Sunday, February 28, 2010


Before anything else, I have to apologize for the poor quality of the photography.  I have been trying every possible approach I can think sunlight, shaded sunlight, indoors no flash, indoors with flash...all to no avail.  My guess is that there are too many mid-tone reds for the camera to differentiate, so the whole thing is coming out very flat and some of the colors are a little off.  Most importantly, my hand-dyed domino that I made looks like a whole lot of nothing.  In reality it is marbled with wonderful shades of red and makes a very interesting focal point...if only you could see it in real life.  : {

So, about this month's BJP.  My therapist suggested I do a piece on my hidden anger.  I have a tendency to hide my negative emotions, which causes me more problems in the long run.  But I don't express it for fear of permanently alienating the person it's about.  So I hold it in.  Makes for some interesting therapy sessions!  I decided to go ahead and do what she suggested, and I chose all shades of red to depict it.  I used everything from ruby red to brown red, shiny to translucent, cubes, faceted roundels, shell, bugles, glass chips, seed beads and sequins.  And every size I could get my hands on...15's, 11's, 10's, 8's, 6's.  My thinking is that anger comes in many degrees, sometimes it lingers and sometimes it passes in a flash. 

But while I was making this, I couldn't help think about passion also.  Red is a very intense, passionate color too.  And all these extreme emotions were swirling around the center, or the "heart" of the piece.  I had intended on making this a monochromatic piece, but I just couldn't help but add the black.  I was not thinking about the black all that much until it hit me like a brick.  With all these intense emotions going on, my subconscious just had to add "the abyss". 

The abyss is part of my battle with bipolar disorder.  It's what I call the deep depressions that I fall into.  The abyss is like a huge, black, empty mass of nothing that swallows me up and I can't get out.  It's as if I get stuck in it like a tar pit, and I claw and grasp onto anything...nothing...trying to get myself out, and it's just sucking the life out of me.  In trying to describe to people what I was going through to try to make them  understand the helplessness of the depression, I came up with "the abyss".   I sometimes tell my husband that I feel as if I'm slipping and I can see the abyss.  It's a terrible feeling, to say the least.

Then added to that is a little bit of silver...the rays of hope for more normal levels of emotions.  Even the bits of hope, though, are shrouded with red...anger and passion.  A little bit of calmness trying to find it's way through this intensity.

And as I was getting close to finishing I realized what I was creating.  My therapist suggested anger, but what came out was something completely bipolar, which I am.  I went 15 years undiagnosed with this terrible illness, and after having my life fall apart and losing my husband and kids for 2.5 years I am now medicated and relatively stable.  My family is back together and I regularly see my therapist and my psychiatrist, and I take my medications religiously.  But always in my subconscious, as shown in this month's project, is the turmoil that lurks beneath the surface, like a wild animal waiting to be uncaged; the abyss waiting to again swallow me up; the passion waiting to become out of control in a fit of mania.  And right now as I am looking at it more, I see the heart completely encased around the sides in protection against all that is swirling around it.  Maybe I can know that all this is there, it is all within me, but it does not define me and it cannot take my heart with it.

Again, I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.  But, if you want, you can click on it to get a larger view.  I know what I was thinking when I created it, but I am always interested to hear what you see.  Is it different than me?


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Oh, btw, if you are on Facebook, click on the link on the right sidebar and look me up!  Would love to have more fellow BJP'ers on my list of friends to keep in contact with!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February Piece Finished

Here is my February piece finally finished.  (If you would like to read how this piece started, go can back a couple posts to get up-to-date.)  I had many challenges, and maybe some personal revelations, while creating this one.  As you can see, these are not traditional Valentine's Day colors (much to my little Sara's chagrin).  I was inspired by the colors in the pendant, and after all, I am a little less than traditional in a lot of ways.  I make my own way about things and don't necessarily beat to the same drum.  Well, I did put in some hearts for the traditional Valentine's Day (although in amethyst and copper), but I wanted something a little different to express what my love for my husband and children was like.  I was happy to find a wonderful assortment of elements at Artbeads to embellish with, and I decided to go with flowers.  They start out as little seedlings, they need water and nourishment and attention and then they slowly grow more beautiful each day.  Maybe the large heart pendant is like a sun looking down on the whole thing, shining love over it all.  Or maybe that's a little too corny.  I don't know.  These things all crossed my mind as I was stitching away.

I had 10 amethyst hearts but for some reason I only wanted to use 6 in my design.  Then it dawned on I was making my little fans that look to me like pretty flowering bushes, there are 6 of us in my family, so there is one to represent each of us.  I almost didn't use the antique copper hearts, but at one moment in time they begged to be put on, so I did, but only two.  They are solid, weighted beads...they are not cheap, flimsy little things (I highly recommend them).  And I thought it was like me and Jeff...we are solid in our relationship and very grounded now.  There was a time when we weren't (which is a whole completely different long story), but now we are at a very good, solid place.  And that's what these copper hearts made me think of.

And then there were a series of pathways, each leading in a different direction, but isn't that really how it goes?  And the different little patches surrounding the vines and flowers reminded me of a birds eye view of the landscape.  So, to me this piece represents my family, our love, our paths, our growth, our roots, both at eye level and from up high to look down on the whole picture.  I'm afraid this sounds so silly and sappy, but I'm being honest with all the thoughts that went through my head as I made it.  Sometimes when I look at it, it's all cohesive, and other times I look at it and it seems complicated.  But I guess that's just how life is.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated.

Love Blossoms

You can click for a larger view, too.   Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Friday, February 12, 2010

February Elements

Here are some elements to my February piece.  It's nearing completion, but I didn't want to show the whole thing until it's done.  So you just get to see little bits for now. of my little hearts got twisted.  Just noticed that.  Will have to fix it.  Anyways, I decided to make these little fans using my 8mm amethyst hearts.  I love the facets on them, and I think they make nice reflections.

Then, I wasn't sure if I was going to fit in my antique copper heart beads, but I found a nice little spot for two of them, nestled in a little pathway surrounded by wildflowers.  ha...I just noticed my thread from my needle going through the pic.  Oh well, I never claimed to be a photographer!!!

The last little bit is the quilted heart where the pendant will go.  This is not how it's going to look when it's done.  This is the underlying beaded area that will peek through the cutouts in the pendant.

Now, I have a dilemma.  Remember my cute little flower vines in the previous post?  I'm trying to figure out how to bead around them without over-powering them.  I'm thinking I'm going to use lighter shades of pink tones and just do a simple backstitch around them.  If I put in too much texture or design, I think you won't be able to notice the delicate vines and little flowers.  What do you think?

I should be done in the next couple days...maybe even tomorrow.  We'll see!!!

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