Saturday, December 30, 2006

Six Word Stories

Browsing blogland, I found two wonderful (new to me) blogs: Juju Loves Polkadots, which is as fun and artful as its name, and Tounge in Cheek, which is where I got the idea for this post. Between the two of them, three and a half hours passed in pure bliss.

The idea of six word stories is explained here. It's based on Ernest Hemmingway's story:

"For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

Think about it... that's quite a story for just six words! Corey Amaro added to the idea, making it "snapshots and stories in six words".

Accepting the challenge, I decided to call it "my art assignment" for the day... here are the results:

Child in tulip field, photo by Robin Atkins
 Lady with Candle, collage by Robin Atkins,detail
San Juan Channel, photo by Robin Atkins
Syrian wedding dress, photo by Robin Atkins
Grave marker in Native American graveyard, photo by Robin Atkins
Storm damaged tree on our property, photo by Robin Atkins
Mia's grave marker and deer, photo by Robert Demar

My photographer husband says this is cheating... that these are one thousand and six word stories. He has a point. Who cares... it's been a fun afternoon. I'd love to see your interpretations of snapshots and stories in six words (or 1000 + 6 words, if you prefer)!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

painted paper for Christmas cards by Robin Atkins

Merry Christmas
& Have a Beady New Year!

While visiting my nearly-90-year-old Mom in Minnesota a few weeks ago, we occupied the craft room in her assisted living home for a few days and painted a bunch of papers. Later, we cut up the papers and pasted them on blank cards, which we rubber stamped with our Christmas greetings. It was great fun to play with her like that, and she enjoyed it too! Wish I had pictures of us working to show you, but we were too covered with paint and having too much fun for picture taking. Below are a few of the ones I did... I'm just showing the painted part, not the whole card.

painted paper for Christmas cards by Robin Atkins

painted paper for Christmas cards by Robin Atkins
painted paper for Christmas cards by Robin Atkins

painted paper for Christmas cards by Robin Atkins
Christmas painting, acrylic on drawing paper, by Robin Atkins
This last one isn't a card. It's actually a full sized painting, which I've since framed. It reminds me of the nicer aspects of our recent snow storm (here and here).

earrings by Robin Atkins, bead artist
I have two favorite pairs of Christmas earrings. I made these stars (origami - folding strips of paper - here are instructions) into earrings, and have a necklace to match as well.

earrings by Robin Atkins, bead artist
These are my other favorite Christmas earrings. I'm sorry that I can't recall the name of the woman in Edmonds, WA who made these lampwork beads years ago. I don't know if she's still making beads or not. Anybody recognize them? She didn't have two Santas, so I made them different. I love that they don't match, and always enjoy wearing them.
Note added on 1-30-07: The beads in these earrings and the fibula pin below were made by Marjorie Burr and she's still making beads! When I knew her (around 1994), she was still teaching school, but looking forward to retirement and a new career making beads. Seems she's done it!

fibula pin by Robin Atkins, bead artist
Here is a Christmas fibula pin I made years ago with beads by the same person as the earrings above. I mostly wear it on a black fleece coat, but sometimes move it onto a sweater.

beaded panel on leather box by Anna Feher
Over the years, some of my beady friends have made me some really wonderful beaded gifts. This is a woven (peyote stitch) panel, which is mounted on a black leather box. My bead sister, Anna Feher in Hungary made it for me.

rabbit Christmas ornament by Janet Briggs
Here is my favorite beady gift from this year... an ornament featuring my totem animal (rabbit), made by Janet. This is really special for many reasons. First, I LOVE it... and second, it blows me away that a blogging friend whom I've never met would know me well enough to send such a totally me gift!

My brother, Thom, and I often exchange hand-made gifts. This year, in addition to sending a gorgeous wreath, he and his wife made us three snowflake ornaments, which I've hung in our kitchen window.

beaded snowflake by Thom Atkins
beaded snowflake by Thom Atkins
My Christmas wish for you:

May your holiday season be filled with the spirit of play,
and may the new year bring you many blessings of
peace, love, friendship, family, health,
creativity and more play!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bead Embroidery & Cloisonne ~
Pin/Wall Hanging Combination

by Karen Cohen

Bead embroidery and cloisonne by Karen Cohen
If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember seeing bead embroidery (here and here) by Karen Cohen, who is primarily an enamel artist. In the last year, Karen has added bead embroidery to her considerable skills and is now combining the two. Here is a bead embroidered wall hanging, which serves as a "frame" for her triangular cloisonne pin. (The pin is removable when you want to wear it rather than see it on the wall). Don't you think she's done a grand job of blending the two art forms? Here you can see a larger image of this piece.

Storms Keeping Us Busy

I wanted to start this post on an up note, turning the attention from our weather-related hardships back to beads and art. However, it feels important to explain my long silence. Since our snow storm three weeks ago (see here and here) and more recent extreme high wind storms, we've been focused on repairs and fixes around our 5-acre property (on San Juan Island, WA). This has been very unusual weather for us with temps well below freezing, very high winds, record precipitation. Here is some of what we've been dealing with.

Many fallen trees and branches, photo by Robin Atkins

Trees and branches down... all over the place, some caused by the weight of the snow, others by the wind. Much chainsaw work is needed.

Fallen tree on trash shed, photo by Robin Atkins

Fortunately, no trees fell on our house, but one nailed our garbage storage shed.

Prone fir lost upright trunk, photo by Robin Atkins

One of my favorite trees, a huge, mostly prone fir, along the trail to the studio, lost it's only upright limb. I guess the good news is that we have lots of firewood for the next year or so.

Hauling branches to burn pile, photo by Robin Atkins

Once the useable parts of fallen trees get bucked-up for firewood, we have to haul the remainder to an open area where we can burn it. This is the first burn getting started.

First burn pile underway, photo by Robin Atkins

Here is Robert feeding our first all-day burn. We roasted hot dogs in the coals later that night! We'll probably need at least three more burns like this before things begin to look normal around here.

Shattered plumbing connection, photo by Robin Atkins

The other thing that happened is damage to our plumbing. Our property is on rock and at an elevation of about 500 feet, making a well expensive, if we could even find water. So we collect rain from the roof of the garage, house and studio in large cisterns. From the cisterns it is pumped to the house. The pump and outside plumbing are very vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Normally they are protected by heat lamps (in the pump houses) and heat tape (on the pipes). But with the temperatures 8-12 degrees F. and our power out for 48 hours during the snow storm, there was unavoidable damage. This picture shows one of the shattered pipe connections for the studio.

Old and new pump parts, photo by Robin Atkins

The pump for the house cracked. Robert ordered and installed a new pump, but unfortunately, the replacemet pump had a defective impeller. For 5 days he experimented with it, trying to get the system working. And, of course, we had no running water during this time. Finally he took apart the new pump and the cracked pump, and using parts from both made one that works! Running water is SUCH a blessing!!!

There you have it. I intent to return to beading and more frequent blogging soon. In the meantime, please don't give up on me, and thanks for your moral support!