Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bead Journal Project ~ My June Page

Bead Journal Project, June's page by Robin Atkins, Bead Artist
I deliberated for a long time about showing this, and finally decided to go ahead. The subject of my June journal page is quite personal... I'm turning 65 in September and find that I'm in denial about it.

A few of my goals for the BJP are: to play with layers, to not cover the entire surface with beads, to experiment with using text, and to use a visual journaling approach (whatever that means). So June began with sewing a scrap of fabric left over from making a spirit doll to another piece of fabric. Next I wrote in permanent black ink on the red fabric. Here's was it says:

I am facing a wall of denial.
I don't want to accept my age.
I don't want to be a senior citizen.
Youth and youthfulness ~ I can't go back.
The clock keeps ticking.
It's a wall.

Bead Journal Project, June's page (detail) by Robin Atkins, Bead Artist
I guess that's journaling, eh? Here's a detail that shows the writing. I thought it was quite brave to write on my piece and allow it to show!

After writing and before beading it, I expected the piece to be either full of rage or dark and gloomy. No such thing happened, as you can see. Almost all of my work on it was done in my Mom's assisted living place in MN. She commented that just past the "wall," there seems to be a great profusion of fun and beauty (the flowers). I don't really trust it will be like that yet, but working on the piece seems to have set me at ease a bit. It seems to be "saying" that it is all just a journey, and that 65 is simply a marker along the way.

Bead Journal Project, June's page (back side) by Robin Atkins, Bead Artist
Here's a picture of the back. I'm showing this because of the "finishing" discussion on the BJP blog. As you can see, I use paper (acid-free interleaving paper) as a stabilizer for my work, to keep it from puckering. When I finish the beading, I tear away the edges of the paper and fold the fabric edges to the back, tacking them in place with small stitches. Then, for this piece, I beaded a picot edge stitch around the outer edge.

Eventually, I may paint, embellish, and write on a water color paper postcard (4"x6") to glue on the back of the piece using PVA bookbinder's glue. Before I do that, I need to decide what I'm going to do with my 12 journal pages, and if I want to attach them to each other or some other thing. If that's the case, I might want to sandwich some attachment device between the beaded piece and the postcard.

Right now, I should be preparing to teach at the Puget Sound Bead Festival next week, but all I really want to do is to work on my July piece. It's nearly finished already! By the way, short notice... but I still have openings in all four of my classes. Also, becuase a couple of you have asked... yes, I will have autographed copies of my books for sale at the "Meet the Teachers" event and in my classroom.


  1. I love your journal page, Robin. Me, I'm still working on my June page, but I promise I'll catch up. Speaking of moms, the reason I'm running late is that I spent a lot of time searching for a theme until it hit me... My mother was an artist, and some of my most precious possessions are her sketchbooks. So each of my pages is going to be based on one of her sketches.

  2. Robin, I am glad I keep checking your blog. I really like your page. I think it is the epitome of what this project is about, from the heart art. Thank you for sharing it with all of us, I think it will be great inspiration for the all of us.

  3. Your journal page is EXCELLENT, and so colourful, too! I also loved seeing that back of the piece..:D

  4. Your page just seems so celebratory to reminds me a lot of what gloria steinem said when they told her she didn't "look sixty"...oh yes, she said, "THIS IS what sixty looks like!"

  5. Even with Rosie, The Caged Hen, I'm always a bit surprised when you use this color palatte. I'm not sure why. Got lost a couple of times looking at all the stuff connected with your page, and looking at the Puget Sound Bead Festival. I see Nancy Zellers is to be there, if you see her will you say hi for me. Haven't seen her in ages and she lives 15 to 20 minutes from here. Shame could be my name, but I deny it too.

    Loved your piece for June. Mine for July is bouncing in my head, but my eyes won't let me do it yet! Ah, well. They are getting better.

  6. It is an amazing piece. And I guess I am not even talking about the beadwork, we know you can bead. It is the depth of who you are that I find amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Wow, I love the colors and the age/time details. I particularly loved the watch face...made me think about my upcoming birthday and how I haven't even wanted to think about it. Thank you very much also for showing the back of the project and tips on how to finish the piece. You are very inspiring :)

  8. Great journal page. 65 is just a number which I hit last March. Once I got over the Medicare card-which says the government thinks I'm old-it's been great. There's a freedom that comes with age.

  9. Hi Robin,

    I love, love your piece! The bold colors, the details, but MOST of all the sentiment :o) Thank you for deciding to share it with us and also for explaining how to do the backing with a photo. This will help me so much since I haven't beaded in this way until now.

    Thank you again for putting this BJP together. It has been a wonderful addition to my "new life" :o)

    You're an inspiration, Lillian

  10. Oh this is so wonderful. I loved the poem and wow!!! how appropriate for the work you have done. What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your work with us. BTW I can't wait to feel the freedom that is mentioned in one of the posts. I'm on my way.....4 1/2 yrs to go. :)

  11. I am only turning 54 this year but I feel that scary "old" thing too. In my family including in-laws, there are none of our parents or their generation left. WE have become the old (supposed wise) generation and I just am not ready yet, like you I still want to spread my wings and blossom and shout "I'm not through here yet! Let me sing and dance and live it up still!" Hope you have a wonderful break through year.

  12. The colours are amazing! They are hot and vibrant! I find that if we don't celebrate our milestones, then we end up mourning them - and who wants to do that! Thanks for sharing!!
    Cheers, Denise

  13. robin... am so glad you decided to show us your work! It is a inspiration for us all to keep plogging along with our pages... I am turning 60 in Nov... and am having a hard time concepting this idea of being at that age! I hope you keep sharing your journel with us...

  14. Robin --

    I turned 67 this past May, in fact two days after I signed up for the BJP. You know what? I am having the time of my life, finally able to spend hours and hours doing all the things I love to do -- and it's great.

    Age numbers are just that. Not anything else. So long as you are young at heart and spirit, the numbers don't mean a darn thing!

    Love this piece of yours for June. Just started my June piece last night . . .

    Kathy V in NM

  15. The colors in this piece are so bold and vibrant that it almost seems as if you've already decided that 65 isn't all bad. Age is just a number in our mind. Just concentrate on how old you think you are. There are days when I swear I'm 15 again and then others when I think I'm 90!! But they're all good in their own way. I'm close on your heels as I will turn 64 this Sept.

    (I'm actually beading an art doll now!)

  16. Robin, this is just fantastic -- I could "read" it without your explaining -- now that really says something. I love your subtle change in direction. Funny about age -- 50 bothered me for a short while -- 65 just meant I now had medicare -- 70 was just another day -- but this year it will be 72 and this is stressing me somewhat -- not for the number but the knowledge that well -- we won't go there. I only came to beading last September -- so less than a year, but I must say this is such a positive thing - and I thank you, Robin, BeadBabe and my friend Lynn who have all been so supportive and helpful -- beading is wonderful. And to all you ladies contemplating the big 6 5 (or already there), it has been said here before, it is only a number -- be thankful we get up each morning -- have friends and beading and if you smile a lot, you keep everyone guessing LOL.

    BeadinGram / aka Jackie/IL

  17. Many Thanks to all of YOU for your encouragement, support and wisdom... you make my journey into senior land much smoother ;>)

    Blessing to all of you... Robin

  18. I am glad you shared it.
    I was having a problem turning 54, but decided that my July piece would honor and celebrate that. It is helping me with it. Because of my decision to celebrate my BD it just doesn't feel as scary anymore.
    To me your piece looks happy and joyful.

  19. Anonymous5:18 PM

    What a beautiful piece! And speaking of hitting that particular wall, I worked out with a (young) lady today who was dithering about whether to celebrate hers because the number bothered her so. She'll be 33!! I guess we just keep having to deal with it. Thank you so much for sharing this piece and this part of your journey. I found out about BJP too late to join in this year, so I started "practicing" to be in next year's. There will be a next year, right?

  20. I'm right behind you, Robin. Turned 64 in April. You know the old saying "You are only as old as you feel". I've decided I don't want to grow up. Totally shocked my gransons the other day when they found out that Gram dances to rap music. Where I work we have dances for our participants. They love it when this old woman gets out there and dances with them.

    Love your June page. Must be something about the colors. LOL
    This has been such a wonderful experience for me. Thank you from the bottom of this old heart.

  21. Robin thank you for sharing your piece but most of all thank you for sharing your feelings. You see there are others out there who are just like you. I am approaching 49 and it's not bothering me but when I say 50, that's another thing. Anyway, the colors are "juicy", vibrant and playful. I love it. Happy Birthday to you.

  22. What a wonderful piece! I love all the layers and the incorporation of writing! Your work and creative vision are amazing!

    And thank you so much for the photo of the back! As one of the "finishing" people :) I really appreciate seeing how your beautiful beadwork is finished off.

  23. I don't think of 65 as an age, but as a speed limit!

    I found it interesting that you decided to try *not* to completely cover your journal page in beads. I like the idea of writing directly onto the fabric too. Glad you ultimately decided to share your work with us. Will will be and have been edified by it. Thank you.

  24. I love your piece, Robin. It really radiates playfulness and life for me! I have a birthday in September also- I'll be 42. You are the coolest Robin--- you bead and ride bikes!!! not to mention so engaged in the art community-creating, sharing. What an inspiration!!

  25. This is so joyous and fun! You may be denying 65, but somewhere inside you are having a wonderful time with it. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    And thanks for showing the back side. I would not have thought of folding the edges and maybe sewing a picot edge. It looks really beautiful that way, and very finished.

  26. Wow when I read you would be turning 65, because you don't look your age...or however one is supposed to look at any March I turned 58 & I still feel the same, just even younger at heart...we all wear our age in a different form, all depends on how we lived, where we lived, how are health has been through the years...but really we are "all as young as we feel"...soon as you feel really old, then you will be just that very old...& by your beading work Robin I would say that you are going to be a "rockin'65" your colors, design all reflect a pretty colorful don't worry 65 will be good for you & 70 will be even better!!! Rockin'at 58!!! JoTee

  27. I once heard aging described as "saging," the ability to grow old with wisdom, knowledge, spirit, and a sense of freedom.

    I liked the comment about 65 being a speed limit! That got a chuckle out of me.

  28. Robin:
    What a particularly joyful piece. You are not alone in what you are feeling. No of us wants to think that youth is behind us! I am fine if I don;t look in the mirror ! YYou and your art are amazing !

  29. Robin, this is your new parameters (leaving space unbeaded), and your fearless exploration of self via your artform. The flowers beyond the wall are a potent symbol. Your mom is one smart cookie!

    I look in the mirror and see the jowls forming and my neck sagging and it just makes me laugh. As long as I am healthy I can think it's funny....

    Lead on, Robin! I'm not participating (being so enmeshed in my crazy quilt obsessions) but sure enjoy watching this project!

  30. I'm glad you chose to share this, Robin. I think the realities of aging hit us all from time to time, even if the particular milestone varies.

    Your work is lovely, as always. I am glad I didn't give in to temptation to join this project - I'm over scheduled as it is these days - but I do enjoy seeing some of the work people have done.

  31. Great piece! I love the brightness, reminds me of pots of zinnas I have on my proch, always brings a smile.

  32. Anonymous11:34 AM

    It goes without saying that I admire your June page tremendously, including the rhythm of the stitches showing on the back. Thanks for letting us see it!

    About age - funnily enough, I have never had a problem with growing older (turned 65 last October), I invariably consider myself a "BEST AGER". What's a senior citizen? Just a word, just a silly label. Who can classify what you are at any time? Your own standards are what counts. Yours is an exceptional personality, full of life, love and talent and vigor - just continue the way you are (which I am sure you will anyhow).

    Blessings, Sabine

  33. Your beadwork is amazing as always.
    As far as worrying about turning 65, I just hope I make it that far. Look at it this way, it beats the alternative.
    Celebrate every day!

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  35. At the library, I can see your beautiful site. It is, you are, an inspiration.
    I feel like a kid on Christmas eve, waiting for the Slumlords summit conference.

  36. I love this gloriously bright and intense piece - it's really beautiful and so full of life - it really does look like a celebration to me. Thanks for sharing your personal revelations with us.

  37. To All ~ How can I adequately thank all of you for your comments and support about this piece and my issues around aging? You have given me such a brighter outlook!!! I'm going to sail into being 65 so easily now... Hugs to all! Robin

  38. Well, from a spectator's point of view... this piece tells me you are YOUNG at the core, vibrant in spirit, fun as cotton candy, and lighthearted as only you can be. You are so original. Thank you for giving us the gift of the BJP. I know I am on quite a journey and this early in the game I am totally surprised by the personal reflection/insight that has already been granted to me. Thank you so very much for your support and for posting to my blog in reference to my beady adventures. I'm thrilled to be on this trip!


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!