Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bead Journal Project - February Finished!

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, bird detail, bead embroidery
Actually, I'm sooooo glad this one is finished!

What is it about some of these pieces that gets under one's skin and makes it so hard to appreciate and like it just the way it is?

I began with a background fabric (rosey-peachy pink with slightly metallic polka-dots) that I like, added some little squares and rectangles of a violet-yellow-orange batik that my friend Christy gave me. Nice... so far.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, materials
Then I gathered some beads and bought a few skeins of silk embroidery floss (yum!). Still nice, eh?

Valentine for Robin was my working title because last year I did Valentine for Little Robin (here), which I loved. Robin's turn, I thought. So, I drew a heart shape on the back (on the paper stabalizer) and basted along the line. As I began to outline the heart with backstitched seed beads, I skipped the first rectangle and instead sewed flower beads there, which set the way I would do the piece.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, getting started
I wanted to play around with thread embroidery, so decided to use thread embroidery to embellish the area outside of the heart (beads inside). Here 's a detail picture of some of my thread embroidery.

thread and bead embroidery, Robin Atkins
This piece took quite a lot of time... Once in a while, I experienced that glimmer of being completely satisfied with it! Most of the time, however, I was quite critical of it. Do you suppose our weather has anything to do with my mood?

San Juan Island, snow on March 6, 2009
I took this picture from our kitchen window on March 6th... and we had more like this today. Cold, gloomy, windy, driving rain, hail, snow... [gripe, gripe, gripe...]

So maybe it's the weather.
Or maybe it's my expectations for the piece compared to last year's.
Or maybe my critical attitude is valid.

What do you think of it now that it is finished?

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, February finished, bead embroidery
I believe it's important to give it a place in my heart and the scheme of things. How to do that? Think about what it may signify... The flower beads are so crowded on it... Could they signify abundance? Could the piece represent the abundance of love that flows my way? Yes, I think it could. And, y'know what? That thought helps!


  1. Your beadwork is truly a work of heart!

  2. WOW, Robin, this is absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! and I mean totally yummy, like a box full of flower candies!! Since I am enjoying the same weather you are, I am uplifted viewing all this *spring* in your beadwork.

    The thread embroidery adds a wonderful & different texture - adds a pretty sheen as well. How did you enjoy (or not) working with it? And there is something about all that beading on those little squares of batik that reminds me of those highly decorated pastries in up-market shops. You know, the ones we stare at in amazement wondering how in the world the little masterpieces were created...

    THANK YOU for your beautiful work. Although you struggled with it, it was definitely worth every bit of your effort. A big, warm hug to you!


  3. This is beautiful, Robin... I think the flowere overflowing the heart signifies both the love you give and the love that comes your way, and maybe you feel sometimes it's too much? not good or bad, but just there. Either way, it's beautiful and love the colors and the embroidery work!

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  5. Your heart is beautiful! I like how you you placed fabric extending beyond the heart. You are ready for Spring (as we all are) with an abundance of daffodils, tulips, hyacinth
    and crocus. Actually the little clusters of purple remind me of hyacinth.
    (I hate when I have typo errors) :)

  6. Oh I must tell you how it makes my day when I find notice that you have anew posting to your blog!!! Such inspiration!! Thank you so!! About this piece- I have to say that even before I went to visit Vaentine for Little Robin, I could sense self entrapment!! Why do we do this to ourselves.???? Your Little Robin Valentine is very sweet and dear and relatively simple. This one is bursting at the seams and full of joy!! Go WITH IT!! It is a GOOD , NOOOO A GREAT THING!!!
    March is a tough mnth for us in this hemisphere- weather is yucky and all that is really good about it is that it preceeds the joys of April!!
    I love the added texture of all of the thread work and your french knots with the silk thread are divine!!!
    Spring is coming!!
    Big Happy Hugs!

  7. Elaborate and lovely, as always. And, thank you for sharing the process of the making as well as the finished piece.

    Two very different Valentines, indeed! I don't think it is the weather that makes the difference in sentiment, or at least, not only the weather, but simply life.

    Probably the weather was not much better last year, when you made the Valentine heart for Little Robin, but your thoughts and feelings were focussed on a much earlier time in your life, childhood, and sweet memories. Light colours pleasing the eye, and all soft lines.

    This time, we have different, muted colours, and the stringent shapes of the added fabric squares disrupting the soft flow of the heart lines. On the other hand, the embellishment with a thousand flowers or so, the little robin and the rabbit, does indeed point to abundance in your life.

    So, let go of your doubts, be happy with your BJP Valentine piece!

    And all those french knots! I don't think I managed more than one of them so far, and that wasn't a beauty.

    Big hugs,

  8. It's a nice piece. I see the abundance of flowers as wanting spring to come.

  9. Robin,
    It is gorgeous, sumptuous, amazing. You might have struggled with it but the results are amazing. I know that you have a hard time at this time of year with the icky weather, sometimes it makes it hard for us to realize exactly how much abundance is truly in our lives you give out so much joy, inspiration and love and we in turn give our love to you. Keep up the amazing work. Love the addition of the thread work.
    ~ Angie

  10. I love the colors, the abundance and the thread and fiber makes it a much more complex and interesting piece to me (not that I don't love simple too) and one I think would show you new facets each time you look at it closely....lovely!

  11. This is a beautiful piece Robin. It is really different than your usual work. It flows differently and I like this. The flowers signify hope and beginning to me. I need this too. I love that you have a bird and bunny, your signature. Julie C

  12. Well, when that self-critic rears his ugly head, I think we should drop-kick him down the rabbit hole and let him stay there until the weather clears up. First of all, I love love LOVE the embroidery -- and all the pink french knots are just a delight --

    It's funny, I think the piece looks somewhat flat with these ErUPtiONs!! of flowers -- like no matter what you do, there are going to be flowers! Like, shut up you stupid self critic -- I'm going to make this piece beautiful in spite of you...I like that your heart is open and your words are honest...I think it shows in your work which is the most beautiful part of all.

    Abundance?? You betcha! By the truckload -- so much that it crops up like a weed even where you least expect it. Lucky you. Love and daffodils, Susan

  13. The heart is beautiful and it overflows because you have an overflowing love and joy to share with us all. The colors are so soft and soothing and I really like the needlework combined with the beads. From my heart to yours - may there be sunshine and joy

  14. Absolutely beautiful! What else is there to say. You have a beautiful heart and it is overflowing - we can all see that in the way you share your work and knowledge. Thank you

  15. Anonymous1:04 PM

    Oh my this is just beautiful! I love the flower beads and the way you've let the beading overflow the edges. Perfect for a heart!

  16. Robin this is spectacular in so many ways. I love the sherbet type colors and your thread work is lovely. I think your idea of abundance is really fitting. I love your fabric combination and how you used seeds, then flowers to define each type of fabric. I think its spectacular and shows how you have grown from Little Robin, to a more sophisticated adult Robin. I have found with myself, I tend to over think each piece, which in turn paralyzes me and makes me afraid to even work on my piece. I am happy you were able to work through your doubts and create such a lovely piece of work.

  17. I think it's amazing. My feel about this piece is that you have a lot of parts to your heart and they are all sewn together with beads and love. Simply put, maybe that's all it is and maybe you're in one of my moods where we don't like what we've done. But it's beautiful and I like it. Wish I could feel it - as always - hugs. Heidi

  18. Robin, this piece is simply yummy! I love the colours and the fact that you've combined fibre with beads AND that the flowers are spilling over the edge. That's a technique that I'm particularly fond of. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with for March.

  19. Ah, this piece simply exudes happiness and abundance, Robin! Love, love it . . .

    Kathy V in NM

  20. Oh how heartening to get all these positive comments... makes a gal feel better, it do! If I look at these flowers with your eyes, they seems so much nicer! Thank you! Springy hugs to all, Robin A.

  21. About the French knots...

    Actually they aren't French knots! They are colonial knots. Sharon B. shows how to make them here. They take a minute to learn, but seem to be more uniform and less likely to pull out than French knots. My friend Christy says they're also quicker than French knots. She might right because this went pretty quickly for me. Robin A.

  22. Robin, for some reason your fabric/flower clusters remind me of snowflakes falling on your heart.
    So to me this represents your urge to beautifully turn the snow into Spring...

  23. I get a feeling of warmth from this page. It's as if you have gathered the flowers and they are spilling out of the heart much as your warmth and encouragement spill out on to us. Very positive vibes from this. Beautiful!

  24. Anonymous4:09 PM

    I must admit I was struggling to put in words what I thinking about this piece as its seemed conflicted, then I looked at your valentine from last year which was straight forward romantic play. This is the art therapist in me, I suspect, trying to find meaning when there might not be, so bear with me.

    What I see is a heart (the romantic dreamy side of you) struggling to come to the surface. The squares are the order of life which is trying to squash the heart but within the boundaries there is so much stuff it can't be contained. Some of the stuff has completely broken free and merged with the heart. There is definitely a struggle going on here.

    I keep looking at it but there is so much I just can't focus on one thing, my eye is travelling all over the place but the background keeps in from completely running off the page.

  25. It's heart that overflows with beads!

  26. Beautiful! I like the effect of the flower beads in the squares.
    Marty S
    Crackpot Beader

  27. Robin, I love your comment to Marty's latest post. I only have one question: When would we sleep??


  28. I prefer Colonial notes, too! Much easier to keep neat. After reading all these comments, I can't think of anything to add about the block. Your idea of abundance really suits it and it is beautiful.

  29. Another fabulous piece!
    I find it so funny you don't think so!?
    Love Brenda

  30. Having had a 'home truth' vocalized to me yesterday, I've decided that most of what we think is probably not to the point anyway, but being human we think it anyway. I love what you came up with in thought and in deed.

  31. Hi Robin, This piece has an old-fashioned sweetness and timeless look to me. Flowers remind me of my grandmother's and great grandmother's embroidery that I so treasure. I, too, like the abundance of love insight.

    I wonder how you would feel if instead of looking at this piece as something you made and open to critique, you were to look at it as a gift given to you. What would you think about it if it arrived unexpectedly in your mailbox? Might you even want to mail it to yourself and find out?

  32. I love it! It came out so beautiful and happy, even if your mood wasn't most of the time. It's so nice to see your work in progress shots... someday I'll start one of these! And I love your Madrona trees... how nice to have them right out your window!

  33. Oh WOW!!!! This is so gorgeous!!! You really should have put a warning on the BJP site that this is totally addicting! Just started my February page and I am loving this! I'm doing a bead encrusted heart for Feb and I'm so excited! :) Marva

  34. Robin, this reminds me of a cross between a patchwork quilt and the beautiful chenille beadspreads with floral works on them. The color selection is a favorite of mine, and I so love flowers in beautiful abundance! Although the rabbit is small it seems to kind of pull everything together and say, "It's Spring". Love it!

  35. Anonymous2:33 AM

    I can't get my eyes off of this beautiful work!<3
    The abundance in it, makes the heart sing!


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!