Friday, February 01, 2008

Bead embroidery ~ bead journal project ~ January finished

I'm excited to show you this piece! It's an abstract portrait. About 15 years ago, I beaded several abstract portraits of people who are very dear to me. It was fun to try it again for my Bead Journal Project piece for January. Here it is...

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, January piece
I'm very curious about what might be evident about the subject of this portrait to the viewers of my work. Will you help me out by giving me your impressions?

First of all, is this a male or female? Secondly, is the person a child, young adult or older adult? And, finally, what does the portrait suggest about the character of this person to you?

Please give me your best guesses and don't be concerned about right answers, as all answers will have true relevance. For example, even the eldest among us still has an inner child... and even the most feminine person has masculine elements to her personality. By the way, the image is clickable... click on the picture to see more detail in a slightly larger version.

I will reveal everything about the subject of this portrait in a few days. Thanks soooo much!


  1. the teaser pic on the BJP blog felt more obviously female to me. Now I am less clear but do have a sense that this is somebody who gives and receives a lot of joy and nourishment but don't have a sense if that is a primary personal relationship you hold with them or if it's "bigger" in terms of how you view their entire self-world relationship. Also wasn't sure if that was a crown or old fashioned jester's cap ...

  2. Anonymous10:51 AM

    I sense an older female perhaps coming out of a depression or dark time in their lives. I get a feeling of hope becoming more dominant.Perhaps they are becoming more in touch with their positive feelings.

    It gives me a feeling of being reborn somehow.


  3. After looking at this for about 20 minutes I'm going to say it feels like an older woman to me too...mostly because of the light pink background to the heart...and the big heart says she was a loving and kind person (who liked chocolate...somehow the "crown" looks like bits of chocolate to me, LOL)!
    And surely she loved to grow flowers?

  4. I'd also say older female, rather flamboyent personality.

    There are both cheerful and dark elements, but there's that little bird sitting up there, so I think optimism predominates.

  5. I would say this is a friend, a female friend and that you are "birds of a feather" She is a queen with deep roots. You have traveled different paths but still your are linked together through common bonds.

    Wow this is difficult. I do see a lot of growth, wisdom (the circles of time) and love in this work.

  6. Wow, Roots and Wings. The roots are quite dark. The dark rays are interesting against the pink. I think it's both male and female and I think the roots are important. I find the heart and the sun rays and the bird very cool but I don't know how to interpret it. I guess I'm not that great at that part. But I like it. I like the ruffle and the yellow sequins and I love the peyote rainbow around the heart. Very cool.
    Cheers, Denise

  7. Hi Robin, I'm not a BJPer but I hope you don't mind me joining in. Before I read any other comments here are my impressions. I'm not sure if it is a male or female. I lean very slightly towards female and I think it is the bird that takes me that way (I don't know why that is!).
    I think the person is older but full of jois de vivre. This person is big hearted and giving but very grounded.

    Oh! and passionate.


  8. Female, older, rooted, joyful, loving, flowers and birds have a big influance in life. The crown points (2 green, one blue and one red) tell me the person is a big part of your life, close family member or very dear friend.

  9. I see a female with a huge and loving heart, deep roots mean steadfastness to me, and they have been around in the same spot in your life for a long time. The strands of love shooting all over make think this person is not careful about loving and needs to be taken care of a lot even though they are willing to love others just as much. So, how long is a few days?

  10. Gee, I thought it was the Statue of Liberty with a welcoming heart and a crown with points of many colors representing the people that immigrate here, putting down roots to grow deep; with a bird of peace..... then I read the other comments.

    Always fun to hear how others see things.

    Dee D.

  11. To all ~ Thanks so much for your impressions. I appreciate the time you've given to thinking and writing about it sooooo much.

    Mary ~ How 'bout a week maximum? Or, like popping popcorn in the microwave, when a count of three passes without a pop?

    Coral-seas ~ Of course! You and any other reader (not only BJPers) are MOST welcome to give your impressions!

  12. Hmmm...! The first thing I get is "king of my heart." It looks like this is someone deeply rooted in and of the earth. I would guess that this person's heart sings and maybe makes your heart sing, as well. There is a lot of joy and movement in here -- and I really love the little birds! There are a lot of ruffles and pinks, but I'm not sure that necessarily means the subject is female... You really seem to capture the feeling of fun and playfulness, too.

  13. My overall impression is that this image represents your mother . . .

    Kathy V in NM

  14. The first thing I see is sunshine inside a heart. To me this is a youthful female, making roots in her life & having a good time while living!

  15. Anonymous5:40 AM

    Hello, Robin,

    Thank you for spoiling us with a blog post a day!

    I just made a lengthy comment which I lost due to technical incompetence.

    Well, I will try again:

    I take it you made your piece with a certain person in mind, not the other way round, i.e. that you made it and then thought: Oh, this could fit So-and-so.

    Judging by the lager part of the colour scheme, I think the person is femal. (However, this is a very conventional guess, guided by the pinks and reds.)

    All heart, loving, embracing, always ready to help, outgoing.

    The dark part below the heart suggests to me unfathomable depths that this person is unwilling to reveal, and which you will not penetrate. Depths that are very likely contrary to her outward personality.

    The little bird may show that this person is talkative and playful.

    The elongated triangles above the heart are difficult for me, for the simple reason that they are dark. To me they seem like rays and antennas in one. I will say that the person stands in life firmly on her two feet, sending out lots of signals, and at the same time collecting and absorbing whatever comes from without.

    Right, I hope my post will be saved this time, and I will now treat myself to reading what others said. I did not want to look at the previous comments before, because I did not want to be influenced.

    Thank you again, and all good wishes,

  16. Anonymous5:50 AM

    Forgot the age factor: I vote for a person your age or a little younger. Or maybe physically older - wild guess: Your mother ...?

    And of course, in my first comment I did not want to write "lager part", but "larger part".


  17. This was a fun exercise Robin...I enjoyed thinking about it!
    I see a vibrant old soul, mostly feminine, with lots of energy and activity in the top. And in the bottom, I see a base/beginning full of connection and deeply rooted. Still lots of energy but it seems dark and sad with only bits of brightness to hang on to.

  18. To me it is female,an older person with a big heart, that is trying to overcome a dark side. The little birds maybe represent a conscience,good and bad. Perhaps the darker section are memories of things past

  19. I don't know but I love the little bird! :D

    Also, thanks for your comment yesterday! Any contributions you would like to make to Wikepedia would be appreciated! And, I think you are right about beadwork falling into those 3 categories. I would love to see the Beadwork page look similar to the Painting page, with an intro description, brief history (which could be expanded upon through other articles later), and techniques (which could be listed under the three categories you mentioned).

    I would also like to include a small gallery of different types of beadwork (perhaps a historical piece of beadwork, and a few images to demonstrate those 3 categories), some external references. I think I'll also just point the term Beader to this page just as Painter is pointed to the page Painting.

    Those are my ideas so far. Like I said, it will be an ongoing project, but I think it is needed:)

  20. Anonymous12:47 PM

    My first impression of this piece was masculine, although the pink background threw me because it is such a traditionally feminine colour. However, I am wondering if it is a man (I cannot get hold of the age - could be anything from teenage to elderly) trying to express himself more femininely. Possibly "coming out of the closet"? Anyway, the red ruffles are bonds holding him back. Those red ruffles definitley seem menacing and binding to me.

    hmmmmm..... just flicked back to it for a last look, and now it suddenly seems like a baby girl being born.

  21. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Now Robin you are going to probably laugh when I tell you what I first thought when I saw this portrait...The very first thing that came into my mind was that it was your brother, Thom. I could see the joy & laugher in the piece, and it immediately took be back to Whimbead Retreat in Las Vegas where I first met Thom. If you can see laughter, that is what this is. The swirling browns and greens made me think of his beaded frog & his beautiful igauna quilt. It made me think about his working with the elements of the Earth when he was doing sculpturing. The heart & rays coming out of it was all his creativity and his joy in creating and exploring a new path. All those different paths are part of the scene too. Each of them zigging and zagging. Some are dead ends, which other press to be let go and wander outside of the scene. Each of them are different voices of the Muse enticing him to explore. And there you are too. The bird sitting on one of the paths/branches, waiting for Thom to follow you on your path.

  22. With the pink and the frills, I'd say it is a female. For some reason, the bird makes me think of someone young but probably not a child. It seems as if the person is well-grounded yet full of life and joy.
    Now I will read the other comments to see what they thought!

  23. Anonymous5:28 PM

    Hi Robin, my impression of this piece is that the person is someone who has a kind and caring heart, someone who has a deeply rooted sense of himself and his place in the world, enjoys his life and is willing to share it. Could it be your husband?


  24. DeeD saw -- or felt -- what I felt upon looking at this lovely piece -- I'm sure the 'cone shape' part is what did it for me -- the crown of the Statue of Liberty -- the red heart shaped center -- friendliness and love for all -- the little bird -- freedom -- the darker "tangled" bottom area - turmoil from which we came? where we are going? where we are? I guess then, that to me I see a very strong woman figure -- one who has risen above the negative association. She is sensitive, loving and gentle -- she has set her spirit free --

  25. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Hey Robin, your blog always make my day. You've been given a blog award! Check out my blog to see it...

  26. Quickly, before reading any of the other comments, my response to your questions is that this represents your mother as an older adult. She's a very loving and giving woman with deep roots. I want to say that she likes to sing because of the bird, or maybe she is a naturally happy person. In any case, I _really_ like this piece.

  27. Hey Robin, It's Layne.

    I think this portrait is a woman. A woman with a big heart and a lot of spunk (the yellow triangles on top). The bottom portion look like roots of some sort so I am guessing that this person has a darkness to her. The veins make me think of intrusive anxieties and thoughts but also a great depth. Her thoughts threaten to envelope her like a suffocating vine, but she is able to strive through.

    Maybe this can be a universal portrait, bc I am starting to see myself.

    Love You! Wish I could have seen you when you were visiting last...

  28. Anonymous12:34 AM

    In the meantime, since my last visit here, I have looked at the portrait from another angle with my mind's eye, arriving at a solution different to my previous one:

    All these pinks, triggering the almost automatic association with a female person ... Could it simply be that you are looking at the portrayed person through pink glasses? Now, let's see ... when do we wear pink specs? Right: When we are in love! Could it be that, beneath all the pinks and frills and song-like atmosphere (the bird, definitely a robin, is singing the song), we find the One-and-Only you are married to?

    Even if I have missed the target by miles, you can at least have a good old giggle.

    Now for a very curious look at the comments that have accumulated since my last visit.

    All the best,

  29. Anonymous4:39 PM

    A most intriguing work. I don't see a person, but rather, an emotion or surge of feeling. The heart shape bursts from the tangle of darkness (something sinister or a dragging down, hopelessness) into the warmth and pink happiness embellished by joyful birds. There is a plant that grows wild here in Virginia which an elderly neighbor refers to as "hearts a-burstin' with love." After the leaves have dropped and the seed pods have turned plump and dark, they burst open to reveal bright red seeds.
    And there you have it!

  30. This person loves to show lots of Love reaching out in many directions. Underneath is a deep source for this love that is self generated. She is vibrant and alive with energy. It may be the love of people, art, reading and nature that motivates her and keeps her juices fueled.

    I wrote this with out reading the others responses.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!