Monday, July 27, 2009

July BJP... all about Dad... I miss him sooooo much

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, I Miss You Dad, detail
My BJP for July is all about my Dad (and me...) Always the optimist and a person who both gave and commanded respect, Dad died July 13, 2006. Every day I think of him… every day I miss him, his quirky sense of humor and our frequent phone conversations… more than I can say. Every year, when July rolls around again, I feel an incredible sadness and loss. It seeps in and out of me more than it does during the other months of the year.

As a child, Dad contracted Pott's disease (also called bovine tuberculosis). As a result his spine collapsed, leaving him with a shortened torso and neck. His lungs were crowded into a smaller than normal space and he wore a brace to support his back/spine. His Doctors would never have predicted he would live to be 88 years old. Yet never once did I hear him complain about his condition, even when breathing got quite difficult or when a stroke paralyzed him from the waist down. He just found things he could do and went right on enjoying his life. He cherished my Mom and his five kids. I am the eldest. My life is enriched beyond words by this man, my Dad. If you're interested, I wrote more about my Dad here and about making spirit dolls in his memory here.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, I Miss You Dad
The fabrics for this piece are from neckties that I made for Dad years ago (specially altered pattern - thin at the neck). The top layer is the front of one of the ties. I de-constructed the other tie (which was silk patchwork) to make the underlayer of my piece. The bear, birds, dragonfly, beetle, kitty, tree, water and flowers are all symbolic of important memories about my Dad. The tip of the tie lifts to reveal a little “book” of words and pictures.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, I Miss You Dad, detail showing book under tip of tie
bead journal project, Robin Atkins, I Miss You Dad, detail showing book under tip of tie
You may recall that I did my November BJP about my Mom and that it is also a "book" with a butterfly wing as the cover. See it below and more pictures here.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, Mom and Me, detail showing book under beaded butterfly wing
My plan for these two pieces is to construct a box (out of book board) covered with quilted fabric in the inside, plain fabric on the outside... and mount these two pieces on the top of the lid. I will use the box to store letters, photos and other special memories of my parents.

I'm in "just do it" mode about this box. I've never made a box before and I want this one to be as special as my Mom and Dad... which, of course, it never could be... so, for a while I was stuck... bogged down by anxiety about making it good enough. Finally, the suggestion I give others came around to my conscious mind...

I do not have to be perfect.
This box does not have to be perfect.
This box does not have to be worthy of my parents.
Perfection is not necessary to memory.

Ha! Back on track, I'm headed to the studio right now to work on the box! I'll post a progress report soon.

35 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of your life. I love the tributes you made for both your parents. I was all choked up reading about them.

    I love the photo of the 2 of them. They look like they were very much in love. But I especially like the photo of you & your dad, very special indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are both such wonderful, powerful pieces Robin - Thanks so much for posting the story that goes along with them (even though it made me get a bit weepy)
    xx

    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing the piece and your thoughts. I do understand about the feelings of sadness and loss coming around each anniversary. August will bring the 4th anniversary of my mom's death. It is becoming easier but I think that I will never forget. It does remind me that I have some items I purchased to make a bracelet and/or necklace in her memory that I still need to take the time to put together...perhaps after I catch up on my 08 BJP pieces :-).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your posts about your parents are so wonderful and full of love. They make others feel a little sad. However, they don't make me sad one bit. I feel only joy for you that you had such a loving relationship with them. They are always with you in your fond memories. Many would love to know that love.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I love the thoughtfullness you incorporated into your BJP. The use of his neckties that relate to the both of you is wonderful. I too am sensing a deep loss since my father passed away last month.
    Thanks for the great pictures of your great work.
    Rebecca Starry

    ReplyDelete
  6. beautiful page, Robin, beautiful memories... thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for all of this post, every word is extremely touching.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beautiful tribute to you and your father's relationship. The memories that you hold in your heart translated well into beads.

    I hope you post about your memory box when it is finished. What a darling idea.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What beautiful work and what a wonderful memorial. You brought tears to my eyes. My Dad died June 14, 2006 at 75. I too miss him so much.
    Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh Robin. Those are a beautiful way to preserve those special memories of your parents. I especially love the little hidden book behind the tie tip.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's a wonderful way to remember.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Like everyone else here, both the piece and the story behind it touched me deeply...and I too want to thank you for sharing them with us.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is beautiful Robin. I love the idea of the box. He was a lovely man and grandfather, and father in law to me and my kids. I do miss him as well. He had this chuckle that made me giggle. Thanks for allowing me down memory lane. Julie C

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for sharing this wonderful man with all of us. Love the idea of that quilted box to hold your dear mementos!


    Kathy V in NM

    ReplyDelete
  15. What precious memories you have of your father. What a wonderful way of expressing them.
    Like you, July is often a difficult month. July 20th was the 30th anniversary of my son's passing. Memories can make those days bearable.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very beautiful post and piece about your dad, Robin....

    ReplyDelete
  17. Robin, working on this piece must have felt like touching souls with your Dad. I am happy for you that working on your July BJP brought you such joy and peace.It is a beautiful tribute to him and a deeply meaningful keepsake for you. I lost my dear Dad 22 years ago and I still miss him as much as if it were yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am so happy that I've found you and your blog. It's so lovely and so is your amazing work!

    This is such a wonderful and heartfelt post. I miss my beloved Dad too and I enjoy creating special pieces to remember him by.

    All my best,

    Holly
    Los Angeles, CA

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a beautiful piece. It feels so happy and peaceful. It sounds like your Dad was both those things. This is a wonderful way to remember him.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I must say I am deeply impressed and moved by this particular piece and your box project.

    You do not have to be perfect (and neither do we - thanks for the remminder, always useful !), however let me tell you that it is a true delight and inspiration to watch your bead explorations. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a creative and beautiful tribute! I love using his old ties and making the picture book underneath. Thank you for sharing your project with us.

    -Suzann Sladcik Wilson

    ReplyDelete
  22. I still miss having my dad around too, Robin. He's been gone for over 30 years and it has been a world with a little less joy because of his being out of it.

    Sometimes our dad's are the best and we are lucky and blessed for that.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I loved that you made your Dad special ties...and that now one of them is being used so creatively in this tribute to him. I can understand how much you must miss him and how good it must feel to make this piece. The box will be a wonderful meeting place for your love and your creativity...it's all the same thing anyhow. He's helping you make it, that much I'm sure. Beautiful hands and a beautiful heart, dear Robin...
    much love, Susan

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well of course you miss your dad. They can't be replaced. I still miss mine - he was my best friend - and has been gone 10 years. Making your dad special ties reminded me of how I made my dad special T-shirts. He was supposed to wear long sleeves even in summer due to skin cancer. Well try buying light weight, summer T-shirts! Your piece is beautiful and I am quite sure your box will be too. Your parents will love it no matter how it turns out - you know that.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lovely tribute, put tears in my eyes. I'm looking forward to seeing the completed box.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your feelings for your father just jump outside of the page. It's a wonderful tribute and made even more so by your use of handmade ties for the background. I love your creative use of the little booklets and all the special beads and charms. So much love peeking out of the pages is almost too much to bear.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is a very touching post, Robin, especially since we just returned from Idaho after the funeral for my mother-in-law. She died 10 days ago and we had a very touching and lovely family reunion, talking about and remembering the life of a woman who raise 6 kids on a shoe string budget and had a very full life of her own. I've brought home the prayer card and program from the funeral mass and I was trying to think of a way to preserve them for my husband and children along with other mementos that we have. Your idea of a box for your beautiful tributes was very timely for me. My thinking cap is on and I can now move towards creating something meaningful. Thank you, Robin.

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your Dad, Robin. Your love for your
    Dad is so wonderfully represented in this piece. I'm glad that you were able to get past your anxiety to tackle making a box. For me, there are times when it's so easy to try new things and to create with purpose and joy. Yet at other times self doubt and the self imposed need for perfection can completely block my ability to proceed with whatever I am creating. When I am truly stuck, I pull out my crayons and I color or I make paper dolls. I never seem to worry that I colored outside the lines or that my paper doll's ball gown hem is uneven. A little session of creativity without self criticism is the perfect catalyst to help me proceed with the project that was causing me so much grief.

    ReplyDelete
  29. A wonderful piece, Robin. You are so generous in sharing your art, your thoughts and your experiences.

    Your comments about being perfect reminded me of a comment I heard author, Anne Lamott, make: "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor." I keep that in mind--that inner critic just doesn't know how to play and has to be curbed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Loving memories prompting very special ideas. Your Mum and Dad pieces are wonderful.

    Thank you for the reminder of not having to be perfect. Why the heck do I keep forgetting?

    Sabine

    ReplyDelete
  31. Margaret8:52 PM

    Robin, it is interesting that I found this entry today. The other day, I was thinking about grandpa too. I was missing him also. I have his spirit doll hanging next to my bed. So there is comfort in that...

    ReplyDelete
  32. thanks a lot for sharing your moms and dads pieces. it touched my heart.

    MARIA

    Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your work is so inspiring, every stitch thought out and precise. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!