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Friday, March 2, 2012

Artist inspirations, part 2

"Everlasting Flower Of Fire"

Jessica Maria Taylor squash blossom necklace


I dedicate this blogpost to my little sister Jéssica María Taylor who lives in Louisiana. Jéssica is a very gifted artist and a beautiful person who inspires many. She is abundantly filled with the spirit of life. She is truly one of a kind.

Jéssica speaks many languages: English, Spanish, Hindi, Creole, Cajun French, Haitan. She even speaks a little Anishinaabemowin. Her colorful paintings speak an intense, yet universal language that everybody understands. Some of her canvases are optimistic, full of life, and mystically bright with dazzling colors; others reflect darkness and despair.

But where Jéssica goes, the sun shines.

To me, she is ishkode waawaabigonii: a Flower of Fire.

The above is a painting that Jéssica spontaneously made of herself last year after I showed her an image of a jewelry set I designed: a squash blossom necklace and matching earrings. The name of the set is Gaagige Bimaadiziwin-Shkode ('Everlasting Fire Of Life') - See detail below. The design of the pendant is inspired on a sacred Midewiwin chant that roughly translates into:

“The flower Of Fire
Will come to my aid”


Originally it is part of a sacred love song about a man presenting an ishkodebagonii (cardinal flower) to his love but since I am her brother I gave it a slightly different interpretation for the occasion.

> Read part 3 of the series.


About me and my sources of inspiration:

ZhaawanArt Trouwringen Design necklace
My name is Zhaawano Giizhik.  I am an American currently living in the Netherlands. As an artist and jewelry designer, I like to draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. For this I call on my  'Spirit Memory'; which means I try to remember the knowledge and the lessons of my ancestors. The MAZINAAJIMOWIN or ‘pictorial spirit writings’ - which are rich with symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many  generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.


  1. A lovely tribute to a gifted & talented artist, Jessica Maria, who truly is inspired by your breathtaking Native American designs. Your craftsmanship stands the testament of time and reflects your artistic nature honoring the Ojibwe. Which is translated as Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, and Ojibway. The Anishinaabe ancestors from the Great Lakes area. Many to be found today in Michigan, Canada, and the surroundings areas of the United States.

  2. Thank you, Gloria. As you yourself are an artist - and of Anishinaabe descent as well - you will know that every artist looks for aadizookaan, or aadizookaanag (muses), for inspiration. Behind every creator there is an aadizookaan in the shadows, but few get the attention they deserve. My little sister Jessica definitely deserves to be in the sunlight - both as an artist and as an inspiration to other artists.