Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting October Started

I have started October's block a little bit early since I am going to spend the weekend in Baltimore meeting Robin Atkins (our wonderful leader for the BJP). She is going to be teaching classes and giving a presentation about last years BJP for the Needlework Guild there. I get to be her teacher's assistant which should be a lot of fun. Heck just talking and playing show and tell should be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to my trip.

Since I will be going up there on the 2nd of October I wanted to have my block painted and ready to go. My original plan was to do my Tree Spirit this month but since I am going to be away from home the next 2 weekends and then having Wayne come home and there are some challenges to doing my tree spirit the way I want to I thought that maybe I should pick a month where things would be a little less hectic (if I can find any). Then I had to figure out which of the other blocks might feel right at this point. I have not assigned any particular blocks to specific months.
I chose the Butterflies since I wanted to do 2 butterflies to represent Wayne and me. With his homecoming happening this month something that represented us seemed rather appropriate.

I liked the way that I did my block for September so repeated the process. The background of the block was painted onto the poplin with fluid acrylics and the butterflies were painted onto the medium weight interfacing.

I am not sure how much of the painted butterflies will end up showing since I will be beading them and probably adding some embroidery as well. I used some of my left over painted fusible web to add leaves to my background before collaging the butterflies on to the background.

I chose our favorite colors for our butterflies. My favorite color is purple and Wayne's is blue. Each butterfly has a bit of the other's color on it to show that we each have some of the other in us. Color is one area where you could get seriously bogged down in symbolism so I will include some of the meanings for each but not spend days or weeks trying to wade through all the available meanings of each color.

Dark blue carries the blue symbolism of importance, confidence, power, and authority. Darker shades of blue are associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism. Blue is the most common favorite color. Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable, loyal, faithful, and committed. The color of sky and the ocean, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. As the collective color of the spirit, it is restful and calming. Blue is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women.

Purple embodies the balance of red stimulation and blue calm. A sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types. It can be uplifting and calming to the mind and nerves. It is also considered to encourage creativity. Often considered a feminine color since it is a favorite color largely among women.

Now onto the symbolism of butterflies, two butterflies represent marital happiness. The butterfly represents transformation and metamorphosis; very appropriate since we are both going through periods of personal growth and change.

Butterflies are considered a symbol of the soul. Since they shift shape they are connected to the faerie realm. They remind us that transformation is inevitable and that growth and change do not have to be traumatic. They encourage creativity and freedom and encourage us to get up and move, life is a dance.

Since the symbolism in this block is strongly about both Wayne and I the ivy that was climbing up the tree decided to grow when I wasn't looking and has climbed onto this block. Ivy speaks of attachment, eternal friendship, fidelity, and wedded love making it a perfect addition to this block. It is also another feminine symbol to add to a long list of symbols in this project that are feminine.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Honu in Beads

Each of my pieces will be backed with a piece of dark purple felt. It will act as a frame so that the pieces will stand out from the collage and also give me a more substantial surface to work with. I also found that the stitching gives it a quilted look which I like.

Since I started planning this project I started looking for beads that I thought could work. Mostly this had included looking for leaf and flower beads I knew that I was going to include a honu and when I saw these mother of pearl shell beads I knew they would be perfect for the shell of the honu. I bought them in both a green and a beige. They were the first thing I added to this piece. Sort of like a puzzle I had to figure out what pieces would fit where to stay on the shell of the turtle. I filled in the rest of the shell with 15/0 beads so that the shell read as a whole better.

The next thing I added was the gold 15/0 beads as ripples in the water. I used the gold ripples of paint as a guide. I added a crystal sequin for the eye of the turtle. At this point it was time to follow my instinct. I considered adding more beads to the turtle but felt that I would lose the painting and overwhelm the piece. Instead I chose to add stitching to accentuate the scale like surfaces. I quickly found that satin stitch with cotton embroidery floss was perfect for the look I was after. I added variegated rayon thread to edge all of the scales. The last step was more ripples with more variegated rayon thread. I really love my block.

Turtles are connected to the feminine and are a symbol of the primal mother. They are a symbol of heaven and earth and help you unite the two in your life. They remind you that Mother Earth provides you with all of your needs and to take time for yourself.

They are keepers of the doors to the Faerie Realm. They help you awaken the senses on a physical and spiritual level and tell you when to go with the flow. They help you connect with your most primal essence letting you know when you need to go within your shell and only come out when your ideas are ready to expressed.

For my Sacred Tree piece part of what they are symbolizing for me is mothers. All mothers from my mother and mother-in-law to all of the other woman who have adopted me into their lives and given me support and love as I have lived in different areas. Also the motherhood of birthing new ideas and letting that creativity out into the world.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Friday, September 12, 2008

Honu Swimming

It has almost taken me longer to get this piece posted than it do to do the piece. I swear it seems like my brain has melted lately. After 2 1/5 months of constant headaches I guess it makes sense although doesn't make it any more fun. I have been doing Physical therapy which is helping some.

On to more pleasant thoughts, Since this is the first block of the year I got to see if I would enjoy painting my blocks and then see about how I wanted to bead them. Like the photos that I used last year part of the challenge for this year will be balancing out the painting and the beading. I will also be using embroidery for the finer details.

I am using a poplin weight fabric as my "canvas". My first step was to prime it with acrylic medium. I am using Fluid acrylics mostly for my painting along with some of the different Jacquard brand fabric paints. This one was particularly easy to do since I didn't have any background details (like branches or roots) to include. I just sat down and had fun making a watery world for my honu to swim in. I layered a couple of different layers of techniques. One of the things I really like about the fluid acrylics is that you can treat them almost like watercolors. I enjoy working with watercolors but knew doing handwork on watercolors wouldn't work well.

After painting my background I copied my honu onto medium weight interfacing and painted it. using a separate layer for my honu allowed me to not have to mask out the space for it on my painting and to work in a more fluid way on the background. After she was painted I cut out my honu and then collaged her onto the background and then covered the whole piece with a coat of a thinned Lumiere paint which gave the hole a glistening quality like water.

I have a lot of information on symbolism of honu/turtles and will split it between the two posts for this piece. Honu is what the Hawaiians call the green sea turtles. We lived in Hawaii for 2 years (there are some nice advantages to moving with the military.) We went snorkeling a fair amount and found my times swimming with the Honu amazingly spiritual. I always felt calmer when I was with them. If you were calm and just being they would let you swim along with you often within touching distance. Since many of them are 4-5 feet long it is inspiring. I have them swim right towards me like they were as curious about me as I was about them. We have several pieces of art that include honu and they still call to me.

Sea Turtles symbolize the bravery of the young. They have a connection to the moon. They represent the ability to travel long distances to reach home (seems pretty appropriate with all of the moving and traveling I have done as a military spouse). They remind you of your duty to the completion of your life path. They symbolize wisdom, longevity, patience, tenacity, self-reliance and carrying your home on your back.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Mountain of Strength

I am sorry that it has been so long since my last update. I went to Bead Fest in Philly and had a great time and bought a whole lot of beads to use on this years BJP. More colors of 15/0s and a really nice selection of leaf and flower beads. I got home and immediately got sick with a really bad head cold and it has kept me completely down and out, just starting to feel like time on the computer again. Now if I could just get rid of the headaches.

The next part of my background is stitched although I will be adding more to this area as I have time. (waterfalls anyone?) More rayon machine thread for the stitching in this area. I am using a lot of threads meant for machine sewing on this project, partially since I have them and that saves me buying as much tread for all of the embroidery work.

Actually the mountain was Wayne's idea and I liked it. Based loosely on the Na Pali coast mountains on Kauai (one of the Hawaiian islands). Mountains have a lot of symbolism attached to them. They are the meeting place of heaven and earth, as this they also represent the stages of spiritual ascent and transcendence. Spiritual attainment can be ours as we overcome our obstacles. They are places of communion with spirits and deities and the realm of meditation. They are a masculine symbol (one of the very few that seem to be making it onto my piece). They also represent wisdom, solitariness, power, assertiveness, resurrection, freedom, peace, strength and majesty.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website