Monday, January 18, 2010

November (2008) Bead Journal Project Completed


Abundance...


When I first started this piece in November of 2008, the country had just elected Barack Obama as President. At first, I envisioned this black hand to be his hand and I imagined his hand trying to juggle all of the various crises in the world: the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, health care, global warming, you name it.

But I found that when I tried to focus on all of these issues in the world, I was overwhelmed and felt that the issues were too large and beyond my own personal sphere of influence.

So instead, the hand in the piece became my own and I began to reflect on my life to date, on the choices I have made, and on how I will choose to live my future.

And I realized that I, along with so much of humanity, have been handed this incredible world and this amazing life -- rich and abundant and full of potential.


I can only imagine what it must have been like on earth just 1,000 years ago.

How many more species of animals and plants existed at that time? How clear the water must have been and how beautiful the skies...Abundant.


And I began to think that perhaps the world's problems were not beyond my sphere of control.

Today, I admit that I have made choices that have not been fair to this earth. I have chosen to have heat or air conditioning in my home whenever I want it. I have chosen to take a hot shower whenever I feel dirty and put fertilizer on my lawn because somehow dandelions and clover are bad. I have chosen to buy my meat in a grocery store where the meat is taken from large animal farms where the waste is overrunning our streams and bays. And I have thrown so much away. No longer wanted it. Disposed of it. Tossed it.


I have chosen to give up abundance in the long run...in order to have comfort and convenience in the short term. When Jack speaks of global warming, he speaks of what we must do to preserve the earth for his future and for his children's future...and he said, "You caused it Mom. OK, well maybe not you personally Mom...But your generation caused it."

Now, my immediate gut reaction is...not just me...not just my generation...Come on. It started way before me. But I wait before I answer and I think about it...My generation certainly didn't start it all but we didn't try to end it either...we were definitely a contributing factor...

And once again my child teaches me a lesson and I said, "You're right, Jack. In the past, we have made poor choices about caring for our earth. And now we know we must do something."

And in all of that, there is a metaphor for the gifts that I have been given -- for my abundant life.


This bead journal piece is a reminder to me of what is most precious. Of those gifts that are irreplaceable -- my family, my friends, myself, this earth...

They are the treasures that I have received by being here today, right now. What will I make of those gifts? What will I do with this one, unique and abundant life?

I don't know the answer to that. But I know that I have to continue to remind myself to choose wisely...and to remember what is most precious...


So that nothing is wasted.

35 comments:

Vicki W said...

Stunning!

Nellie's Needles said...

Amazing! Beautiful!

It never ceases to amaze me how a piece can begin with a plan, then if we're listening, it takes a different direction to become something MORE.

Marty S said...

I'm equally impressed with your beading and your description. Lovely and inspiring.

Barbara C said...

This piece is just gorgeous. The overflow of foliage and beads definitely gives the sense of the bounty of nature.

Linda H said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I love it! And your written thoughts are equally inspiring.

bluemuf said...

A lovely piece of art and beautifuly stated. Thank you

Karen

Carol said...

As always, your piece is amazing. It's as nice to say it, as it is for you to hear it.

But of course, you commentary on this piece is what pricks my interest. When I was a kid, we drove through Gary to get to Chicago. The smog was so heavy, you almost couldn't see. The steel mills in the area no longer spew their pollution. Yes some are closed, but there are newer mills that have been forced by "OUR" generation to clean up their act. So please remind Jack that our generation is the reason the cost of cars is so high. The ever increasing requirements for cars to emit less carbon. Why factories are forced to comply with EPA requirements.

Remember Jack, it is your parent's generation that has taught you the dangers of continuing on our father's path.

I love this page; Its creative design and its thought provoking commentary. And I like knowing that Jack will try to leave this earth in better condition for his children than we left it for him.
Amen.

robin michelle said...

As always I am completely in awe of your work. This is just beautiful and the story you've shared along with it is wonderful.

Ati. said...

Fantastic piece Susan and your description of what your thoughts were when you made it are so clear.Thank you for letting us know, again :)

méri said...

:)
this piece is beautiful!
I agree with you but with Carol too.
I believe so that nothing is wasted

ZONZON said...

Wonderfull !!!!!!!!!!!
My name is Francoise. I am French and embroidery is my hobby. I discovered your work and your lovely website. http://blogazonzon.canalblog.com/

Shelly said...

Your piece is beautiful - your writing too - young, inbetween and old all have a hand in creating the problem, and in helping toward the solution. No one stands alone - abundance is stunning. Shelly x

Plays with Needles said...

Oh, Carol! Good point, why didn't I think of that??

bohemiangirl said...

Absolutely beautiful! And I love the description you wrote for it.

Marty52 said...

Beautiful in every way!

Lynn said...

Once again Susan your art leaves me speechless and your words set my heading spinning.

Thank you (yet again) for a beautiful thought-provoking piece.

Sweetpea said...

What an intensely thoughtful and elaborately beautiful piece this is, Susan! The leafage is a-l-i-v-e with its many colors and sense of movement.

And thank you so much for sharing the story that went with it...for some reason it is reminding me of how tribal *elders* wove stories into their handwork... (not meant to imply you are elderly, mind you :>]]

There's such STRENGTH in this piece!

Barb said...

Wow! Talk about being worth the wait! What an amazing piece, and I loved your description, too. Lovely.

flyingbeader said...

Susan, that is so lovely & it reflects some of my own thoughts from when I was working on Rachels' Dream. Our generation has done so much for the environment. I remember the choking clouds of pollution I breathed in until the late 70s when the EPA was formed & had mandates on pollution & think of all the species that have survived because of what we do NOW! I remember thinking I'd never see a bald eagle in my life and then in remote spot in Idaho, a bald eagle swooped down from a tall tree & touched my hair as it soared into the sky. That is a memory.
dot

Dees said...

Susan, this hardly needs a comment. This work is stunningly beautifull and I love how you put your thoughts into it. Thanks.

Raphaela said...

Congratulations! I love it. I would call it a masterpiece. And I want to thank you for this piece of beauty as well as for your words. You are absolutely right. We are responsible for the state of the earth. Thank you for reminding me.

Elmsley Rose said...

Great piece!
I was waiting to see what was going to be in the hand, coz I spotted a gap in the bead outlining.

And that you can assay (is that the right word?) your thoughts about the creative piece as well.... ! :-)

Judy S. said...

A beautiful post, Susan, and a lovely piece. Thank you. That hand stretching out, to me is a reminder to share our abundance as well as take steps to preserve it. It brings to mind the dire situation in Haiti as well as the wanton slaughter of the bison on the plains years ago. We are slow to learn and also slow to share. I always enjoy your thought provoking posts.

FredaB said...

Susan words cannot express how gorgeous this is and your words are so true. I know how Jack feels but tell him we are all trying to do our part to make it a bit better for our children and especially grandchildren. We are recycling, starting to re-use items rather then just throw them out and the good old flea markets re-cycle things we can use in our daily life. I no longer go shopping just on a whim. I only go when I really need something. I contribute to a local food pantry with cartons of food at least twice a month. I hope for a better world for him and my grandchildren.

Hugs

FredaB

Loralynn said...

Your talent and artistry with both your art and your words is stunning. Your journal page is unbelievably lovely and your words touch me deeply. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across your blog and to be part of your journey.

Debra said...

It is never one person's fault or one generation's fault. We are all in this together. Anyone who points a finger usually has 3 pointing back at himself.

As I have said before, I think your bead journals belong in an art gallery!

Lisa said...

An amazing piece! Full of life, hope and joy!

Allison Ann Aller said...

I agree with Debra...these pieces do belong in an art gallery where people can appreciate them!
Beautifully rendered, my dear...

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Your beading and stitching is incredibly beautiful. You are a truly creative person and you inspire me to stretched my own work. Thanks. Have you used projects with silk wrapped purl?? If so can you direct me to these projects. Thanks. Hugs Judy

Evelyn and Lise said...

What more can I say...... Its all been said by the many comments you have already received. You never cease to amaze me in your beautiful art and your writings. You are blessed with a great gift . Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and your detailed art work. Lise

Quilt Architect said...

Very amazing, complex and filled with meaning.
Fantastic!!!!

Cathy K said...

What an incredibly beautiful piece and such a timely message. I remember the first Earth Day when I was in high school. I've always recycled and "made do" and turned off lights/turned down the furnace. On the other hand, like everyone else I have so many bad "over-abundant" habits; using paper plates and napkins because I'm lazy. (But at least I've never driven a gas-guzzling SUV!) Jack deserves to be applauded for his ideals; hopefully he can live them for a lifetime. But your piece is absolutely awe-inspiring and timely. As always, your creativity and thoughtful nature shines through. Your family is very lucky to have you!!
Hugs, Cathy

Robin said...

Thank you for grappling and dealing with this difficult subject. And thank Jack for me too!

Robin A.

Cathy W said...

Wow! everyone's said it before me -- but your piece is wonderful as is your photography and writing.

Like you I am working to complete my BJPs for the 2nd year .... keep on with your beading as your work is phenomenal!!!

Hélène said...

A stunning piece and moving post. Your design reminds me of the animation movie "Kiribou" by Michel Ocelot, did you see it ?

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