Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bead Journal Project ~ June Finished!

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, Stay in Touch with the River, detail
Sometimes when life gets too busy and stressful, I forget about my ongoing need to stay in touch with the river, the internal life of my soul, the spiritual flow, the source of love, wisdom and peace. For several months in a row, I hardly touched the river at all and seemed to go through the days on some sort of automatic pilot. When finally I felt the dryness, I knew I needed to make myself another visual reminder to stay in touch with the river.

bead journal project, Robin Atkins, Stay in Touch with the River
So here is my BJP piece for June, Stay In Touch With The River!

I've been grappling with this concept for some time. It shows up in my piece for March (Zero Circle) and again last month as I seek help from tiger (Open the Door). I am thankful to Pat Allen and her book, Art Is a Way of Knowing, for giving me the word river as a metaphor for that deeply honest force flowing within. And right now, a sense of contentment and ease holds me for a moment as I share my work and this immensely important idea with you.

* * * * This and That FYI * * * * *

The shells on this piece are old puka shells from Hawaii. I found a strand of them when I was teaching there years ago and have hoarded them ever since. I got them out to offer some to my brother for his under-water quilt... Ha! Immediately I knew some had to go on my river piece.

The tiny pink flower sequins are from Accessories of Old, a shop full of vintage beads, trims, sequins and buttons, located in Bethesda MD. They sell these flower sequins on line, here. Thanks to Plays With Needles for the discovery of this shop!

You can find new flower sequins (and oooooodles of other new, reasonably-priced sequins) at Cartwright's. Most of the new flower sequins are large, compared to the vintage sequins I used on this piece, which I think are only about 2.5 mm in diameter.

The folded fabrics are strips of loosely-woven cotton which were hand-dyed with indigo by my friend Carol Berry. The top piece had a single indigo bath, the lower piece had two. I pulled the threads to make the holes and fringed edges. You can see these strips and the pile of pulled threads at the bottom of this post.

My finished BJP pieces are 4" x 6" ~ post card size. I haven't decided yet what to do with them and consequently have not finished the edges of any of them yet.

Most of the seed beads on this piece are size 15s.


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  2. Ooooh! I'm loving this one. I don't know why, but the entire piece just makes me happy. I love your use of the fabric and the uneven pale pink disks are just lovely. Your use of the flower sequins is so sensitive (at least I think that the flowers are some type of sequin). BTW, where the heck to do you get those?

  3. OOOO I do like this, Robin! Finally got the book by Pat Allen and guess I need to crack it open some more to get my source flowing too! Guess it has to be tended to, not just taken for granted, huh.

  4. Anonymous5:03 AM

    Robin, this piece is exquisite! Your words and your work never fail to touch my heart and soul.
    How large is this piece?

  5. I love this piece,Robin. It's so serene both in color and design. The idea of a spiritual river inside our soul is so appealing and I know what you mean about not tending to it and consequences of that. Beautiful work and words.

  6. Visual journaling is so powerful, Robin. Your piece conveys so much in the folds of the fabric, the sway of the beads, the open space, the blueness of it all. I hope that you are reconnected now and flowing with the river.


  7. The patterns in this piece are beautiful, Robin!

  8. leilani1:28 PM

    Thank you so very much for showing this wonderful piece!

  9. I like the story better than the piece, but you know what a figurative person I am. I like what you've done and I really liked the story!!!!!

  10. The Story and the piece - what an amazing combination! I am not, generally speaking, into blue - but this one speaks to me - very soothing...I can hear the river burble!

  11. So very beautiful, Robin! I think there is a bit of that need for "the river" in all of us but it can be so difficult to express. Fortunately for all of us, you expressed it so well.

    Kathy V in NM

  12. Your river sings to my heart. I think it must be the fabric -- with the beautiful color, the folds, and the missing threads --

    Then, the puka shells smattered around are very calming...almost as if they are droplets on a calm lake...

    And then the little bits of beading, the suggestion of water, the suggestion of waves and flowers...

    It really is soothing; and quite evocative in its simplicity.

    Flow on, baby, flow on...

  13. I am thinking about this piece and the River Metaphor. I think I should investigate the book. I love bead journaling and realize its not always what you bead, but the thoughts that suggested the beading. You piece this month is a perfect example which was brought to life by your explanation of how you created it.

    Thank you again.

  14. YES!!!!!
    What lovely beading, I can feel the waves on the bottom of the piece, and the refreshing spray on my face!
    Powerful theme you've got going there - phrases to live by -
    Open the Door!
    Stay in Touch with the River!
    Once again, you, from your river, offer such yummy inspiration!
    Thank you, dear soul!

  15. What a nice piece with all the treasures on it.

  16. It looks like a beaded curtain!

  17. I enjoy the softness and happiness that seem to ooze from your piece. I think this must be a river of rejuvenation. It's also very interesting to compare this piece to your other BJP pieces especially Zero Circle.

  18. This piece really speaks to my soul, Robin. I am a kayaker and the literal flow of the river calls to me like a siren song. On the river, I am part of the natural world that surrounds me. When I paddle into the flow, I have become part of the river’s journey. The river feeds my soul and I am content. When I am away from the river I feel a sense of longing and when I return, the river welcomes me back like a long lost friend. I love how this can relate to creativity and the creative spirit within all of us. Sometimes life can steer us away from the river, but the river is always there, waiting to welcome us back to the journey. Your piece is a beautiful representation of the river within you. Thanks for sharing.

  19. To All ~ Once again, I feel that all-important witnessing in your coments! I've got to write a post about this concept... It's about knowing that others have seen and heard your deepest, most honest self and honored it by so doing. That's what happens so often with the BJP and why I love being part of it! Thank YOU all!

  20. I'm late getting to the river in more ways than one. Beautiful piece. It really is textural but flowing. Water is primal but I hadn't thought of it in terms of a river but more as the ocean with it's currents and tides. I think lots of people move back from their river but creative people feel it more. Some cerebral types I know will stay away from the river for a lifetime and forget the river brings wholeness.

    It's great you used such special beads and hand dyed fabrics. It makes the piece even more whole.

  21. This is lovely! There's so much movement in it yet so peaceful feeling also.

  22. Instead of writing a long comment right now, I will just pick out one point: Once again I am amazed at the ease and elegance with which you express yourself artistically.


  23. In response to your comment on my status post to the BJP08 site (sorry, could not figure out how to reply directly from there). No I did not get pictures at the show as no photography was allowed. I do have photos of the pieces I submitted and can post those to my blog. I will let you know once I get them loaded.Unfortunately I did not get the 2 BJP08 pieces photoed once I got them framed. I will need to add those once the show comes down in late August. Liz Thompson and Linda Darmes who are also part of this years BJP also had pieces in the show. Liz snuck at least one picture and has it on her Facebook. Several of our round robin works were also in the show.

  24. Robin,
    To me, the movement is growth. Forward, but not always in a straight line. Lovely!
    Marty S
    Crackpot Beader

  25. I immediately embraced the river concept as I have been recently journaling about needing to find a rhythm to my life and river image fits... Let me share something in return that came to me this morning as I was separating the ewes to milk from the lambs... I have a series of pens and gates I use to move them... Sheep get very anxious when moved about but if I am patient and leave the right gates open, they will separate themselves...Somehow conserving my energy and leaving the right gates open is important to my creativity.. How? not sure yet....

  26. Anonymous2:43 AM

    the new pattern used int the piece is fabulous.


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