Bridget's Leaf Garden

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February - for this month I wanted to incorporate the celebration of the the feast day of the Celtic Goddess Bridget - Imbolc - with the seasonal changes here. I had been reading about this holiday in a wonderful book called "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" by Mara Freeman. I also went back to some the original source material in Alexander Carmichael's "Carmina Gadelica". After this I decided to use the quartz crystal to represent Bridget and surround Her (in beads) with the first flowers of the season. So I looked around and saw a lot of lupines (I'm not sure which species) and a few California poppies (Escholtzia californica) in bloom. The Lupines produce beautiful spikes of blue flowers, whereas the poppies are brilliantly orange and chalice-shaped. I also included the little white beads for Milkmaids (Dentaria californica) which I've also seen at this time of year in some of the oak woodlands further inland. But of course I needed a leaf shape! At this time of year the California Buckeyes (Aesculus californica) begin to leaf out. Imagine a bare tree with silvery branches and each branch is tipped with green flame. This is the drama of buckeye leafout! But after searching out my tree (I'll post on this later) I realized that a simple outline of the leaf would not convey the experience of the leaves bursting out. So instead I used the shape of the entire tip with all the leaves coming out. Then as I stitched I also wanted to incorporate the design on the fabric. As it turned out it's somewhat abstract, but I hope still representative enough anyway!

January BJP

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I decided to do this year's BJP as an actual journal of what is going on in my life that month. I chose a 4x6 size because I wanted to have plenty of room. Now that I've finished the first one I'm not sure either of these were good choices! 4x6 took a lot of beading! Working on this as a journal was hard, there are a lot of tears mixed in with the beads and a couple of times I took sections out and redid them. But it was good - I was doing improvisational beading following Robin Atkins ideas in One Bead At A Time. I keep re-reading the book looking for directions! I'd find myself unsure how to bead a section and then when I started it just seemed to happen on its own.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. January was a difficult month for me. Last October I moved from the SF Bay Area to Sacramento. Not a huge distance in miles but emotionally it was like moving to a foreign country. I'm living by myself for the first time in my life which is wonderful but scary. I don't really know anyone here, I'm looking for work and still, most mornings, waking up and wonder why I did this. But it's also amazing and I'm glad I did it and I hope that shows up in the beading!

I have in my mind a very clear path of where I want to go and that's what the blue bugle beads are representing - a ladder I'm climbing to reach my goal. All the little side paths and circles are things that get me side-tracked from that goal. Some in a good way that help to clarify and redefine things, others in a negative, unhelpful way. While I was working on this I sent pictures to my daughter asking her what she thought. At one point I had the heart and passion plaque on and told her I planned to completely bead everything. She said that sounded good but to be sure I didn't lose my plaque or heart. I know she meant design-wise but it made me realize that was important for my life also. I came close to losing both in January but now that I've encircled them with beads, I think it's going to be ok!
One More Stitch. Design by Pocket