-righteousness, judgmental actions (probably based on the way I was dressed, I’d just gotten off of a job and it was messy) led him to believe that I was going to put up with him, or at least scurry away. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but meek isn’t one of them.
So that’s how I got this mask, I wonder what it’ll show me…
A dark skinned man, he’s working under a roughly built shelter with a grass or straw roof. There are many men there doing the same thing as him, carving masks for the master.
These men don’t speak English and the tools they use are very simple. They wear long red skirts that are just above the ground and no shoes.
There are lions that live nearby, the men see them almost daily.
This mask is only one style, there are many different ones being worked on. Some are much taller and others are more squat and round.
They use grass or straw to pack the masks up in boxes when they are completed.
They start out with blocks of wood. They carry stacks of them on their heads, taken off the back of a truck. I see the man’s hands as he runs them over the piece of wood he was given. The backs are dark black and his palms are powdery white.
They have different stations to work at. The rough shaping is done at a table. They use what looks like a piece of chalk t draw the outline of what the mask will look like. There is a finished mask that they use for a pattern.
 The man draws it very carefully, where the eyes will go and the mouth. He’s talking, another man comes over to help him with something. They have a too to mark distance, like a compass, it’s only two sticks that are held together tightly, bound with string or twine. After the shape is traced the eyes are marked for location with an X. Then the mouth and the nose last. The helping man pats him on the back and then returns to his own station where he’s putting the finishing touches on his own mask.
I disrupted the flow here by picking up the mask and examining it. I got so into the scene that my mind kicked in. This is the first time I might actually learn a skill through psychometry so I got a little excited.
Looking at a flower mesmerizes you because of its natural beauty, it needs no explanation or searching. An item that was crafted has a story. there are threads attached to it that lead to the craftsman and anyone else that formed an emotional attachment to it after it’s creation. Perhaps it was a gift from a loved one. After that loved one has moved far away or passed on to the next life the thread becomes stronger.
I’ll look for some answers, specific ones, to learn as much of the story of this mask as I can.  Who, who made it?
One man takes the block of wood, he’s young, he does all the rough shaping because he’s new at this. An older man shows him how to trace the shape onto the block, “Don’t cut off too much, ” he’s told in his own language.
The wood is dense and hard to cut. He turns it on its edge and uses a heavy blade And something to hit it with. (the blade looks like a machete that’s been cut short and ground down. (I can’t see a hammer at this stage, I think he just swings the blade)
     What was his name?   Ooday, (spelled phonetically) Ooday was the young apprentice woodworker.
     Where in Africa are they?   South, way south. The word “Johnsburg” comes.
     When, when was this mask made? “1926” comes as words.
The old man watches Ooday work. He warns him that if he cuts himself it won’t heal…

The Next Thing

DSC_0259After work today, I decided to take the long way home. As I drove a fluorescent yellow sign that said, “Garage Sale” came into view. Since I made some money and still had it in my pocket, I decided to follow the signs and see what I could find.

When I got out of my truck and wondered under the carport where a few tables were set up, nothing caught my eye at first. I looked at the old coats that were hanging on a makeshift rack and the pieces of horse tack that lie on the edge of a sparsely covered table. Nothing caught my fancy.

After I perused what I thought was everything they had to offer, I spied some knick knacks that were off to the side. A turquoise and silver necklace caught my eye but didn’t keep my attention. Then I saw a small piece of china about the size of a sugar bowl. It had a repeating oriental scene with some flowers in between. I didn’t even check it for cracks or chips, it just felt like what I was looking for. I gave the woman who was running the sale a dollar and thanked her. She only wanted fifty cents for it but I insisted it was worth every penny to me.

I took it home and cleaned it up with some steel wool. An unidentifiable substance had built up around the upper rim and made it unsightly. There is a stamp on the bottom that says “Made in China” in English and some words in Chinese directly below it. Now comes the fun part. I get to see what this little Asian bowl tells me…

I see a wooden shelf, long, made of a single plank. It’s not painted and looks a bit shotty. There are many bowls on this shelf, arranged in order. It’s in a small shop. A short Asian woman picks out the bowl and the shopkeeper wraps it in brown paper. She pays for it with strange looking money. The bills are large and there is a face printed on them, in the center. “China Town” comes as words.

Next, I see the bowl in a hutch, behind a glass door.  It is displayed with other nice things, some plates and silver spoons. It has a shallow domed lid and is part of a tea set. (I can’t see the whole set) “40’s or 50’s” comes as words. A dark haired woman from Jerico (NY) owns it.

I learned something about what I do from this little bowl. I didn’t get much on it and after I did my original reading and typed out most of this post, I tried again to see if I could get a little more but it didn’t feel the same. After I tried to research it I became acquainted with it. Once I was acquainted with it, my connection to it became stronger than the past connection I tapped into, overpowered it in a sense. My thread became stronger than the previous one. That’s how I interpret it anyway…