Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What to Do with 12 Bead Journal Pieces?????

I'm just about finished with my 12th and last BJP (Bead Journal Project) piece for this year and wondering... what shall I do with them? Maybe if I review some of the finishing solutions from the first year of the BJP, an idea will come to me. And, if you're in the same boat, you might want to join me for a look-see!

Books and Journals

bead journal project, book by Terri A
Terri A (Pirate Poem) knew from the start she would assemble her pages into a book, placing them back to back and binding them with cloth.

bead journal project, wheel book by Denise D
Denise D (Farewell) stitched her 12 beaded butterfly-wings to a strip of stiffened felt which she had pre-folded accordion-style. She then joined the inward folds to make a wheel book, each page representing a spoke of the wheel.

bead journal project, book of pieces by Heidi T
Heidi T (A Year of Beading) finished each of her pages by whip stitching the beading to stiff felt. She added grommets to the left side so that she could bind her pages into a book.

bead journal project, accordion book by Jann B
Jann B (Encrusted Pages) attached her finished pieces to stiff, hand-made paper which she had pre-folded into an accordion-style book. She made two of these, each with 6 of her pieces.

bead journal project, accordion book by Sandy J
Sandy J also made an accordion-style book featuring half of her pieces on one side and the other half on the other side. She stitched her beadwork to felt and put a stiffener between the two sides so it can be shown standing.

Framed Work

bead journal project, piece (title: Hope) by Lisa Binkley
Lisa B (Hope) gave her beading a quilt-like fabric background and then framed each piece individually.

bead journal project, exhibition of pieces by Lisa Binkley
Lisa was invited to have a show show (Fabricated Realms) of her framed pieces and sold several of them. Don't they look wonderful hung together like this?

bead journal project, framed piece by Ellen C
Ellen C (Fish) also framed each of her pieces individually.

bead journal project, framed pieces by Karen L Cohen
Karen C (Spiral) designed her pieces to be in the shape of a spiral. She folded back the fabric edges on each of the pieces and stitched them to black upholstery fabric using the picot edge stitch. Then she framed them all together as one piece.

bead journal project, 12 pieces framed by Christy H
Christy H stitched her pieces to fabric-covered foam-core board (see directions here) and framed them all together. She decided to arrange her pieces in chronological order.

bead journal project, framed pieces by Robin Atkins
I grouped my pieces into three groups (not in chronological order, but in groups that looked good together) and glued them to heavy book-board that I had covered with papers I painted with acrylics. This is one group of 4 pieces.

bead journal project, beaded buttons on cards by Lunnette H
Lunnette HH (Priceless) made one beaded button per month and grouped them chronologically in four groups of three, one group for each season of the year. She then made button cards (featuring her own calligraphy), attached the buttons and hung the cards in a frame-case. The frame can be opened and the buttons removed easily should she wish to fasten one to her hat, jacket or purse.

Tapestries and Wall Hangings

bead journal project, wall hanging by Jann B
Jann B (Silk Fusion) made two BJP pieces per month. You saw one set (accordion book) above. The second set is less heavily beaded. These she attached to a wide piece of satin ribbon (6 on one side, 6 on the other) to make a two-sided room-divider wall hanging. (For the above image, a picture of one side is placed right next to a picture of the other side so you can see both sides at the same time.)

bead journal project, 12 pieces by Angela P suspended with chains
Angela P backed her pieces with stiffener and hung them from chains.

bead journal project, one of Carol L's pieces
Carol L (Midday 4) made post-card sized pieces (4" x 6") in the "landscape" format. She used three different color schemes, making four pieces in each scheme.

bead journal project, tapestery featuring 4 pieces by Carol L
Carol then made three tapestries (Shimmering Gardens), one in each color scheme. This one is Midday.

bead journal project, banner featuring 8 pieces by Trish L
Trish L (Casey) used 8 of her finished squares to make a long, narrow banner. You can see more of this piece here.

bead journal project, 12 pieces in a wall hanging by Krispi S
Krispi S, being a quilter, hand-stitched rails between her 12 squares creating a single wall-hanging with all of them.

bead journal project, quilt by Thom Atkins
Thom A (In the Beginning) made each of his pieces as a beaded quilt. Hung grouped together, they make quite a show.

Other Possibilities

bead journal project, pieces on rings by Morwyn D
Morwyn Dow (Elementals) finished each of her pieces with a leather binding and grommets at the top. She bound the pieces together with large metal rings.

bead journal project, box for storing pieces by Morwyn D
Morwyn also constructed a leather box to hold the journals with a 13th beaded piece mounted on the top.

bead journal project, purse and one BJP piece by Morwyn D
Anytime she wishes, Morwyn can remove one of her pieces from the rings and attach it to a leather purse, which she also made.

bead journal project, box for storage of banner by Trish L
Trish L (you saw her banner above) used two of her other pieces to embellish a store-purchased box to hold the finished banner.

bead journal project, exhibition of triptych sculptures by Bobbi K
Bobbi K (Triptychs) fashioned four standing sculptures, each with three of her postcard-sized journal pages. If you click to enlarge, you can see that she made fabric tabs on the sides of her pieces and passed the "legs" through the tabs to form the sculptures. Like Lisa, she was invited to show her work in an exhibition.

bead journal project, barrettes by Becky L
Becky L decided at the start of the year to make one hair barrette each month.

bead journal project, beaded flower pins by Jean U
Jean U decided at the start to make flower pins and to stitch a background for each of them. Each can be removed from the background and worn.

Important Tip!

OK, we've had a look at some possibilities. But you know what?

We do not have to do anything with our journal pieces.
The greatest benefit we will ever have from them is the creative process of making them! We don't have to keep them all together. We don't have to exhibit them. We can simply feel good that we have realized our commitment and have learned more about beading, more about art, more about technique and more about ourselves.

I'm going to take the pressure off my shoulders to do something fabulous with my pieces. Well, I already did something with two of them... You'll see that in my next post. But the other 10 can hang out in a box indefinitely. Maybe I'll get inspired and think of something for them... maybe I won't.

One of our members emailed me a while back in more-or-less panic mode because she had sold a couple of her BJP pieces. She wondered if she should make new ones to replace the ones she sold. My answer to her is this: "You could replace them if you feel you need a full set of 12 pieces for some reason. However, you already fulfilled your commitment and experienced the benefits of making them, so good for you that you sold some! Congratulations!"

My hope is that each BJP member will be gentle with themselves about this. If you have a plan for doing something with your pieces, great. If not, that's OK too.

One More Thing...

Last year, using My, I self-published a printed, hard-bound book with pictures and stories about my BJP pieces. There are several on-line publishing firms that offer this service for a fairly reasonable price. I bought 3 copies of my book and gave two of them away. I think it was about $40 per book , including shipping. You can see my book (virtually flip the pages!) on line, here.

It was challenging and fun to download the publishing program and follow the instructions to layout my book and the dust jacket. And it's really fun to have the book as a physical journal of my first year in the BJP! I'll probably do it again this year.

BJP Begins Again in January, 2010!

Registration for the next (third!) year of the Bead Journal Project begins October 1 and closes on December 15th. We will begin our 12-month commitment in January, 2010 and continue throughout the year.

Registration is open to both returning members from either of the previous years and to new members. This is not a competition. Beginners at beading are welcome. There are no BJP police... It's a self-commitment with nothing to turn in to anybody and no reports are required.

We will have a group blog (similar to this year's blog) and members are welcome to post pictures of their work on the BJP blog or our Flickr page. For more information, see the BJP website.

Past and current members who complete the project say it's a life-changing experience with amazing benefits. That's certainly true for me!

Is Your Piece Pictured Above?

If I've made any mistakes in what I wrote about your piece and you'd like to make a correction or if you have a link you'd like me to add, please contact me and I'll do it! And thanks for being such an inspiration!


  1. Anonymous5:52 AM

    Oh my -- this post is extremely timely for me. I just finished my first improvisational piece and had many questions about finishing. Browsing other blogs informed me of a pamphlet available on Robin's site about this very thing, and my order form is going in the mail today. I will lean what I can from that pamphlet; but after reading this post, I suspect there are as many ideas for finishing, displaying, and just plain enjoying as there are beaders!

  2. WHat an amazing and inspiring journey!!! Just breathtaking!!!
    I am all ready to sign up for 2010 and will nt miss thi deadline this year!!
    thanks so much for this post!!!

  3. FABULOUS post! I just put a link to this on my blog. I hope it brings you some new fans and participants in the BJP.


  4. Very inspirational. A world of talent. Thank you for posting these pics.

  5. what a smorgasbord of delight for the eyes and the soul. thank you for taking the time to put together this information-filled, inspirational post. I'm sure it took a while to compile -- it was wonderful to see all of the ideas and how everyone chose to implement...

    I wonder if the two pieces that you did something special with were the pieces about your Mom and Dad?? That's my guess anyway and I can't resist trying to solve a and appreciation, Susan

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I always love seeing what is going on in the bead world any your blog shows it the best. What a wonderful group of artist shown here. I would love to see your book and was just thinking about doing one of my blog just for fun to keep and share with my Mom who doesn't use a computer. Hugs, Diane

  7. How amazing and wonderfull! So much love put in to each and every peace and the composition of the whole...Very inspiring. Now that a new season is starting I feel compelled to join, but are hesitant..could I be as wonderful? Could I be as inspirational? The first demon to slay has already caught up with me.

  8. AS many ideas of what to do with them as people. Lise P and I traded a piece-a wonderful way to collect art!

  9. To Dees ~ The good part is you recognize the demon. Slaying that demon will be the first (and possibly one of the biggest) benefits of participating in the BJP!

    To Sandy ~ OMG, what a great idea! You actually traded one of your BJP pages for one of hers? Or was it other work? Either way, that's fabulous!

  10. What a fun post and so much inspiring work.

  11. What fun to see all the pieces that have been put together. I've sort of gotten off track, but like some ideas from some of these and may thing of a way to use them. They'd be neat where my quilts are hanging now and be different. I like that idea.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Phyllis King3:41 PM

    Robin, thank you SO very much for posting all these wonderful pix of how the BJP beaders are displaying their finished pieces! This having been my first year to participate, I'm now mulling around ideas also of how to keep or display or sell them!The main worry is how to keep dust off them if displayed, so I'm leaning toward the framing ideas with glass protection over the fronts.Thank you, thank you!!!

  13. great collection of ideas! I have been trying to figure this out myself too.... My idea for finishing is similar to Bobbi K

  14. Once again an extremely informative post! And a great witness to others' journal work and the entire BJP.

    I LOVE your book. Your work shows beautifully in that format. Isn't there just something so REAL about a book, that adds a certain weight and importance to our work. And yet it gives a bit of distance as well, so that more insights may arise.

    Thanks for sharing all this, Robin!

  15. Wonderful and Inspiring ... a visual feast, well done everyone!

    I am going to sign up for the 2010 group ... just try and stop me!


  16. I'm with Carol...WOW!!! Everyone's work is just wonderful! Not sure what I'm going to do yet with mine, since my first idea isn't going to work ~ maybe for next year! I will plan better for it.

    Thanks Robin! For all your help and encouragment this year! Looking forward to a great next year!

  17. You all have tapped into something so deep and beautiful...and endless!
    Thank you so much for this incredible post...

  18. stunning! wow, how long did you work on this post anyway????
    personally, all my pages from this year and last year, all in a box. no one can see unless I choose to have witnessing. !

  19. This was amazing and totally inspiring. I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of some of the pieces but delighted to see the smaller ones like hairclips and especially the buttons... I feel secure about starting small and can hardly wait to sign up....

    Gerry Krueger
    Spokane, WA

  20. OMG, how gorgeous!!! I am not a beader and I am so messmerized by the whole thing! How very awesome!!!

  21. To All ~ Thanks so much for taking the time to view and comment on this post! It took me a loooong time to find and size all 22 pictures and organize them in some way that might make sense... therefore your comments are especially appreciated on this one!

    To Wanda ~ Maybe the beads are calling to you, like little sirens in the sea?

    To Gerry ~ It's odd, but the small ones can be just as compelling as the large ones. Lunnette's pieces for this year are about 5 times as big, but the buttons got her started!

    To Pam ~ Your box and your pieces are precioius!

    To Kathleen ~ Great and welcome!!!

    To Vicki ~ Thanks for looking at my on-line-print book. I do love having it!

    To Sheba ~ OMG, your prototypes are marvelous, and what a great idea to test your finishing ideas!

    To Phyllis ~ Yeah, glass is good for dust, but it also prevents tactile enjoyment of your beadwork and puts a slight barrier between viewer and the beading. I've framed a number of my pieces behind glass, but it's always a difficult decision.

    To Mary ~ I like your idea too!

  22. Robin,

    Congratulations on a fabulous post, chock full of creative ideas. How ever do you keep everything straight? Is there a follow-up blog where people post their completed works? Or do you just get tons of emails? I'm thinking of entering my triangles into a juried art quilt show in 2010. Of course, that means that I need to mount them on something quilted. I do have some ideas, but won't reveal them until I figure out the logistics (no, not the box one I told you about earlier). I don't even plan to start working on this until at least October, when all of my other deadlines have been met. I'm thinking that it will be a good winter project.

  23. Wow! Loved all this fabulous art. "In the Beginning" would have to be my fave, with the buttons a close second.

    Yes, btw, I do wrestle with my Barbie!

  24. Ahh Robin -- what wonderful pictures and it was so good of you to put them all out like that.
    I took inspiration from all of them!
    I'm hopint that this can hook me up to Denise D -- whose butterfly wings set of a chain in my mind!
    I want to learn the color graduation that she uses -- it has inspired me in yet another way!

    I have 8 of my BJP finished (except for the backings) and hope to have that part done within a week. If so, I'll be getting them up then!

  25. The beaded books are awesome!

  26. Spectacular eye candy, thanks very much for posting so many gorgeous photos!!

    What incredible design inspirations.......


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!