Wow! I've been reading the BJP blogs, catching up after my week in Minnesota with Mom ... I'm vividly impressed with all the creative expressions of our hearts!!!! This just gets better and better, don't you think?
Before departing for Minnesota on Nov. 1, I gave some thought to my Nov. BJP. Since I was visiting Mom, who is a real a sweetheart, and since this important trip has been on my mind for several months, it makes total sense that my journal page for Nov. should be about Mom (and a little about me too).
With that decision made, visions of photographs of Mom came to mind... also the image of a butterfly. Mom was a scientist at heart, she studied entomology (insects) and ornithology (birds) in college and graduate school. She doesn't get into what things symbolize as much as I do. Yet, she's always been drawn to butterflies.
So, I googled butterfly images to see what might inspire me. At first I was impressed with the fancy ones. But after skimming 20 or so pages of images, I found myself repeatedly noticing a plain little yellow butterfly with a single distinguishing spot on the upper wing.
As it turns out this beautiful creature ( Zerene eurydice, commonly known as the Dogface butterfly) is the California state insect. Mom was born and raised in California. Although I considered using the more dramatic male version (see below), the more subtle and shy female coloring seemed more appropriate for Mom.
OK, I thought... now what? How can I use this image AND the photos of Mom? A book!!! I decided to make a book on my page, with a beaded butterfly wing for the front cover and the background fabric of the page for the back "cover."
I drew the butterfly on interleaving paper, and basted it onto some yellow dupioni silk from my stash. I basted around the wing and the along the veins to give myself beading guidelines (see back and front below).
Here is an example of one of the inside pages of the book. I used Photoshop to make the images into vignettes and collage them onto a partially screened version of the wing. Then I journaled in the yellow areas, writing little thoughts that came to mind as I looked at the images.
Basted silk, beads, yellow embroidery floss and the wing pages traveled with me to MN. Mom was quite impressed that she was the subject of this month's BJP page, also delighted to see some images of herself that she hadn't seen in many years. Here are two of them that are included.
Mom and me, taken in 1943 when we lived in Palo Alto, CA.
Mom, taken in 2004.
While I was there, I worked on beading the wing for the cover. I got it finished the last day I was there, but only have the in-progress picture below.
My sister-in-law, Julie, said I should consider it done... She said the silk has a papery-like texture, similar to the appearance of a butterfly's wing. I agreed with her, but decided to try beading the entire wing, giving myself the option to undo it back to how it is shown above if I didn't like it. You will see my decision in the next post!
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You know I'm a bunny person, right? One of my two totem animals is the rabbit, right? Well, arriving at the Seattle airport a tad early on Nov. 1, I decided to do a little window shopping. Look what I found at Fireworks!!!!! Is he cute or what?!
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While in MN, Julie, Brenda, Terri and I got together one evening to bead. We had a whee!!!! Brenda brought her beautiful gate (September's piece) and was working on her October pathway. Terri has 5 (or maybe it's 6) of her "pages" started, some nearly completed. Like her Pirate book from last year, this year's piece will be a sort of "book." Julie was working on a free-form woven bracelet for a sale she's having next month, but brought her BJP work to show'n'tell. I'm totally in love with the way she visually described her experiences in Yellowstone National Park this fall in her September piece (see below).
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Mom's doing fairly well, especially considering that she'll be 92 years old in a couple of months. We braved Minnesota's chilly night to go to my brother's house to watch the election returns... and celebrated with champagne during President-elect Obama's speech!!! Mom still reads the newspaper every day and was much relieved to know there will be some changes in the years ahead.
Having read and appreciated Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, a year ago, I was convinced we needed him in the oval office. A couple of weeks ago I bought his first book, Dreams from My Father, which I've been reading during the past week. It feels like an amazing privilege to be watching our new president on TV while at the same time reading about his struggles to find himself, to identify his authentic place within race and other issues, during his youth. I believe he has the potential to be a great leader!
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Long travel day to get home yesterday... I flew from St. Paul to Seattle, took a shuttle to Boeing Field, and caught a puddle-jumper flight, which landed and took off in Oak Harbor and Orcas Island before finally arriving at San Juan Island, where I live. Ordinarily, I'd enjoy the extra flying time (over beautiful emerald islands), but yesterday was totally weird weather... high winds at certain altitudes, three levels of clouds (the lowest of which barely skimmed over the surface of the land and was extremely fast-moving). Some of the middle layer was busy dumping a load of rain, and once we saw the most brilliant rainbow.
However, if you know about flying small planes, you may be able to guess at what a nail-biter it was to be landing and taking off. Rock'n'roll, you say? Bounce, you say? Swerve to the side, you say? Yup! Took me an hour for each of the three landings to calm down after getting home. Had to put the cat on my lap... But, here I am, safe and sound!