Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bead Journal Project ~ April Finished!

bead embroidery, BJP by Robin Atkins, April, detail
April, the month of new beginnings, is my favorite month of the year. More than the new year in January, it offers a place where I can turn around, take baby steps or giant leaps in a new direction, full of elation and hope! Nothing symbolizes this more than the force of a waterfall and the vitality of skunk cabbage, the first blooming plant of spring! So here you have it, my April BJP (click on picture to enlarge and see details)...

bead embroidery, BJP by Robin Atkins, April
And here's the poem I wrote to go with it.


A small creek,
dry in summer and fall,
becomes a miracle
of burbling water
tumbling down
over moss-covered rocks
in April,
the month
foretelling birth,
fresh season
of budding vitality.
Here skunk cabbage
hoists its unfolding,
primordial leaves
and gaudy yellow spathes
through chilly,
muddy waters
of a temporary pond
made wide
by the rushing flow
of snow melt
and abundant rain.
Each day
on our daily walk,
we pause here,
grateful to receive
a nurturing breath
of new beginnings.

Solidly beaded (mostly with size 15s) and textural, this piece took quite a few hours. (Please don't ask... I don't keep track.) The proof is that I'm only just starting to work on May, when I should be stitching June's piece. Oh well, it happens and I shall do my best to catch up before the end of June.

You might want to take a look at April's piece in progress and the photo of the actual waterfall and skunk cabbages that inspired it here (starts about a third of the way down).

I don't know that I'll ever work from a photo again. While I like my piece, especially what it represents, I actually prefer the similar-theme April BJP piece done by Lise Pederson (below)...

bead embroidery, BJP by Lise Pederson, April
I love the spontenaity and joy evident in Lise's work, which is not as strong in mine.... It's OK, I learned something doing my April piece from a photo... been there, done that, don't have to do it again!

If you have an interest in reading more about skunk cabbage, I found a wonderful essay (and drawings) about the Eastern Skunk Cabbage here ... it's quite similar to our western variety!


  1. I agree with you, Lise's work does seem full of joy and spontaneity. Yours is wonderful too though, the deliberate lines you create with your beads are beautiful. I love the it, it makes me want to try.

  2. For you it was an interesting experiment (working from a photo), for us it is something very beautiful to see, especially in combination with the poem.


  3. Absolutely beautiful!

  4. One is an interpretation of a thought. One is an interpretation of a picture that lead to a poem which was an interpretation of your thoughts.

    Its all what I think this project is all about. I like both versions.

  5. Robin!!
    Great piece! i love the waterfall, the texture of the multi level beads really makes it move!!! I do really like Lisa's piece as well. your poem is wonderful!!!
    So glad that you are back blogging!! Missed you!

  6. Oh, I like yours just as well. It is just different, that is all. In fact I like both of them for what they are. Odes to a certain emotional sense. Good work both of you.

  7. I love your piece. The waterfall and flowers are wonderful. You did a wonderful interpretation of the picture you worked from. Great work. Thank you for all your comments of my piece. Lise

  8. Oh goodness, I really like this! The waterfall is so pretty. And I love your poem! This almost makes me like April which has always been one of my least favorite months!

  9. GORGEOUS! You really captured the movement of the water in and around the plants. This is so beautiful and calming. I love it robin! Your talent never ceases to amaze me.

  10. Whenever we stretch ourselves,it's always interesting to me what we choose to retain and what we choose to leave behind from the new experience. I admire your interpretation of your photo and the poem captures the spirit of your walk and your admiration of the waterfall that you pass by so often. You have elevated your ritual and been grateful for it -- that part I think I love the most...

    Though the way in which you used the colors and shapes of your beading forms to create the illusion of your waterfall was brilliant. I feel the elevation of the piece and that the water is moving down from a high place, hitting rocks and being redirected -- just like a waterfall...just like us...

    and I know that isn't an easy thing to accomplish...nope, not easy at all...congratulations xo Susan

  11. I think it is a triumph. Firstly because you challenged yourself to work in a different way and saw it through to the end. Secondly because all the movement of the tumbling waterfall and the rushing flow of the stream and the fresh vitality of the skunk cabbage that you speak of in your poem is evident in you beading.

    Also, I really like it :-)


  12. I like both pieces. They are just different.

  13. Robin, when I look at your piece I think "rich." There is the richness of the woods, the water, the skunk cabbage...and there is the richness of intensity of the full beading, the time that went into it...and the richness of the poem that brings it all together.


  14. I do love both pieces but have never been even tempted to work from a photo or drawing...it's the improvisational aspect of bead embroidery that thrills me and I'd lose that following another image...that's also the reason I've rarely followed a pattern of any kind during my years bead weaving.

  15. Wow, both works have motion in them. I love both in their own way, but I do have a question for you, Robin. ALL 15S! Are you insane? ;-) This morning I took a walk with my dog when I got off work & instead of walking through the neighborhood, we walked through the field & I stood as mist came up over the little creek between our neighborhoods. It was so pretty & serene with all kinds of vegetation and bird. Then a big heron swooped down & landed in the creek. We both stood there quiet (which was amazing as usually Fiona barks at everything), but it was nice to just BE a part of the scene for a moment.

  16. To All ~ Thanks! I really like seeing my work through YOUR eyes!

    To Dot ~ Wow! You really had a special moment there by the creek with your dog and the heron landing before you!!!! Yup, maybe I am a bit crazy... at least, I'm crazy for 15s. LOL! There are some 11s in the piece too.

    Robin A.

  17. Oh, Robin...I love this piece and all it represents! It's gorgeous and I think you did a beautiful job beading it from your photo. The poem you wrote to go with it is lovely.

    I admire you for trying this approach and even though you feel it isn't your cup of tea...you did an excellent job!

    Lise's piece is lovely too. Thank you for sharing! ~Lisa

  18. WOW Robin. It's absolutely gorgeous. RICH is definitely the word.
    Personally, it would make me absolutely crazed to have beaded solidly with mostly 15s on this but it is gorgeous and LOVE your poem...

  19. OMG... your piece is incredible! I can almost hear the waterfall as it hits the pond at the bottom of the descent. And I want to dive right in.

    Thank you for your constant inspiration!


  20. The piece is absolutely beautiful! And so are the beads you sent me! I love, love them. Thank you very much. A real vintage treasure, way more than I expected. The bead with the spider and web is perfect for a crazy quilt.

  21. Robin it looks like a painting. Your work is gorgeous.

  22. Your piece is breathtakingly (is that a word?) lovely. I can hear the sound of the waterfall and feel the spash of the water on the rocks. I think that your sensitive treatment of the water is my very favourite part of the piece. I'm a very visual person and this takes me back to many happy places. But woman, all 15's??? You must have spectacularly good vision and a ton of patience. Either that or a very strong magnifying glass. Tee, hee, hee....I so look forward to your next piece!

  23. Beautiful work...love it!

  24. An amazing and intricate piece - with or without the poem. Beautiful!

  25. Robin,
    I am so proud of you, what a wonderful challenge for yourself. Even if you never do a photo again you have done a superb job on this one.
    I think almost all 15s was a good choice (of course I love them too) they allow you much greater detail than 11s do.
    I feel great joy when I look at your piece. It is a quieter joy than Lisa's piece but it makes me feel very happy. There is a calmness that comes over me viewing it, It is like the first moment that spring creeps up on you and says look at me and you become one with nature.
    As always your work is beautiful.

    Love, Angie

  26. It beautiful Robin, since I saw it in the flesh I can appreciate the 3D of the skunk cabbage. I want to try this myself. Its lovely. Julie C

  27. WOW ,


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!