Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vision and Freedom - BJP pieces for June and July

Vision (BJP for June), detail

Oh perfect joy!!! I'm back to beading again. And guess what? I'm back to solid beading. It's the way I started with bead embroidery. Then for the past 4 years of the Bead Journal Project, I've been playing around with mixing the fabrics and allowing them to show, even experimenting with beading on felt.

For this year's BJP, I'm making smaller pieces, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, the size of Artist Trading Cards. I don't think I'll be trading them though, as they are too personal and too much work compared to many ATCs I've seen. My theme is Blessings (like a gratitude list). As usual, I'm working improvisationally, with no plan, trying to "journal visually" about each blessing in the most spontaneous way I can.

Due to writing my new book (The Complete Photo Guide to Beading) and eye surgeries, I am a half a year behind in the BJP program (which began in January), yet determined to complete all 12 pieces by the end of the year. I decided not to go back to January until later, as this month's blessing is so current and so important to me. Below is my finished BJP for the month of June.


I love the word "vision" because it has meaning on different levels. The obvious one for me (having just gone through two eye surgeries for cataracts with a hugely remarkable outcome) is the blessing of sight, of being able to see color, form, detail, depth, light... Perception of color saturation and detail were gradually lost to me as the cataracts grew and thickened. I am so very blessed to have good vision again.

But vision also refers to:
1. Unusual competence in discernment or perception; intelligent foresight: a leader of vision.
2. The manner in which one sees or conceives of something.
3. A mental image produced by the imagination.
4. The mystical experience of seeing.

All of these are blessings too!

If you wish, you can find more about Vision in progress, here, and a post showing before and after cataract surgery pictures, here.

My next piece will be for July and the blessing is Freedom, another word with multiple interpretations. I'm excited to get started on it. As you can see, the fabric is ready to go!

Fabric selected for July BJP, Freedom

Already freedom is at play here, because I gave myself permission to cut a piece of hand-painted fabric that I made in Ann Johnston's workshop. You know how easy it is to hoard fabric like that, waiting for the "perfect" use? Super easy to hang onto it forever! Well, thanks to freedom - I cut into it! Yay!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eyes and BJP update - back to beading!

Thanks everybody for your supportive and helpful comments here and on FB regarding my two eye surgeries. Sometimes I think I'm a big baby... I don't cruise through medical stuff easily the way it seems many others do. For me it was a difficult 6 weeks.

good news
  • my perception of colors and color saturation is dramatically improved
  • I can drive legally without glasses
  • it's my last week of the eye drops routine
  • I can thread needles and bead when wearing highest power reading glasses
not so good news
  • vision in right eye is still a bit blurry
  • still have loss of peripheral vision in left eye
I look forward to seeing the optometrist on Thursday. Hoping that he'll be able to give me a prescription for glasses; that I won't have to have another surgery in right eye; wanting it to be over, to have clear vision at all distances with glasses that I put on in the morning and leave on all day!

OK, enough said about the eyes...  And what was that beadwork above? Well, here's the really good news of this post... Are you ready?  Taaadaaaah....... I've finally started my Bead Journal Project pieces for 2012!!!  I'm 6 months behind, a bit bewildered at the starting gate, yet excited to get moving!

I'm visually journaling about blessings this year in ATC (artist trading card) size. This one is obviously about the blessing of vision. It probably will be solidly beaded, something I haven't done in previous years with my BJP pieces.

More good news! Here's a peek...

My 2011 BJP pieces visually explore my relationship with various people, places, and events in my life. December's BJP is Me and Mountains.  I've always loved the mountains. I recall driving in the hills around Sutter Creek, CA and over the range between San Jose and Santa Cruz as a child - glued to the car window, enthralled!

We moved to Minnesota, where rolling hills and river banks are the mainstays of elevation changes, when I was 7. Returning to the west coast after college, looking for a job and a place to settle, I wandered toward the NW. I'll never forget driving north on I-5 and seeing Mt. Rainier for the first time, one of the greatest thrills of my life! Instantly I knew it was the place I'd been seeking, the place for me.

I've hiked the Wonderland Trail, up and down ridges for 100 or so miles, all the way around Mt. Rainier. For countless happy and peaceful hours, I've hiked trails in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. And countless times, I've rounded a corner to catch an unexpected glimpse of glacier-topped Mt. Rainier or Mt. Baker, gasping aloud at the beauty.

In this piece, the top-left to bottom-right diagonal represents mountains; the other diagonal represents me. Where our paths cross, there is a beautiful trillium, an extraordinarily beautiful, mountain wild-flower! Says it all, don't you think?

I've now completed all of my pieces for the 2011 BJP! Next step is to embroider the subject on each one, stitch them together, and then quilt them into a wall hanging. More on that soon.