Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bead embroidery ~ March bead journal project finished

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, Bead Journal Project, March
This one was difficult.

I started working on it in March, became cloaked by the darkness of it, and then abandoned it to work on the sweet, gentle new beginnings of April (here). Finally, March called me back... I finished it today.

My initial intent was to make a portrait of my husband. As my beading evolved, it morphed into a look at the part of him that is best described by the title of my piece: His Parents Were Alcoholics.

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, detail, Bead Journal Project, March
Today, as I photographed the finished work, a poem began to form in my head. Here it is.

His Parents Were Alcoholics

Always I’m aware of Wall,
built higher during hard times,
separating his dark, prickly fears
and deep, festering wounds
from his lighter, easy-going side.

Holes in Wall,
where pressure builds
and he can’t get them plugged,
let the grace of light in
and the sharp sting of dark out.

Only Beaver, his totem animal,
goes freely back and forth
from one side to the other.
Beaver is keeper of Wall
and fulcrum of delicate balance.

When first I fell in love with him,
a friend said “He’s damaged goods.
Run, run in the opposite direction
and don’t look back.”
She saw the dark.

I see the joyful light
and love every swirl of it.
I see the darkness too
and am trying to understand it,
to caress it tenderly.

He and Beaver are still at work,
mending childhood wounds
inflicted by parents,
altered by alcohol and
oblivious to a boy’s needs.

Robin A.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today is Beadlust's Two-year Anniversary!

Two-year anniversary!

I've read these words on other blogs, but never thought I'd reach that point myself. What a delightful journey it's been! New friends, new inspirations and new challenges... I love it, am blessed by it, and thank everyone who has visited and generously commented on my posts!

How to clelebrate? Why not share a list of my most popular posts? OK... let's go! Of these twenty, the all time most popular post was Glorious, Glorious Green Glass Beads. If these posts are of interest to you, scan through the titles below and click on a couple of appealing ones, or go here to see them all.

June 30, 06
Confessions of a chocolate addict

July 2, 06
Bead embroidery in hand-made book ~ Wedding gift!
hand made book with bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead artist

July 21, 06
D is for Dad

August 9, 06
What is Truth in Art?

August 15, 06

August 30, 06
Totem animals (rabbits)
Japanese scrimshaw shank buttons

September 1, 06
Totem animals (tigers)

September 8, 06
Rabbits & bead embroidery

September 20, 06
B is for Beads
set of beads given to me by a friend

October 5, 06
5 wierd things about me
Siamese cat, Hollie-Three-Bell-Huntress, photo by Robert Demar
November 5, 06
Memory dolls - All about Dad
memory dolls by Robin Atkins, bead artist

January 17, 07
Glorious, glorious green glass beads!
Overheard on a Saltmarsh, necklace by Carol Berry and Brian Kerkvliet, detail
March 10, 07
Have you ever seen a bead quilt?
bead quilt, Bear of a Different Color, by Mat-Su Valley Bead Society
June 3, 07
Finger weaving - New work & tips
finger weaving, necklace with raku beads, by Robin Atkins, bead artist
July 8, 07
Bead Journal Project ~ my June page
Bead Journal Project, June's page (detail) by Robin Atkins, Bead Artist
September 15, 07
Ripping out

October 9, 07
Beading for change ~ BJP August's page
improvisational bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, Bead Journal Project, August 2007, detail
November 14, 07
Improvisational bead embroidery ~ October BJP
bead embroidery, improvisational, by robin atkins, bead artist, detail of bead journal project for October, title is Respect
February 1, 08
Bead embroidery ~ January BJP finished
bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, January 2008, thorn detail
April 2, 08
Symbols revealed
Symbols, painting by Robin Atkins

Writing this post brings back a lot of memories for me. Blogging and all of you, dear cyber friends, are a blessing. Thank you for being here with me!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Beautiful, Detailed Bead Embroidery by Janet Dann

bead embroidery, owl purse, Janet Dann
I wish you all could see this work in person! It's a testament to the value of those iddy-biddy size 15 and smaller seed beads, and to the detail you can achieve with them. (You can see more detail if you click the pictures to enlarge them!)

The artist here is Janet Dann, a beady friend who used to live on Orcas Island (next "door" to me, as in just a 30 minute ferry boat ride away from San Juan Island where I live). When we met (10 years ago), Janet was making jewelry with beads. But when she saw some of my bead embroidery, she immediately got hooked on stitching.

Now Janet and her husband are retired. They travel the USA in a motor home. While not out exploring, Janet beads. She still makes very beautiful jewelry, but the thing that makes my heart go thumpity-thump is her bead embroidery, especially her beaded bags. Let's put it quite simply... I WANT her to make one for ME!!!!! Also her work inspires me to try beading more realistically. Who knows, you may see some very different work in my 2008 BJP pages.

Technical info: Janet uses inexpensive suede or velvet-like fabric backed by interleaving paper and nymo thread. She designs on paper using library books and the Internet for reference. When she's ready to bead, she taps into her ever-growing stash of the smallest seed beads. Sometimes, as in the bag below, the design grows somewhat improvisationally. In this case she has not yet planned the center of the design.

bead embroidery, flap of purse, in progress, Janet Dann
This will be the flap on an Animal Spirit/Medicine Bag made as a commission piece. She designed each of the animals to be surrounded by things the animal might enjoy in its natural environment.

bead embroidery, grizzly bear design, Janet Dann
The grizzly bear has its delicious berries.

bead embroidery, grey wolf design, Janet Dann
The grey wolf has trees, a full moon and shares mountain lupin with the bear.

bead embroidery, horse design, Janet Dann
The mustang has a pasture of green grass, wildflowers and a tree for shade.

bead embroidery, orca whales, Janet Dann
The orca whales have the aurora borealis in the northern sky.

Janet has taught herself by trial and error how to make the bags (with lining and pockets inside) and to weave the straps using kumihimo.

bead embroidery, celtic boar design, Janet Dann
bead embroidery, hand made purse, celtic boar design, Janet Dann
Here is a purse she made at her Mom's request featuring a traditional Celtic boar design.

bead embroidery, owl design, Janet Dann
Here is a detail picture of the bag shown at the top of this post, made for her Mom.

Janet welcomes commissions and works with her customers to personalize the designs, imbuing them with symbolic meaning, healing stones and spiritual energy. Her rates, in my opinion, are very reasonable. If you want contact information for Janet, lemme know.