Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August BJP Finished!

Robin Atkins, visual journaling on resist-dyed felt
I started this one in July, before Aug. 1st when I would list my six words for the month. I needed a stitching project for a sew-day with friends, so why not begin a little early? Recently I got a new prescription for my glasses and they gave me the old lenses. I thought it might be fun to use one of them in the piece!

So first I picked one of the resist-dyed felts I made in Chad Alice Hagen's class that had a circle on it where I might be able to put the lens.

Robin Atkins, resist-dyed felt
Then I started stitching on the felt. This particular piece was quite thin, less than half the thickness of commercial felt. I needed some stiffener to keep my stitches from puckering. I suppose I could have used acid-free, interleaving paper (as I usually do), but this time decided to try a light-weight, non-woven interfacing fabric (which worked quite satisfactorily). Although I didn't finish that day, I worked on some of the stitching shown below.

Robin Atkins, visual journaling on resist-dyed felt, back stitch
The stitches are done with cotton buttonhole twist. I used mostly back stitch (above), but around the circle I used chain stitch and then filled in the centers of the chain with size 15 beads (below). The rock is a chip of slate from some steps we had made on the trail to the studio.

Robin Atkins, visual journaling on resist-dyed felt, chain stitch
After choosing my words on August 1st...


I thought long and hard about how to add them to my piece. I wanted them to be under the lens, suggesting the need to really see the words, or even to magnify the importance of them in my current life... words to live by. I considered writing them on paper and then mounting the lens over the paper. That idea didn't seem quite right for the piece, as I wanted to preserve the mottled look of the felt in the circle area.

Finally I got the idea of writing the words on a somewhat transparent fabric, organza, then basting the fabric over the circle and embroidering the words with backstitch (through both the organza and felt). It worked pretty well! After finishing the words, I made a beaded bezel to hold the lens over the words, as per the instructions in my book, Heart to Hands Bead Embroidery. The last step was to cut the outside edges of the organza about a quarter of an inch away from the beaded bezel. I used my finger to scruffle and fray the edges of the organza. Here's how it looks...

Robin Atkins, visual journaling on resist-dyed felt, bead journal project
I used colonial knots (similar to French knots) to mount the felt onto my painted paper and added a twisted embroidery floss border (as on all of my BJP pieces for this year). The finished size is 7 x 7 inches. Here's how it looks...

Robin Atkins, visual journaling on resist-dyed felt, bead journal project

After finishing it, I got out all eight BJP pieces for the year, placed them in order on the table and took a good look at them. Conclusion? It pays great dividends to stick with a challenging technique or artistic concept! Step by step, piece by piece, improvement is seen.

This is the year I took on words... and collage too. I've been fascinated by other BJP members over the three years who so successfully use words in their work and who use paper collage techniques as inspiration for multi-media collage with fibers and beads. I was afraid my need for technical perfection and structure in my art would be a road block, which it was and to some extent still is. But definite improvement is there to be seen, each piece a small victory over the one before it. Yay!

Stay tuned, I'm finally back on the beadlust/BJP track again! My next post, in a couple of days, will feature a tutorial on finishing and after that a post showing my July BJP!


  1. Oh Robin! This piece is just gorgeous!
    I can't pick just one thing that catches my eye, just the feel of it really strikes me. I really love the felt piece you picked as well as the colors and the words... wow, good message for August and not just for you :) Maybe I'll get brave for next year and work with words... you are definitely an inspiration!

  2. I was actually thinking just last night, long time not hearing from Robin, hope she is OK.

    From this piece, I would say, Yes!

    It instantly reminded me of the art of the Aboriginal people in Australia and the story telling images they make. It seems to be in complete harmony with the words balance delicately in a sphere and is just beautiful.

    What is the piece of stone on bottom right?

  3. Your thoughts and clear thinking are a joy. I wish I could be as clear when I am stitching. I am hoping (planning is a better word) to complete my march page before heading to SF and Ohio in four weeks as well as all the pre-stitching for class, etc,
    diane, NZ

  4. Your pieces are so innovative and now repurposing to boot! Very nice Robin!

  5. I love this piece! The colors are wonderful, and there's something about the dyed felt that just speaks to me. I particularly like how you embroidered your words and placed them under the lens. It sets them apart, but they still feel very much a part of the design. I, too, think these words are particularly appropriate for this August.

  6. Anonymous5:26 AM

    Some of your techniques are not known to me, especially working with felt, collage and words. I'm impressed with how well you are able to integrate all these things and achieve the emotional connection of a piece. I suspect you would say it's done "step by step" -- very, very nice!

  7. The way you've risen to the challenge of using words each month just amazes me...mostly because it would paralyze me, so I find it magical that you do it so well!

  8. Your words always have meaning for me. Your layering of techniques always fascinates me and your pieces inspire me. Can't wait for your upcoming posts. - Marlene

  9. This is magnificent!! What a feast for the eyes and only wish it was right in front of me so that I could touch the texture. Your words for August speak to me -- and your piece is just the most beautiful way of sharing them.

  10. Your work never ceases to amaze me! This is a very special piece. I love the effect that using the resist syed felt gave it - the luxuriousness of textures is yummy!

  11. You every work surprises me. I can that this post is one of your best creations. I love the color and the design that you choose. You are very talented.

  12. Rust and navy! One of my favourite colour combinations. It's a very effective piece! I love your use of the lens and as a matter of fact, have a box of them just waiting for the right moment. The frayed organza was a nice touch! Soft, yet ragged at the same time.

  13. Wonderful! I always enjoy reading your thoughts about your projects and seeing the photos of your progress.
    Marty S
    Crackpot Beader

  14. The longer I follow the posts from all the BJPers, the more I learn. I enjoy this piece immensely, but even more I enjoy the process of creation.

    PS Expect a surprise from me in a week or so!

  15. Really nice! I like the way you are combining different techniques in your pieces.

  16. yes too many techniques are been put together in one embroidery... i liked it... its also hard to do and takes time also..


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!