Monday, June 12, 2006

Going In
Bead Embroidery Turtle
by Lisa Binkley
Lisa Binkley took a basic bead embroidery techniques class from me at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago a couple of years ago. She immediately grasped the possibilities, and began making the techniques her own! Going In is her first major piece, and totally gratifying to me as a teacher. She combines quilting, thread embroidery and bead embroidery in an amazing creation, one that is extremely rich in detail and at the same time compelling from afar.

In this picture of the turtle, you can see that the head, feet and tail are thread embroidery, whereas the shell is all bead embroidery. The thing I most like about the shell is that it is both realistic and fanciful. Unlike an ordinary creature, this special turtle carries a sun and the interface between water and sky on its back!

If you spend a little time looking at all the elements in the above detail shot of the turtle's foot, you can see Lisa's skill at using beads and threads both independently and mixed in the same motif. To my eyes, it's amazing!

I also want to share with you what Lisa says about her turtle: "Going In is a meditation and a celebration. All of my life I have identified with turtles—being quiet, slow, deliberate, and loving and feeling at home in places where land and water meet. The turtle in this embroidery is literally “going in” to the water. By being alert, quiet, and patient, the turtle is also going within itself, realizing its oneness with the land, water, plants, and rocks around it."

The two images above show Lisa's ability to create variations on a motif and technique. Each of the circles in the border of Going In has its own distinctive pattern, yet the techniques are few and simple. I admire her work so much, and am delighted she allowed me to share it with you!

As some of you may want to know more, here are the specs:

Title: Going In
Date: Completed 10/05
Dimensions: 15” x 15” x ½”
Materials: Beads, hand-dyed silk and pearl cotton threads, nylon beading thread, cotton fabrics, wool batting
Techniques: Machine pieced and quilted fabrics; hand embroidered beads and threads


  1. It must have been a meditative experience for her to make this beautiful piece.
    It is so interesting to read from the teacher's perspective!

  2. Simply amazing multimedia!

  3. This piece was my choice for the Best in Houston! I just loved it & thought of you, wondering if she had been your student! I also loved your brother's piece too! Such a wonderfully small world.

  4. Astonishingly beautiful. Jen

  5. Fabulous! I love the circles that are built up and the colors are gorgeous too. I am going to need to stock up on adjectives to talk about everyone's work. Thank you for sharing with us Robin and Lisa!


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