Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Improvisational bead embroidery - October Bead Journal Project
One picturesque sea-side town (with more neat little shops, galleries and eateries than just about anywhere) is La Conner, WA! Plus, they have a fabulous Quilt Museum! On September 29th, a couple of my quilt-sisters and I went there to see the annual Quilt Festival shows. WOW! Especially awesome was the exhibit of "Blue Ribbon Winners" from around the country, with only quilts that had won numerous awards in shows... the best of the best. And they were!
Besides that, there were vendors... which brings me to my October BJP page... Until then I didn't have a clue what to do for October. But in one vendor's stall, I spied some lovely, carved-bone buttons and pendants. Picking up a goddess figure pendant and a heart, I said quietly to myself, "I love my body."
This, of course, has never been true. I've always struggled (rather lamely) with my weight, plus I have naturally heavy legs. I've hated my body for as long as I can remember.
In July, Angela Plager was working on Threshold (her July BJP piece) and making a determination to change some of her habits... making a commitment to exercise and healthy eating. Both her beadwork and her commitment resonated with me in a huge way. We had some email correspondence, and I decided to join her from a distance.
As of August 1st, I've given up eating sugar in the form of pastries and deserts. I still eat fruit and occasionally sweetened sauces, but no other sweets. Also I've started to walk every day. I live at the top of a 500 ft. ridge. Nearly every day since August 1, I've walked up and down that hill. On the second day of walking, I found a feather, thought about setting my body free from its extra load, and saved it. This isn't about loosing weight, although I have lost 10 pounds... It's about RESPECT... respect and love for the body that was dealt to me by the hands of birth. Thank you, Angela, for this amazing wisdom!
Back to October's BJP... So, I'm at this Quilt Show, I buy the goddess and heart pendants, and another vendor gives me a little sample of batik fabric. Immediately I know that I will use the pendants, the feather and the fabric sample for my October piece, which will be a respectful tribute to my body. At the top of the post, you can see the key components. Below is my finished October page.
Below is a close up picture of the bottom of the piece. See the three dark pieces surrounded by beaded bezels? They are ancient, fossilized, pieces of turtle shell, given to me by a friend who found them excavating a river-bed in Florida. I don't know why I used them or what is their relevance to this piece, but I love that they are here!
Here is the poem I wrote while working on this piece. I was teaching a 2-day improv. bead embroidery class, and always write poems on the second day with my students:
I am celebrating my body today!
My bones, the feeling of age –
memory aids and breath mints –
rulers and good light –
earthy colors, spiral, curve of a feather –
all of these (and more)
are celebrating my body right now!
Even constant and irritating fan noise,
snippets of thread and technical difficulties
contribute in some way
to joyful celebration and respect
for the goddess within my body.
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My one and only husband, Robert, besides being the man of my dreams for the past 10 years, is also quite an exceptional photographer. He's been snapping pictures since he was a child, getting better and better with the wisdom of age and the practice of gazillions of photos. Initially, he worked in black and white, always doing his own darkroom work. Now, with his digital cameras and Photoshop CS3, he's a big color fan.
Here are two of his recent photos to tempt you to take a look at his NEW blog, started just a week ago... no words... just lots of eye candy!
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Out of the blue a few weeks ago I got an email from Tatiana, a young and passionate beadworker from Russia. She said she was starting a new website, Magic Beads, and wanted to interview me for an article. Yup, I said, sure I'll answer your questions. Well, what a pleasure it was to see the interview (here) and read the English translations of the interviews she did with other well-known bead artists. I'm sending her a copy of One Bead at a Time... maybe if we do a BJP next year, she will join us!