Monday, August 13, 2007

August BJP (Bead Journal Project)

I started August with something completely different than what I finished with. I did not like at all where the original idea was going, so much so that I just stopped. I spent a couple of days thinking about this month - what it means to me - now and in years past.

I was looking through my beads, cabs and other embellishments when I came upon these wonderful little brass crowns - I immediately thought of my grandmother (well I thought of my friend Teri too since she is pretty sure she was born into royalty and switched at birth, but wait... that is a whole different story).

Thoughts of my grandmother always conjure up good, warm, loving memories for me. She was born in 1900 and died August 1998 (the same day as Elvis by the way). She was, and is to this day, the most amazing human being I have ever met. She outlived all of her siblings by many years, her husband by 58 years and all three of her children. I do not ever remember seeing her sad.

She was the epitome of goodness and kindness, she would describe herself as a good christian and one of the few I know that honestly fit that description. Never judged, always loved... everyone. Never uttered a cross word or raised her voice - neither was necessary. She never drove a car, she never wore pants - it never occurred to me that she ever would or should do either. She instilled in me the importance to vote, because I could. She told me how much trouble she got into at home when, at the age of 17 she had the audacity to cut her hair short, without her father's permission (what a rebel!). She described how my grandfather courted her before they got married. She talked about her first job as a cashier at the 'moving picture show'.

She stepped in and offered guidance and hope when I lost my parents 6 months apart at the age of 21. It is from her that I have felt and known unconditional love. I miss our conversations and I miss hearing her laugh, but I feel her presence and think of her every day. It is a comfort to me.

I used various vintage items on this piece, in the upper left there is a crystal pendant with a cross - I found it in a grab bag of vintage beads. Other vintage items: the brass crown, the heart which is a crystal cab that had been glued to a shank to make it a button (I cut a small hole through the fabric and pellon to secure the shank - a trick I learned from one of Robyn's books I think) , the beautiful nail heads on her lower body, and the flowers in the lower left are vintage german glass foil back sew-on's.

I added bit of fiberfil before I sewed on the backing so it is very soft - almost like a little pillow.

Below are some WIP photos

Here's the back before attaching the ultrasuede

And here it is after attaching the back

This was before I knew I would be adding wings.

Here's a photo of me and my grandma taken in 1995:


Morwyn said...

Lovely - from concept through story to finished piece, simply lovely. The picot edging is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kathy Wagner said...

Grace - Your memorial piece is beautiful! Thank you for all the detail you share in terms of constructing the piece. I also really like how you show us the back (unfinished and finished). And your photo is amazing - I don't know how you got such a clear photo with all those sequins on there!

Brenda said...

What a lovely tribute to your Grandma. Grandmas are the best.
The fabric goes so well with your piece, I can see why you did not have to bead any more.

matilda said...

adoro il tuo stile, grace, e mi piacciono moltissimo le tue bambole, così cariche di passione.
leggere della tua nonna mi ha commossa.
sarà che non ho mai avuto nulla del genere dalle mie nonne. una è morta che ero molto piccola e con l'altra non ho avuto che rari contatti.
in realtà non ho un rapporto granchè amorevole neanche con mia madre, forse per questo mi sono tanto emozionata.
ciao, matilda

beadbabe49 said...

another beautiful piece,'s just gorgeous!

coral-seas said...

I love your piece, Grace and truely enjoyed reading about your Grandmother. Your love for her shines out from this piece and your writing.


KV said...

Grace --

I don't know how you did it, but that cab face looks just like your grandma to me! Lovely, lovely piece exquisitely done.

Kathy V in NM

Kiwi Ellen said...

That is gorgeous Grace - How blessed you were to have such a wonderful Woman to inspire & guide you thru life

Lillian said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your wonderful relationship with your grandmother! It makes your art even more precious :o) Beautiful work again! I love how you finish off your work (the back, etc.) Lillian :o)

Grace said...

Thank you all the kind words! I appreciate each and every comment.

Matilda, your words are especially touching - thank you so much for sharing.

It has been a joy to take this journey with all of you over the last three months - I genuinely look forward to the next nine.

Sunni said...

Grace, this is such a beautiful piece.
And I agree the face is shaped like your grandmothers and resembles her and you both.
What a beautiful tribute to you grandmother.


Dot said...

What a beautiful piece! And a lovely, lovely tribute. A gorgeous piece of art..

Judi D said...

Wow, what a wonderful tribute!!! It is such a lovely piece.

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

This by far is the most touching beaded piece I've seen you do, thanks for allowing us the opportunity to know you better. Unconditional love is so great, your grandmother is truly a special person...

Grace said...

Sunni, Dot, Judi, Monica - thank you all for stopping in and leaving a note. I'm so glad you all liked it, I appreciate the comments.

Leaves of Grass

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body - Walt Whitman