Monday, January 09, 2012

Sept BJP Finished - Best Friend!

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, detail of centerWhere to start? I guess the heart says it all. Liz and I met in 1973, when we both lived on a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle. Best friends for 39 years, she knows me better than anybody else in the world. She's my rock. She accepts and loves me exactly the way I am.

I could write so much more about our relationship, about how much we respect and admire each other, about some of the things we've learned from each other, challenges we've met together... You just don't put something so huge in a blog post; it's a whole book (at least).

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project
September being my birthday month, it seemed the perfect month to bead an impression of our enduring and deep friendship. Ouch! Think about it... someone with whom you've shared 4 decades of your life. How do you illustrate this story in one 5" square, X-shaped piece of bead embroidery?

I'll tell you one thing about the process. I had to consciously put aside the exceedingly strong urges

  • to get it right
  • to please Liz with it
  • to figure it out
  • to plan the outcome
  • to make it really, really, really, REALLY, SUPER special... as special as she is to me
bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, detail of cross

Improvisational all the way, I think this piece speaks to the pure joy of having such a true, honest friendship in my life. Which arm of the X is me and which is Liz? While stitching the beads, I had no clue which of us I was beading. Only when it was finished, did it seem that the two pieces of amber represent Liz and what she means to me. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can see the amber pieces and, therefore, that Liz is the upper left to lower right diagonal.

Amber is a sun-colored material of nature, ancient, enduring, a bit of magic, the soul of the tiger, symbol of courage, with major healing properties attributed to it. Liz = precious amber!

At the intersection, the point where our paths cross is a big, cheerful heart. Colors of childhood, Little Liz and Little Robin always playing together and having fun. Rabbit, precious to both of us, perhaps as a symbol of innocence and yet at the same time enduring and strong. This rabbit, carved from bone, comes from life... and represents our shared lives.

Words can not adequately express my gratitude for Liz. She is an exquisite blessing!


  1. I think that I can hear this page giggling!

    When I opened the post and saw that joyous heart, it filled my day with sunshine. The love and frindship just radiates out of the page.

    Definitely the colours of childhood, girly childhood. Yes, I can definitely hear Little Liz and Little Robin laughing as they skip, hand-in-hand, in a land where bon-bons play on the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

  2. It is really wonderful Robin. You have really captured the enduring friendship. May you have 39 more years of it!

  3. There are so many elements of symbolism that capture your friendship in a really sweet way. The whole piece just emanates brightness as well, it's wonderful.

    What was Liz's reaction when you showed her if I may ask?

  4. How wonderful to have such a friendship. We moved around too much for such a relationship in my life, but in my "old" age I have a wonderful friend that, though we don't get together as much as we would both like, she is a gem in my life. You captured your happiness so well. Happy beading!

  5. I absolutely love these blocks you're doing. The beads and batik are just so beautiful together. I can't wait to see them all together!

  6. Beautiful piece Robin, looks like a Jumping Jack. Love the fact that every bead seems to have meaning and is so carefully placed.

    Never had the luck of having a close female friend but am lucky enough to have been married to my best friend for the last 26 yrs.

  7. Robin, my dear, I don't have a single person *present* in my life that has known me that long...not to mention, been a friend for all that time. What an enormous blessing you two share, and you have done that relationship proud by creating this gorgeous & meaningful tribute. Maybe this story does need a book...a little one? Thanks for putting it out there so we could revel in it with you!

  8. So lovely, Robin.
    Thank you for posting about it and showing the work from your heart and hands...

  9. Eating candy, singing at the top of your's what I see there. It DOES look like a giggle. What a great way to celebrate a friendship...I hope you giggle together for a long time coming.

  10. Not everyone is capable of expressing themselves, their relationships and lives in such a wonderfully creative way through your bead journal projects and your written word. I am enjoying both tremendously. You are lucky to have such a wonderful friend. I look forward to seeing what your new book is about too!!!

  11. This piece is so sweet. My challenge to myself this year is to color outside the lines when it comes to my bead journal pieces. Your pieces are so inspirational!

    Happy new year! Super great luck with your book deadline. Can't wait to hear more about it :)

  12. It is a super special piece. Beautiful.

  13. I love this piece, and it's meaning. It was so touching to read of the long and loving friendship you and Liza share. Very moving.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!