Saturday, February 20, 2010

Accidental Bead Journaling

I knew I wanted to incorporate a tree onto the top of my life box. My thought was to have branches extend from the left side over to the right and then fill in the spaces around the branches with random patterns and textures.

I woke up around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Sometimes that happens. I just 'poof' wake up. After tossing and turning, I gave up on the sleep and came down into the studio and started to bead.

Before I knew it, this lonely sad-looking tree developed. Not on the left side as I was planning, but the right side. Above Sabre's dog tag. I thought my tree was going to be a sturdy specimen with full, long branches full of trinkets and fun beads. But something made me stop and say "done."
What!? Why?
It's hateful looking, not at all what I had envisioned.
It looks chopped off and stunted.
What is going on here?
But I listened to my inner voice and let it rest.
I worked on some knitting and then got myself ready for the day ahead. But I continued to think about why this tree was meant to look like this.

It wasn't until the next morning when I woke up and it hit me. The first thought I had was about my tree. I guess you can call it the A-Ha moment. My bead tree reflected the emotions I was feeling when I created it.

You see, a long friendship had recently ended. One that I thought would have lasted a lifetime - sturdy, strong, always growing - like the tree I thought I was making. And instead the friendship ended. And so my tree is stunted. Hmm. Interesting.

I thought even more about that long friendship and the symbolism of this beaded tree.
And I remembered the story by Shel Silverstein - The Giving Tree.
And I saw the beaded tree differently.

Rather than looking at the tree as not reaching its full growth,
I saw the branches as being cut off.
I saw myself as the tree in the story.
Giving and giving and expecting nothing in return, just happy to be giving.
But unlike the tree in Silverstein's story, I can't give everything to one person. I have to conserve my resources because I have others in my life who need me too.
Over the past few years, this friendship changed and because of a succession of small 'hurts' I was subjected to (unintentionally I've been told) by my friend, I came to the painful decision to part ways.

So which is it?
A stunted tree or a once-full tree whose branches have been given up for a friend?
Don't know.

And the ironic part of my placing the tree above Sabre's tag: this friend was the reason I had rescued Sabre. He was found by her and she couldn't keep him, so he was put in the City Pound. No one had claimed him and he was scheduled to be euthanized. My friend was in agony. She never expected that would be his fate when she took him there. I couldn't let that happen either. So he became my dog. He was the best dog - EVER. I miss him. And I will miss my friend too.

And that my friends, is the magic of beading journaling. I've never experienced this before. I never thought I had it in me.
Thanks for listening.


Tracey N. said...

Lynn I am so sorry for your loss of friendship, but I do understand it too. I have experienced the same type of loss and it hurts, but usually is better to put and end to an unhealthy relationship. Your tree is beautiful and can represent both options at the same time. I think it is very sweet that you put Sabres tag on the page too. There is nothing like the love of a special dog. I have that now with my Maddux and I dread the day he is gone. I could cry just thinking about it. I hope its not for a very long time.
I do the same thing as you do, wake up in the night not knowing why my mind is on my beadwork, but it is and I usually get my best ideas in the middle of the night! This life box is going to be stunning, even with the sad little tree!

Kells said...

Thanks for sharing that. I was taken by the waking up at 3:15 a.m. When I was a kid, I was told that was the time Christ died and that the time was significant. I googled "3:15 am" for my own curiosity and found this:

here has been a lot of research done into this believe it or not.
3am to 3:30am is statistically the most common time for someone to die.
i work night duty as an rn and i can tell you 3am can be a very busy time
for us. unless its a full moon (well thats another story!)

***What I think is interesting is how much of your post refers to loss or a death (metaphorical or not) of a dog and a friend.

When I look at your tree I see one that is beginning to grow again. Not stunted or having its limbs chopped off, but in that winter state of hibernation.

I am fascinated how our minds work and our artistry comes out, so thank you for sharing this. I think the entire thing -- beading and story-- is beautiful.

All best,

Lisa Criswell / Indigo's Beads said...

like kells said, i too thought of regrowth. i can't help but imagine your top to your life box being full of life and energy when it's done. even when things seem stunted or chopped off or dying, there is always rebirth and regrowth around us. it's a wonderful tribute to your pet too. i love the texture of your tree. i think it has a lot of good qualities, even though it made you think of your lost friendship. that is an unhappy thing to go through, but at the same time it's something to grow from. i can't wait to see more of your box top come to life...i just know it's going to be beautiful.

Beadwright said...

It is an amazing journey we take in life and in art. I see a tree of life and not loss. Remember too that when one leaves your circle of friends for what ever reason another will fill that space.

The piece is beautiful in all it's aspects.


beadbabe49 said...

Beautiful piece and symbology, lynn...thank you so much for sharing your insights!

Marty S said...

This is a heart-wrenching and thought provoking post. I do hope that there is re-growth in that tree. The texture is beautiful.
Marty S
Crackpot Beader

Carol said...

Hi Lynn
Your February journey was no surprise to me. I have found this many times in my BJP. My February page was a good example. Sometimes you just bead and you really don't know what the symbolism is until you are done. This piece is super symbolic.

Don't mourn the loss of the human friend. She made her choices when she wronged you...her CHOICES even if she denies they were.

Mourn the loss of your fur friend and be on the lookout. You will meet again, it may be in years, but open your heart when it happens and let your fur friend reunite.

There is healing power in bead journaling. I know this for sure.
xx, Carol

Plays with Needles said...

Oh, Lynn. I loved this post. Your beading is true and beautiful, yes. But getting to know more of Lynn and hearing your "voice" is probably the thing I loved most.

I can't believe that you're talking about the Giving Tree right now...I have a current project that I'm working on dealing with the same book! I can't wait to share it with you. Plus, Kells comment gave me chills...My mom died sometime between 3 and 3:15 -- i'm off to google that and see what it means...I wonder why it's the most common time??

Susan said...

I LOVE this piece and thanks for sharing...I just parted ways with 2 friends also...heartbreaking, but they both betrayed several times for the past 2 years...just found out about it, and the other only 1 time that I know of...but it was a BIGGIE!! so now I only have internet friends, they are wonderful, but it would be nice to have a friend in real life again...especially since I am disabled, and basically stuck in the house 90% of the time. I no longer have a car of my own. The internet is basically my life (and my art)I do not bead...I do mostly paper and canvas art.
But i follow a lot of beaders blogs, because I love what they do, and some day hope to learn how :) Thanks for letting me know, that others lose friends too...I was starting to think it was just me.

Susan (Pieces of Fate)

GraceBeading said...

Hi Lynn... I'm just reading this post now and what a powerful one at that! I'm sorry about the loss of a friendship, it has happened to be before, although not with that depth as the friendship was not all the strong to begin with. It hurts though and seems to leave confusion in it's wake. Your tree is magnificent - truly, your expression through beads exquisite.