Monday, April 28, 2008

Ta-dah... Introducing... Bunny's BJP!

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project, detail
Bunny S. is a 2007 BJP member who lives in Bellingham, WA. She and two of her beady buddies have been doing the BJP all along. However, they aren't much into digital (except for cell phones)... no blogs, websites, flickr or even much into emails.

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of beading with them for a couple of days (a delicious retreat!) and took some pictures of their work. Since nobody in the BJP has seen it, I thought I'd show some of it here. (I'll show Tracy's work in the next post.) Sorry, I don't really know the stories or name that go with each piece. Yet, I think you can catch the drift pretty well!

I hope Bunny will finish and eventually get her work in the BJP Member Gallery, as it's really wonderful... I love the mix of fabric, fibers, textures, thread embroidery, bead embroidery and mixed media. Note that some of them are works in progress... To my eyes, she really nailed the concept of "visual journaling." Don't you think? I'll let Bunny know I've posted these pictures, so she can check the comments and possibly even respond. Here's her work.... and I think it's all clickable!

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project, detail

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project

Bunny S, Bead Journal Project

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bead Journal Project - April finished!

bead journal project, April, detail, Robin Atkins
April's BJP (detail above) began as March. I don't know what happened to March... It flew by so quickly and I seemed always to have a staggering "to do list" sitting on my shoulders. So, when April rolled around, I'd only put a few beads on my fabric.

Although that dratted "to do list" is still a weight to be reckoned with, I've managed to carve out some time to bead this month. Gradually, the piece took shape. However, it didn't want to be March anymore. Nope, over and over it announced itself as New Beginnings, as April!

Three days ago, Tuesday, our weather took a nice little turn from being chilly, nasty, windy, rain-hail-sleet-snow to being mild and somewhat sunny. My husband and I, on a rather spur of the moment lark, decided to take the ferry to the mainland (sometimes we call it going to America) to see the Tulip Festival in nearby Skagit Valley (1.5 hours north of Seattle). You can see some of Robert's tulip pictures from previoius festivals here.

Once we got off our island, the weather didn't look quite so wonderful. Plus there was a chilly wind. I didn't really feel like taking tulip pictures (see one of the few I took at the end of this post). Fortunately, I brought my beads and found a sheltered table to work. Voila! Thanks to having that chunk of time, April is finished...

bead journal project, April, Robin Atkins, bead artist
This one was totally improvisational... no theme, no plan, no pre-concieved concept at all. Now that it's finished, it seems to be all about rebirth, spring, a gentle movement toward something new... definitely transitions. What about my life is in transition? I don't know just yet. The bud is not open, yet I feel a wonderful sense of New Beginnings!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, photo by Robin Atkins


My new book, Heart to Hands Bead Embroidery, is on its way to me! It is shipping out from the printer today.

I feel like I imagine an expecting mother might feel as she's wheeled into the delivery room. Will it look OK? Will the cover flaps be folded correctly? Will people want to buy it? Will the color printing process handle all the color photos satisfactorily? Will I "get along with it?"

There's really quite a lot of angst along with the excitment and pleasurable anticipation... more than with previous books, probably because this one really has my heart and soul in it... it IS my baby.

To those of you who pre-ordered, thank you so much... your orders have kept me from tearing out my hair during this waiting time and helped to raise my positive expectations. The good news is... I should be packing orders and getting them out next week!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Symbols Revealed

If you haven't already read this post, you may want to do that first so you can draw and rank these symbols before I reveal the meaning. Otherwise, read on...

improvisational painting, circle, Robin Atkins
The circle represents wholeness and completion.

improvisational painting, cross, Robin AtkinsCROSS
The cross represents relationships. In addition to relationships with other people, it may also represent relationships with animals, your work, your concept of a higher power, nature, etc.

improvisational painting, spiral, Robin AtkinsSPIRAL
The spiral represents change and growth.

improvisational painting, square, Robin AtkinsSQUARE
The square represents stability and security.

improvisational painting, triangle, Robin AtkinsTRIANGLE
The triangle represents goals, dreams and ideals.

The rank you gave each of these shapes speaks to the importance and significance of the symbolic reference in your life at this time. As you will see, it’s not exactly what you might guess.

The number 1-ranked attribute is your most conscious area of concern at this time in your life. It is the area to which you are paying full attention. Your awareness of this area is expansive and uncluttered.

You are also consciously working, or you worked in the past, on this area. The work you are doing or have done in this area is related to and directly supports the work you need/want to do in your number 1-ranked area.

The number 3-ranked attribute is the core of your unconscious attention. You are very absorbed in this area, but your efforts here are largely unconscious. Look for this area in your dreams.

The number 4-ranked area supports the work of your unconscious attention (your number 3-ranked attribute). It may involve past challenges and tests or current issues. In either case, this area motivates and supports your current unconscious process.

There are two interpretations for the number 5-ranked attribute. Either it is the area that interests you the least (possibly because it doesn’t apply to your life or you’ve already dealt with it) or it is something you are avoiding because you don’t want to deal with it. Examine your position regarding this area by asking “Is there something I might be afraid of here?”

As I mentioned in the previous post, my counselor used this exercise to open my awareness of what is important to me and how I might be dealing with the concerns I was facing at the time. It helped. It moved the therapeutic process along nicely.

She also suggested that I “play” with the concepts on my own time. So one day I made a bunch of paintings. I just tucked the shapes in the back of my mind and painted improvisationally. Below is one of the paintings I did that day.

symbols, improvisational painting, Robin Atkins
It’s quite interesting to me that the triangle, although I ranked it third, appears frequently and in several forms in this painting. Along the top and bottom, the triangle encloses circles and spirals, my two areas of conscious attention. In addition the triangle appears… upside down!... in almost every one of my Bead Journal Project pieces. I need to give this some thought… Why would my subconscious attention to goals and dreams be upside down? I don’t know the answer. I sure hope my unconscious is working on it.

bead embroidery, Robin Atkins
In my June BJP piece, I used all 5 symbols. I made the "patchwork" square first. It reminded me of the symbols, so I decided to add them all. The "string" connecting them was an improvisational addition. I like seeing them connected, as in all aspects of my life, each of them important at one time or another. Made me appreciate the square more, which was my #5 ranked shape.