Wednesday, September 01, 2010

July BJP Finished ~ Focus

bead embroidery, Robin Atkins, bead journal project, detail Focus
As always, I chose my words for July's piece on the first day of the month...


Of the six words focus seemed super significant. I'm trying to make some changes in my life and the idea of focusing my full attention on the process seemed (and still seems) very important.

When I went through the felt pieces I made in Chad Alice Hagen's workshop, I immediately chose the one with the circle of red. The painted paper choice was easy too... first one I tried with the felt was a keeper. In fact nearly all the decisions regarding this piece were quick and easy... beads, threads, embellishments and the idea to bead the words were all no-brainers. Here it is finished...

bead embroidery, Robin Atkins, bead journal project, Focus
The finished size (not including the black background) is 7 inches square. The stitching is done with button hole thread and is a combination of back stitch and straight stitch. The beads are size 15s. It's less embellished than my other pieces this year, which seems appropriate to its meaning. To focus means to gather your attention toward one spot and not be distracted by other things... to keep it simple.

It was with this piece that my theme for the year finally became clear to me: Words to Live By! The notion to incorporate words in my pieces this year has been really challenging (I almost gave up after the first two months). But, piece by piece I feel that I'm improving. Besides that, having all these great action words in my life (my pieces as a constant reminder of them) is really satisfying.

You may recall that I've already posted my piece for August (here) and notice that this one is out of order. Although it was nearly finished in July, I was still missing the ribbons that hang from the pole on each side. I had ordered silk ribbons on line from Garden Fairies Trading Company. I waited and waited. Finally I called. Then I emailed. Someone wrote back that the order had been sent. 10 days went by. No order. I contacted them again. "order shipped," they said. Ha. Two more weeks went by before it arrived, post marked more than a month after I placed the order. On top of that they charged me for an item that wasn't enclosed and more than doubled the actual cost of shipping. Although they appear to have a good selection of silk ribbons, I'm sorry to say that I can not recommend them based on this experience. Anybody know of a friendly and reliable on-line seller of silk ribbons?


  1. Let me say first that I think this piece is fantastic.

    Second, before I do funny things and lose the link, here is a US silk ribbon merchant who I have found to be absolutely reliable.

    Yes, she does sell via ebay, but you don't have to join any auction, but can buy at, to my knowledge, reasonable fixed prices directly. She even gave me hints how to save customs duty, which of course would not apply in your case.

    Love, Sabine

  2. I like this piece better than any that you have done this year. I am sure the jewel colors are partly why. But "Focus" seems to be your goal right now. Its a requirement for what you are achieving.

    The center focal certainly does draw your eye to focus on it.

    However, when I look at the piece I see the sun. You may remember that the sun is my symbol of hope. I see this piece as encouragement and the hope that you will meet your goals through focus.

    I'm such an arm chair psychologist!

  3. Some of my most favorite colors in the universe, and in my favorite combination. Sorry, I can't get past the colors to comment on anything else! The design is gorgeous, and it just makes me happy. Totally.

  4. Robin, I passed by this pic in my blog roll. The focal really reminded me of a heart, not the sun. That just got me to thinking about your focus. I just love this piece.

  5. It's a gret piece. Too bad about the ribbon. I've had that happen at other places too. You'd think in this economy, they would try harder.

  6. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Lovely, again, and inspirational with the repeated "Focus" reminder.
    We all need to do that.

  7. Beautiful piece Robin. Too bad about the ribbons and too bad about the company's lack of integrity and respect. -Marlene

  8. I do love this new piece, what a great reminder to focus but also a lovely reminder of your felting workshop. You asked about silk ribbon. I have you on my dashboard list of blogs I follow and the blog right underneath yours in my list today showed a link to silk ribbons. It was on this blog: and the link she gave, per requests from her readers, was this one:

  9. I really love the colors, the words & the idea of "focusing" I need to work on that to, my mind is so cluttered & my house is the same way.
    Thank you for sharing.

  10. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Your work is so beautiful Robyn - the colours stunning!

  11. I just love this, Robin. How did you make the ribbons curl like that and did you stiffen them with something?

  12. Robin - this is beautiful. You might want to try I have ordered many times from her. Her fibers and ribbons are wonderful as is her service.

  13. Robin - this is beautiful. You might want to try I have ordered many times from her. Her fibers and ribbons are wonderful as is her service.

  14. I can't tell you how much I like this piece, the words, colors, and the truth of it, shining out from the center!

  15. This is lovely! I love the colors in it and the way you beaded the words. Your words for July are perfect. Focus - to not be distracted. Very difficult to do sometimes! This is a great banner proclaiming your intentions!

  16. has lovely silk ribbons and threads. they're in canada; shipping is not bad. AND they are very speedy!

  17. I do love your red and purple colour combination and also the use of the twig, ribbon and your use of the words. Are you enjoying the mixed media experience? I was going to recommend Treenway Silks on Salt Spring Island in B.C. as well. You could also explore Mokuba Ribbons here in Toronto. They have quite the variety of ribbons. I'm not sure how many are silk, but their display is amazing. I do believe that they do mail order, but you would need to check.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!