I've joined the 2008 Bead Journal Project and will be making a piece of bead work for each month starting with September. This is my first year participating in the BJP and the first piece of bead work that I've worked on in nearly 18 months. I am really excited to be participating in this project and I'm looking forward to a years worth of beading.After I signed up for the BJP I began thinking about what types of bead work that I wanted to do for the up coming year. I am currently participating in a year long journal quilt project and my work for that is all over the place in terms of style and technique. I've had a lot of fun working on the journal quilts but I think that as a group, the quilts lack cohesion. I don't really mind this because I've learned so much with creating each piece, but I will likely come up with a loose plan for next year's journal quilts. For the BJP I wanted to come up with a way to unify the twelve pieces other than the just size of the piece. I didn't want to plan out all of the pieces in advance, but I wanted to have a topic or color scheme that would help to keep my work cohesive.Eventually, I decided that I wanted to bead about the different geographic places that are special to me. Over the years I've developed strong attachments to particular locations and I feel connected in many ways to these places whether it's from the experiences that I've had there, the beauty of the landscape, or the emotions that the place evokes. Feeling emotionally attached to a particular location is sometimes described as 'having a sense of place'. If you are curious to learn more about a sense of place you can read about it here. So my theme for the upcoming year will be A Sense of Place and the circular shapes will create little porthole views of what that location means to me.For September's project, I decided to bead about the north shore of Lake Superior. Adrian and I had a camping trip planned for the middle of the month so I decided to start my beading then. I wrote about that trip a few blog posts back. I also wrote about my fretting over the bead work a few days ago so you are welcome to read about that bit of neurosis if you want to as well. To be honest, I was a bit anxious when I began this piece. It had been a while since I had done any beading and it was daunting to see that blank circle of cloth with just a line or two of beads on it. I had completely forgotten how to relax and trust that the bead work would evolve naturally. Once I quit being panicky, I really began to enjoy the beading. I beaded the blues and grays of the water first, added the greens around the lower edges and then worked on the rocky shoreline. Adrian found the little heart shaped piece of basalt while he was hunting for agates on our camping trip. I wanted to be able to see the rounded edge of the heart so I decided not to use beads hold it in place. Instead I glued it down with Fabric Tac glue.
Here's how I finished the piece:First I removed my outline basting stitches and tore off the excess paper around the bead work. Using a double strand of nylon upholstery thread, I sewed a length of running stitches a half inch away from the bead work and all the way around the piece. I cut out a circle of mat board and glued a piece of cotton batting to it. For me, bead work is a tactile thing as well as visual. The thin batting gives the bead work a slight convex softness and makes it wonderfully touchable. I gathered the bead work around the mat board and secured the thread with several back stitches. I pulled the upholstery thread quite tight to help stretch and smooth the bead work out on the front of the piece. Big Kitty pondered the meaning of life as I finished off the piece with a row of size 14 beads around the edge. I glued leather to the back of the piece and signed it. Big Kitty gives it her approval by laying on top of it. I call this piece Love on the Rocks. You can read more about that in my blog post of the same name. I can't wait to begin my October piece!