Thursday, 31 January 2008

Sumptuous surfaces

I have enrolled in Sharon B's "Sumptuous surfaces" course via

In week 1, we must think about the design we wish to embroider and do some research on paper. I wanted to do something with the colour blue and began doodling around "blue eggs", a meditation on the subject of self protection. Also around tonglen which I sometimes practice.

Then, probably because Sharon B is Australian and also because I am reading a history book about textile dyeing, and am bewildered by all the weird interdictions that have been enforced in the past, I decided that I wanted to do a hommage to Helen O'Connell's discovery. She is an Australian scientist that has revealed 19 years ago that a special part of the female of anatomy is quite different from what we had been led to believe for the past centuries. If you feel comfortable with anatomy you can read more here. There was a documentary made on the subject which I saw a few years ago and dreamt about...

And so this is my design : 3 blue eggs and an anatomic border. The concept is : I am mother to two girls and protection of my young includes ensuring that they are in good physical and spiritual health and are not afraid of who they are. As a teenager I remember meeting artist Heidi Story in school and how she told us that she hadn't dared represent the middle part of bodies until she was about 40... Power over women is inflicted on their bodies and also on representation of their bodies. I have found it difficult to represent only the anatomy, so I see that I am not a very liberated woman...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

January TIF/BJP

Sense of direction

This is my January effort for the Bead Journal Project and the Take it Further challenge. Remember I was going to do a potato plant using the colours of TIF and inspiring myself from this design of the website Tête à modeler :

However, January is the month of resolutions and beginnings. I have spent a lot of time thinking about Christine Kane's suggestion of choosing just one word for the year and explore what it means to you. As I couldn't make my mind, it occured to me that what I need at the moment and have been needing for some time is a sense of direction. So my little potato flower transformed itself in a kind of 8 points compass rose - that was the idea anyway. Maybe it looks more like an Impatiens flower bud.In the process, I took much much more space than for my usual BJP pieces, which I have found annoyangly small lately. Impatience, need for space, confusion and sense of direction have been my themes for the month.

I am also preparing for a retreat beginning of February, and this piece mirrors the one I did for October BJP after my last retreat.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Leafy bracelet

I just finished this "Leafy inspiration" bracelet designed by Linda Frechen and published in Bead &Button No.80 (August 2007). I made a few technical mistakes but I think it's quite nice.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Presents in the post

Look what I got recently in the post, aren't they great ?

Drawing by Estelle

Beaded ornament by Grace

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

TIF January update

After thinking it over for a while, I finally decided to go with the colour palette for the January Take It Further challenge. I might also use it for the BJP challenge, depending on the time I have on hand this month.

I have learnt that 2008, is the International Year of the Potato. Potato was introduced in Europe in the 16th century, and from the moment it was allowed to be cultivated, there were no more famines (except in Ireland the year when potato crops were decimated by insects). French children are always told how scientist Mr Parmentier had soldiers posted near potato fields so that the people would understand it was something valuable rather than a trick of the establishment to poison them ; soldiers were told to turn a blind eye on the potato thieves.

It so happens that on my travel to my beading lessons I pass through the Parmentier metro station, which is decorated with a nice tile painting of a potato plant.

"Avoir la patate" is a popular expression that means more or less to be full of beans - and I need it at the moment :o)

I intend to work from pieces of felt and do some appliqué and bead embroidery...

Monday, 7 January 2008

December BJP

December BJP
So this is my December BJP. I don't like it very much. It didn't turn out as I thought it would. However in a way it reflects what I have lived in December, a weird month with lots of emotions including very unpleasant situations. Things started to get messy right from the start ; I was pleased to attach my vintage orange cabochon with peyote stitch, but getting absorbed by technique and forcible meaning, I sort of lost the grace and fulfillment that comes with improvisational/meditative work.

Drawing by Elsa Beskow

The basic idea was to go from a drawing by Elsa Beskow for her lovely book "Solägget" (The Sun Egg) which tells about a forest fairy who finds an orange and mistakes it for a sun egg. Oranges wrapped in gold foil used to be the only present children would get at Christmas years ago in France. So for me it was a reminder to go back to the origins of Christmas, being a time to share the light and warmth we have with loved ones, rather than follow the sirens of consumerism...

Kay Nielsen
Amongst the good things of December was a week visit to London that allowed me to see the superb exhibition "The Age of Enchantment". It's on at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 17th February 2008, and you can read about it here and here, and you can hear about it here. I also found out that illustrations by Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen have been republished. And of course Art Passions is always a good place to look at these wonderful fairytales illustrations.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Take It Further January

Sharon B has launched the Take It Further challenge for January. You can choose to work either on somebody you admire or on the following set of colors.
Though I initially felt totally panicked when I read this, I realize I've been thinking about these two issues since I came back from holidays... yesterday evening ! Funny thing how minds work...

Happy New Year !

I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2008 !

As Morwyn puts it, may all your wishes be fulfilled in every way that is good for you !

As Florence Grimm puts it, may this New Year allow us to take time ; time to appreciate each minute, a sun ray, a water drop, a smile, a nice walk in the countryside, a sunrise on a winter scene or a delicious tea near the chimney... Let's realize that as consumers we can change the course of things one step at a time... We always have the choice. Let's share.

As poet Rosemonde Gérard puts it (which I discovered through lovely Givernews blog)

Bonne année à toutes les choses,
Au monde ! A la mer ! Aux forêts !
Bonne année à toutes les roses
Que l'hiver prépare en secret.
Bonne année à tous ceux qui m'aiment,
Et qui m'entendent ici bas,
Et bonne année aussi, quand même,
A tous ceux qui ne m'aiment pas.

(Happy New Year to everything, to the World, to the Sea, to Forests ! Happy New Year to all the roses that Winter is secretly preparing. Happy New Year to all who love me and hear me in this World, and Happy New Year anyways, to those who don't like me)

Above all may this New Year see you reconnecting to your true feelings and needs, to your inner tenderness, may it see you grounding yourself for tomorrow's challenges !

With love,