Sunday, March 28, 2010

BJP for febuary 2010

March is well on its way to hand over to april and here I am, posting on my febuary BJP page. Time is flying when your beading! I did the same to this page, as I did to my january page. But before I start my own story, I want to thank all of you who took the effort to really look and listen to my piece and left a comment on what it told them. I was moved by all of your reactions and didn't expect so many of them to be right on the mark!

Most of you saw the breaks in my heart, the mends (there was even a zipper conceived) and the growth. There were thunderclouds, butterfly-souls, scars, light and darkness but all ended well so I lived happily ever after. However silly this last sentence may sound, I must admit that I hadn't expected so many honest, warm comments and so much love expressed through them. It has really lifted me up in the very hard times I am going through right now. So before I start telling you my own story, I want to express a heartfelt:

Thank you !!

1. what is (in) my heart?
It all started with a piece of off-white felt, and a whole, red felt heart. I don't know exactly what brought me to cut it into pieces, but somehow after I had cut out the heart I felt the need to divide it. Thing is that probably as a side-effect of my depression I often feel like I am shattered to pieces: dark&light, sad&bright, black&white. I often struggle to unite these pieces and have a feeling of  "me". More often then not I don't have this feeling of being whole, I usually feel torn and tossed between all the extremes that my emotions and thoughts show me.

The top right-parts that were "zipped" together have a little secret behind them. On my first day in hospital I found a € 0.05 coin on the floor of my room. It struck me like a lucky-penny and that's why I wanted it in my piece. Somewhere in my heart, there is some luck hidden. Locked up for now, but there for when time is right.

2. hold on tight
The sun always shines behind the clouds is the English phrase, in Dutch we say: "after rain the sun comes out" (my translation). It is the darknes that dissolves to light, but with a heart at the center of the darkness. There always is something good to come out of hard times, though often we can hardly perceive it when we are in the middle of such turmoil. So I will have to hold on tightly and sit the ride out.

3. the garden of life
I first had my heart cut up in pieces, but pinned it to the backing in the right shape and order. While beading I realized that just part of me felt really dislocated right now, in need of mending. That's why I relocated this one piece, just outlining where it had been, and put it in my little garden where it can grow and heal again. Like in a real garden, a lot of work needs to be done and that is what I am looking at now.

4. missing parts&turmoil
So this missing part is just outlined, showing where it should be and was, but now it is threatened by dark clouds and and almost sucked into the dark whirlpool below. There is a steep path shearing right next to my heart and I must cling on to not fall into this darkness. But it is not pitchblack, there still is some light so I can try to stay on top and see a little of the beauty that is hidden in this darkness.

5. one day I'll fly away
The thought of the butterflies representing my soul is not farfetched at all. It was the last piece of the project that I beaded and I did indeed intend to represent my wish to sometime be able to fly away from the sorrow that is inside me. I wanted to ensure myself that one day, I will be able to put all this behind me and fly into the clouds, the sunlight... I used red thread with matte beads to connect the flight and air to the heart. It don't want to fly away from my heart, because no matter what, it still is mine.

So now branching of to march, but that is to come in another post. Those who have known me for some time now, also know I will not leave you emtyhanded. I found this beautifull music-video of Chinese classical Folk Music, interpreted by the Vanessa Mae. Very calming to listen to and a joy to watch.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Growing strong?

I don't know where it is written, but there must be a law that states that when you encounter something it will be the first of whole series of encounters.... To me it always leaves the impression of close encounters of a third kind: "This means something, this is important!"

It al started with my doodling around while at the office talking to a customer. With just a few simple lines a tree appeared and I thought it would be nice to be able to use it for the Bead Journal Project sometime. Then I visited Susan Elliot at Plays with Needles and read that she was growing a tree! So a few encounters later I was hesitant to start my own home-grown greenery, afraid it would look like plagiarism and I certainly don't intend to be a copycat!

Luckily I realized that my BJP would be about me, not about Susan, nor about any other tree-minded designers. They have inspired me immensely though and I am grateful for their efforts to share. For this moment I will leave you with my humble beginnings on my march journal page and adventure in growing green and strong this spring...

Do not be afraid to go out on a limb ... That's where the fruit is.



What is in my heart?

February 14th is Valentine's Day all over the world... Thing is though I don't really care for Valentine's Day. The custom was never big over here in my younger years, and now that it has conquered our Calvinistic little country I don't have a thing for it. My only sweet valentine memory was from when I was about 8 years old. Our dad took me and my sister Noëlle to the toyshop for what he called: my special friends day. We could pick whatever we wanted (well, to a certain price level). I had longed desparately for a Barbie doll to be mine, but my mom was totally against that honouring the 2nd feministic wave that was over us. Barbie equalled: suppression, low self esteem and a stepping stone towards Body Dismorphic Disorder. Thanks to my Dad, that night I got my Barbie look-a-like and was on cloud 9!

So missing the proper Feb#14-gene I didn't want to make a "classical" valentine BJP. Still, beading about what I hold dear wouldn't be so bad an idea now, would it? I set out thinking about how my piece would have to become an illustration of what is in my heart. The most obvious answer being: my 2 lovely kids. I asked my daughter (who has inherited my Barbie DNA) if she had for example a single shoe leftover from what was once a pair and would be able to miss it. I already had some spare parts from what used to be a toy-car from my son. I did want somehow to incorporate a heart(shape), but wasn't sure on how...

... and then my life was turned upside down from one moment to another. I am struggling with a severe, recurrent depression and things got so bad that it was best if I were admitted. All of a sudden what was in my heart was not merely my kids (although they are what keeps me on my feet), but even more: how can I survive? What is in my heart that needs to be seen and told? What can it tell me about the things that need to heal? Here's the outcome of my soulsearching:

It would be tempting to tell you all about this piece, but I first want you to just look at it and see if it releases its story. I curious to what will be your thoughts and feelings, and maybe even musical associations and will be back with mine later.

In the meantime, if you want to have fun with all the things you can do to or with a Barbie be sure to check out the portfolio of Margaux Lange.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

BJP for january 2010

In my post "Do you remember?" I told you my sisters story, the link to why my BJP for january has grown the way it has. Still I owe you the story behind all the different stitches and cabochons I used.

I have borrowed a little trick from Sharon Bogon over at Pintangle, who explains blocks of her Crazy Quilts like I have done in the picture below.

1. a ribbon for life
In the center is a Danish coin with a hole in it: 25 ore. I glued it to the felt after I had already put the ribbon on. Then I  fastened it with a round of backstitch and then continued to bead with peyote stitch. Around the ribbon came a round of backstitch again and I worked that out into a snake-stitch, which looks quite intricate, but is in fact very easy. From the start on, this part of the piece resembled a medal of honor of some sort and I guess it is. If anyone has struggled through life and deserves to be honoured for that it is my sis.

2. there were 3 of us
As I wrote before I am the oldest of 3 girls and when I turned my little treasure chest upside down, I was surprised not only to find the Danish coin, but 3 Swedish coins as well. All are remnants of our family vacations to Scandinavia. There is no point in saying that when you are used to have a 3-some, all of a sudden becoming a 2-some will never be "normal". The most astounding thing is that 2 out of the 3 coins had a different design on the coin-side. (If you click-to-enlarge on the picture above you can see what I mean.) I felt like this even more emphasized the fact that our pact was broken. These coins I glued to the felt as well and embellished with backstitch. The darker blue, fake pearls are sewn to form a Triskelion, an ancient Celtic symbol of power.
3. out of her hair
I got my treasure chest out to find the blue hairpin in the first place. My sister had worn it and it was so delicate that it broke. I loved the two tiny doves, so I asked her if I could have it.... that was 25-some years ago. Seems like eons since we were kids. The piece of fur is from a bunny. I put in in there because at her second B-day my sister got a guinea-pig that unfortunately had to leave our home in shorter than a year because both she and our mom were very allergic to it. Aside from some birds and goldfish, it was the only pet we were ever allowed to my great distress. It took some time to decide that I had to not only sow the back of the pin to the felt, but had to somehow sow the doves stuck too...

4. peacefull, loving memories
It is often said of some items that you should get them and not buy them for yourself because that would mean bad luck. This is true for rosaries and Buddha's to my knowledge. So when my sister wanted a Buddha for Sinterklaas (at least I think it was for that occasion) I went out and bought her one. It was in a time that her peace of mind was far away and she deserved some quiet, happy time. I put the Buddha-bead in the middle of the hole in hope that where-ever she is right now, she will have peace of mind.

5. in the bloom of her life
My sister took her life in the bloom of it, she was too young to die but didn't see a way to continue living with so much pain in her heart and mind. Now that I am going through one of the worst depressions in my own life (I am struggling with severe, recurring depressions from when I was 15 up to now), I know how hard it must have been for her. I know her struggle, for I am battling that same urge to put an end to things every day. I feel her sorrow, for it is my sorrow too partially. I love her even more for it, that is maybe the most strange outcome of this.  The past years I have wished every day I could put my arms around her and tell her we would be all right, and today I know more then ever we could have been here together. Still, she left in the midst of her season... she loved the flowering bulbs in spring and when we drove to the funeral home it was an overpowering, sunny day with crocusses, daffodils and snowdrops everywhere. Because of her love for the color blue, I bought blue anemones to lay on the lid of the coffin. That's where the blue flower derives from. If you would like to give the flower a try yourself, visit Beading Arts. She has an excellent tutorial on how to make them.

So all this is behind just one piece of bead-embroidery and I haven't even started on what I learned about me from this... For now, I just want to leave you with the wise words of a Little Prince:

"You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since's she the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's my rose."

the Little Prince by Anoine de Saint Exupery


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