Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bead Embroidery and Treasure Box!

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, detail of scrimshaw piece
Do you recognize the scene on the scrimshaw piece above? If you're anywhere near my age (67), you may have read The Owl and the Pussycat as a child. It's a charming poem/story written in 1871 by Edward Lear:
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl,
'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?
'They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing
to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

I've no memory of how or when I acquired this remarkable scrimshaw charm, but it seemed the perfect talisman to symbolize my marriage to Robert. We met April 11, 1997 at a photography workshop at the Coupeville Arts Center. What started as mutual interests and my appreciation for his wacky sense of humor, quickly developed into romance. By that Christmas, we had decided to make a life together and a few years later we married. In our mid and late 50s, it was the first marriage for both of us!

Although I've made several things for him in our years together, it took me until now to do a serious piece of bead embroidery for him. He loves boxes, tins, containers of any sort. So, one day when I found a small, wooden box in the craft department of JoAnn's Fabrics, I got the idea to create a bead embroidery and mount it on the lid of the box. You can see the work in progress and read about some of the symbolic elements here. Below is how it looks finished. (Click image if you'd like to see it enlarged!)

improvisational bead embroidery by Robin Atkins
As the work progressed, I began to think it needed a higher quality box. Plus I wondered about the wisdom of putting the beading on top of the box where it would soon be buried in dust. One day it occurred to me that I could look on Etsy and maybe find a wood-worker who might offer something more suitable.

Voila!!! There are several fabulous wooden box makers selling on Etsy, but the one whose work seemed most right is Maurice Sewelson. You can check his treasure boxes here. This is the one that called my name most loudly. So, I wrote to Maurice to ask if he might be willing to custom-make a box that would have a tray sized to fit my beadwork. He agreed!!!! I sent him a picture of my beading and he sent pictures of wood he thought might look good with it. We chose bloodwood for the exterior and mahogany for the interior. Below is the finished box and a detail pictue of Maurice's beautiful carving and inlay work on the front.

wooden box, handmade by Maurice Sewelson
wooden box, handmade by Maurice Sewelson, carving and inlay detail on box front
Below are pictures of the box with my bead embroidery in the tray. The tray may be lifted out to reveal the full contents of the box. By the way, I didn't glue my beadwork to the tray... (Is anyone surprised?) I stitched the beading to a piece of black Ultrasuede. Then I used acid-free, double-stick tape around the edges to attach the Ultrasuede to the inside of the tray.

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins in wooden box by Maurice Sewelson
bead embroidery by Robin Atkins in wooden box by Maurice Sewelson
Robert now has a fine treasure box in which to keep some of his family heirlooms (his mother's watch and other items he's saved over the years). He says it's the nicest gift he's ever received!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas ~ Joyful Solstice ~ Happy New Year!

May your days
be merry and bright
this holiday season!

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, Light Within, door closed
May peace and love
surround you
wherever you go!

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, Light Within, door open
May the light within
shine with warmth
and good will for all!

Thank you for being
my blogging friends...
you are special to me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bead Journal Project ~ Some of My Faves from the Past Year!

These are some of my favorites from the 2008-09 Bead Journal Project.

Anna C ~ Love

Anne Marie ~ January

Anne Marie ~ May

Bobbi K ~ March

Brenda B ~ July ~ Obstacles

Caroll L ~ March ~ Full

Cindy F ~ Egrets

Dee D ~ Sally Rooster

Diane M ~ April

Dianne L ~ Invisible Man

Evelyn W ~ Granny

Freebird ~ February

Grace D ~ Cold In March

Heidi ~ May

Julie C ~ May ~ Tulip Colors

Kandra ~ January Face

Karen Ca ~ Bollywood 5

Karen Co ~ July

Kathy V ~ April ~ Fire

Lise P ~ May ~ Stream

Liz T ~ February

Lynn L ~ June ~ Gemini Birthday

Marty S ~ May ~ Control

Marva PB ~ April

Mary LR ~ April ~ Nude

Mary D ~ September ~ Reflections

Muriel ~ February

Muriel ~ October

Natalie ~ February ~ Hearts Falling Asleep

Pam E ~ Rainforest Dreams

Pam T ~ July

Phyl ~ September

Sabine ~ November

SatuMarja ~ February

Sheba ~ October

Soe ~ December

Susan A2 ~ June ~ Anger

Susan E ~ April ~ Tea Elixer

Susan R ~ May

Sylvie ~ April

Theresa H ~ February

Tracy N ~ May

Aren't they just fabulous? This is why the BJP is so inspirational and so much fun!!! They're arranged alphabetically by the first name of the participant. Sorry, I didn't have time to look up and link to everyone's blog... maybe after Christmas, I'll have time to do that.

Today, as I post these pictures,
is December 14th.
Tomorrow (Dec. 15th)
is the last day
to register for the
2010 BJP.
After seeing these pictures,
how could you resist???

Happy holidays everyone!

PS. If you've gone bonkers over one of the above pieces and want to see more of that person's work, try finding them on the alphabetical BJP Participants List. It's located at the bottom of the right sidebar, here.