Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bead Journal Project - Finishing Solution Found!

I watched a friend, Sondra Bayley, artist/photographer, handle my BJP "soul cards," gingerly trying to pick them up without rumpling the edges. I could tell she was concerned that her hands might not be perfectly clean, that she might get finger prints on them... She was clearly uncomfortable and so was I, not that I was worried about my pieces but that it cut into her enjoyment of them.

She asked how I intended to display them. Display them? Well, cards don't display very well... either they sit out on a table flat, and you can't see the backs... or... or what? She then spoke very strongly in favor of them as "art" and as such, she said, I needed to figure out a way to show them. She suggested framing each one separately.

Yes, I thought, you're right. But how? And what about the painted backs? So I took them to my studio and started playing around with grouping them. Three groups of four, but not in chronological order, looked good to me. Now what?

Traditional framing wouldn't work. I couldn't put a mat over my pieces because of the beaded picot edges. They would have to be glued to something. What? Not just plain old mat board...

Well, I love to paint decorative papers. And it was great fun to paint the papers I used for the backs of the cards. So why not try to paint papers as a background for each group of four?

That's what I did. And happy it makes me... happy painting and happy with how my pieces look on the painted papers. Whooohoooo! Now, what about the backs of the cards? No way to save them. I'd have to sand off the wax finish and some of the paint in order to glue them to the papers. But what I COULD do is to scan and print them. Yes, and glue the prints to the backing in the frame.

Voila! Here they are. You won't be able to see the painted papers very well unless you click the pictures to enlarge them. Hope you like them...

Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on orange, front
Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on orange, back

front and back, group 1

Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on rust, front
Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on rust, back

front and back, group 2

Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on green, front
Bead Journal Project, Robin Atkins, 4 on green, back

front and back, group 3

The groupings are by intuition, not logic. I just like them that way. There you have it! Finis!

By the way, I never, ever in the whole world thought I'd be framing something I'd painted. Never! (I guess we should never say "never," eh?) I only started painting a few years ago when I took a hand made book class and a painting class at ArtFest.

I was like a child... didn't know the first thing about paint, acrylics, brushes or any of it. Words like glaze and pounce were a mystery to me when applied to painting. But at the same time, I was like a child in Disneyland. And, though I was lost in the techniques department, I had a blast in the get-paint-on-the-paper department. Enough of the techniques stuck that I kept on working with it.

Several years later and you do not want to know how much painting stuff I've got crammed into my studio... or how MUCH I love it!


  1. Anonymous11:50 PM

    Your solution, just like the pieces and the journey to get there, have been a pleasure to monitor. Thank you so much for sharing.

    It seems to me I've read in your books that gluing is not your favorite mounting method. What kind of glue did you use to satisfy the needs of not staining the piece, not degrading over time, not oozing out in a nasty mess? (Can you tell I don't love glue?)

    I hope you never tire of experimenting and teaching. I love it!

    Terri Budrow-Nelson

  2. Hi Terri... you're up late! Thanks for the visit and the nod!

    Yes, I should have written about glue in my post... Like you I neither like nor trust glue. However, through various book binding classes, I've learned that PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue is the cat's meow for gluing papers. It is acid-free, permanent, non-staining... all the goodies we need. So, that's the glue I used for this project.

    Let me anticipate the next question... I buy PVA glue on-line from Dick Blick art supplies. It's available at most art supply stores, maybe even at Michael's.

    It doesn't work for glass or metal... only absorbent surfaces like paper, book board and fabric.

  3. Anonymous4:40 AM

    Hmm ... lovely groupings, and very good that the backs have been saved in a way (sigh of relief). Am I being over-critical, or are my eyes playing up - I think that some of the backs did not find their designated fronts, but went astray, settling at the next-door neighbour's back-door step ...

    Still, my sincere admiration goes out to you, and who am I, not having taken part in the BJP, to grumble at the side steps of some tiny, beautiful objects!

    Much love, Sabine

  4. oh, I've got lots of painting stuff too...and I LOVE to paint but it takes more time to get it all out and refresh my skills than I have time for right now.

    I've nominated you for the Arte y Pico award. You can find details on my blog on the June 25th entry. Don't feel pressured to participate - basking in the fun of it is enough if you wish!
    :-) Gina

  5. What a perfect way to show these off, Robin! I'm glad you managed to save the backs, and in a way I think it is even better that they are hidden behind the frames - like secrets that will only be uncovered by the truly curious.

  6. It looks great !

    I have been pondering for a long time whether to stick to a book form or try a display for my BJP pages. Being a journaling work, I know that I will probably resent certain pages at certain times, as I react that way with written pages. I'm still thinking about it...

  7. Wow! They look amazing on your painted papers. What a great idea! I'm happy that you were able to show the backs as well.

  8. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Robin, your solution to displaying this incredible work is worthy of it. I'm so impressed by your talent. Thanks for the credit.

  9. That turned out great!!!! you have a real good eye for design! Each four pieces look like they were meant to be collaged together!! very cool, Robyn!! are you going to hang them?...together?

  10. To All ~ Glad you like them this way and thanks for your comments!

    To Karen ~ Yes, I intend to hang them as a triptych. They stand alone OK, but look better together. I'd like to enter them in our county fair as a group, but if they won't take them (usually only allow one piece per category), I separate them - one in crafts, one in art, and one in fiber arts and quilting. Thanks for asking.

  11. Those are absolutely gorgeous.

  12. Oooo Robin, what a great solution for displaying your pages and the painted backs. They look great!

    Like you, I have recently rediscovered painting and feel like I am reconnecting with a very dear friend.


  13. To Sabine ~ Yes, I deliberated about whether I should put the backs directly under the front, or arrange them so that looking at the back you see them in the same order as on the front. I decided on the second option, although your comment makes me wonder if that was a good idea. Oh well, mostly they'll only be seen from the front... the backs are more of a reminder for me. Thanks for your astute observations, as always! R

  14. Robin - they are wonderful! I'm thinking about next year's project already and I love this idea. I'll have to learn to paint though! Enjoy them, you should be proud. Hugs - Heidi

  15. I just knew you would come up with something special!

    Kathy V in NM

  16. Anonymous7:37 PM

    absolutely completely stunning work!
    You are really talented.


  17. Robin ... an innovative and inspiring solution ... I love it!

  18. Robin - imagine a wee gasp of awe and a sigh of delight - that's me looking at your pics of your finished project!
    And the - aw, wish I'd have done that!!!
    Absolutely gorgeous. yep, You are the Goddess of BJP!

  19. wow...they look awesome AND you have a book as well! I love that you persevered until you had what you wanted...good lesson for me!

  20. Stunning work, very inspiring and an innovative solution - good on you!

  21. Have been working with my html class and hadn't looked here for awhile. I love this solution. Very creative and tidy. I'm going to do something similar for next year, but not quite like that, still it is good to see a different rendition of what I'm thinking of doing next year in progress for this year. I really like what you did.

  22. Hi Robin, they look so beautiful. I love the idea. Should I print a copy for your mom to see so she can see you framed them.? Julie

  23. Cool!

    Also, is your new book out yet? I have not seen it!

  24. A SPLENDID accomplishment!
    Love hearing about your blissful affair with the paints, too.. ;-)

  25. Robin!
    What a spectacular solution!! i love your painted papers- you are obviously a natural with paint!! I can't tell you how your beadwork inspires me!!!
    i also have to tell you that I was given three of your books for my birthday, the most recent having pictures of some of these pieces in it. It is sowonderful to be able to look at the glorious pictures of your work. i love the books and I really enjoy the size of the books- it is such a nice size to hold!! So very well done and thanks so much for signing each one!!!!

    that personal touch is just fabulous!

  26. These look absolutely PHENOMENAL! fantastic solution to a perplexing it.

    Rachel (rcbeads)

  27. Lovely display arrangement --- this is a super way to show these wonderful pieces.

  28. Anonymous1:47 AM

    I just read the article about the BJP in the latest issue of Beadwork magazine. The idea really has caught on, creating ever-increasing circles like a stone thrown into water.

    Congratulations, Sabine

  29. Absolutely lovely!

    I learned long ago never to say "never." If I had, I would never have taken your beading class last year at the Weaving Conference in Visalia and I wouldn't be beading my heart out now! I should only live up to the example that you provided.

  30. Hello Robin
    Do you want to exchange link with my blog? I have already put your link on mine.

    Title: beaded jewelry


    Contact Email:

    Thanks for cooperation

  31. To all ~ New Accessories, see above comment, has a very commercial blog which is only about sales of his/her jewelry. Personally, I do not like this type of blog, nor do I feel that it is in the spirit of blogging. A demanding comment such as the one above totally irks me. I hope New Accessories reads this reply comment and realizes that he/she will never get a link out of bloggers like me with these tactics!

  32. Anonymous5:54 PM

    Robin, I've been watching for a new blog entry, wondering what you've been up to. I see from the new "masthead" that you've been busy! Very nice. (And I agree with you about the pressure tactics for reciprocal blog links. I'm not even sure that a commercialized blog like that other one accomplishes anything.) Terri B-N

  33. Love the new Heading!

  34. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Ahhh ... a wonderful new blog heading, with a little bird singing away, announcing the latest news. Very pretty, and in keeping with your blog's spirit.

    Good that an entry like new accessories' is an ugly exception.

    Love, Sabine

  35. WOW Robin that is one AWESOME display of some very very beautiful cards, fronts and backs!!! Thank you so much for sharing these, much appreciated. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to include your link in my messages to two postcard groups I'm in - who knows - others may be in the same delimma. Thank you.

  36. I've been watching your beading journal through out the year and it's inspiring. I comend you for all the work you've put into it. The finale was well worth watching...

  37. Robin - your work is amazing! I love how you framed these! I'm new to the BJP this year and so excited to get started! Do you use pellon as your base? I've done fabric atcs but not a lot of beading so I'm not sure what to use as the substrate. I won't be doing totally encrusted pieces for awhile, I'm much too slow. :) Thanks, Marva


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