Sunday, February 7, 2010


While I was journaling this morning - on paper - I had an insight I thought might be helpful to share with other members of the BJP.

This is the second time I've participated in the BJP. The first time was in the first year. My primary media is quilts, not beads, so that first year I made 8.5" x 11" quilts which I then embellished with beads. My intention was to make a ground or base of fabric and then use beads to tell the story each month. It didn't quite work out that way, and now I finally know why (or think I do!).

Because patchwork is my primary form of art making I ended up using fabric and the prints and colors in them to do most of the work in my journal quilts. The beads became merely the icing on the cake. At the time I was frustrated with what I was producing but couldn't figure out why. There was nothing really wrong with the work itself. It just wasn't fulfilling my vision of what I thought the BJP would be for me. That could be the reason I have yet to finish the final two quilts and why I didn't feel comfortable submitting photographs of the completed ten quilts to the BJP website.

This year I made a commitment to use a single piece of fabric as my base (and a much smaller format) in hopes that the beads would then be able to take center stage. It seemed to work in January, and it's looking good for February too. Now, with this insight, I may be able to accomplish the goals I had back in 2007, try out some new-to-me beading techniques, and even finish those two journal quilts!

Magpie Sue

Here's a link to my Flikr set of journal quilts from the first BJP so you can go have a look if you'd like.


Anonymous said...

I'm also a patchwork quiltmaker, the scrappier the better, and I can feel your enthusiasm in your earlier decision about combining quiltmaking and beading for your BJP pieces. However, I can also feel the wisdom in your new decision to go smaller and focus more on the beading than quiltmaking. I think making a quilt is a big enough challenge in itself, and I guess I'm glad I didn't try to combine the two because beading has turned out to be even more time-intensive than most quilts. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you are doing Did I miss a link to your completed January project?

Magpie Sue said...

I posted a photo of my completed Jan. ornament on my blog back on Jan. 16. You have to scroll back a page now to see it.

Thanks for your comment!

kaiteM said...

Yes, good point. I am hoping to use the medium that i'm currently, each month, working on such as crazies this month, but i have already thought that if i do so then it would be best to use neutral colours for the crazy backdrop. K.

Carol said...

I have more piecing experience (never actually finished a quilt!) so I know what you mean. I'm afraid I made the same error in judgement for my first entry (January) and am breaking away a little in February.

Robin said...

I've been to your blog (quite the expert quilter, you are!) and seen your BJP (year 1) pieces on Flickr... Sue, you have such a talent for making a point, telling a story, with fabrics and yes the beads contribute only a little accent to the story told with fabrics. But that's certainly OK with me... I envisioned this project, it's primary goals, to enable us to develop a unique style (which you did), to visually tell our story (which you did) and to practice techniques that are out of the box for us (which you did)... So, I need to say that I love your first year's BJP pieces and hope you'll put them on the website.... PULEEEEEEZE!

That said, I also understand that the way you did your first 10 pieces didn't fulfill your vision of what you wanted the BJP to be for you and that this year you're going about it differently in an attempt to better find ways to let beads take center stage. Bravo!

It seems odd that our visions are reversed... Being well versed in beads (mostly solidly beaded pieces), I wanted to let the fabric help tell the story. So both year one and two, I purposly (and with some difficulty) let fabric show and chose fabrics that would convey the meaning. Now this year, I'm off on a new tangent... trying to combine media and let all of them tell the story. I feel very clumsy in my attempts so far... But, hey, it's the BJP... That's what it's for!

Robin A.

Magpie Sue said...

Ii is interesting that we should each be trying to achieve a sort of midpoint from opposite ends of the spectrum! It's all about becoming more balanced as an artist, an individual, I guess, isn't it?

Thanks for your encouragement to post my BJP quilts. I have every intention of doing so, it just takes time and a certain mindset I haven't arrived at yet!