Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bead Journal Project 2014

This last year I've been following the 2013 Bead Journal Project (BJP), which was started by the exception bead artist Robin Atkins.  For 2014 it has moved to Facebook and I decided to sign-up.  If you are so inclined, please join me in this journey!  You can find information on how to join on the BJP 2013 site.  I've also included a description towards the end of this post about what BJP is and why it might be something you want to do.

I made a little montage of some of the old BJP badges, because I thought they were so pretty.

After quite a bit of thought, I have my plan.  I want to make 12 pieces, one each month.  Each piece will be the link in a chain.  I realize to some the image of a chain symbolizes oppression, but to me it symbolizes individual strength and the power of unity.  It's also symbolic of my personal experience with the cyberspace beading community.  I find one blog/link which leads to another, and the journey is underway.  I absolutely love how I never know where I'm going to end up.

I'm not sure I've completely settled on a template for the shape yet, but I'm thinking something like the picture below, probably 4-inches across.  I don't want to get too large because I will bead the entire surface.

Here is some more information about BJP.  It was taken from the Facebook page:

All About the BJP

A Little History

The brain child of Robin Atkins, the first Bead Journal Project (BJP), which began in June 2007, included  241 women and 1 man who were dedicated and committed to creating 12 bead journal pages, one per month, for a year. Members that first year were from 13 different countries, including 37 states in the USA. Some incredible beadwork resulted, as nearly half the members completed all 12 pieces (one per month).

Many members, reporting they had gained tremendously in skill and self-confidence through their work that first year, wanted to continue. So we opened registration and went for another year with about the same number of participants.

Year three, we changed to a calendar year, starting the third BJP in January of 2010. And so it has continued. Each year, we accepted applications in the late fall, started a new blog (or blogs) for the members to show their work, and began beading our pieces in January.

A few participants were content just to make the pieces, but most of the members finished their work in some way, such as framing (either singly or in groups), or making them into pages of a book. Some finishing solutions were extremely creative. A few members exhibited their work in shows.

2013 was the last year the BJP had its own blog ( You can visit this or any of the past BJP blogs to see work by members and find links to personal/art blogs of the members.

Why BJP?

The inspiration for the BJP was the "Quilt Journal Project" which involved making one 8.5 x 11 inch quilt per month, also as a "visual journal." When Robin saw an exhibition of 400 of these amazing little story quilts, she noticed the distinctive quality in each artist's work. If all the quilts were taken down, and shuffled up, a person could sort them into piles... these by one artist, these by another, these by another... and be reasonably sure of getting it right. In other words, each piece bore the unmistakable "thumbprint" of the artist.

Why? How could that be? Robin figures it's partly because they are "visual journals" and partly because of working in series. Isn't that what all creative people want? Don't we all want to have our work recognizable as ours alone? Well, could such a project be a pathway to help us beaders get there too!

She put the idea on her blog (, and two months later, the first BJP grew to life.

How Can the BJP Benefit YOU?

Over the years, members have mentioned many benefits. A few of them are:
  1. Keeps me working; one a month is just right.
  2. My beading skills have improved a lot because of this... and my confidence too.
  3. I like working in series, keeping the size constant, and having one theme throughout all the pieces.
  4. This is my best work ever!
  5. I am always challenged by seeing the pieces others in the group are doing.
  6. This project is "idea central" - this group of creative beaders is very inspiring to me.
  7. I like it because I am a quilter, and I've learned to use beads on my quilts by being in this program.


  1. What a great journey this will be! I like the idea of a it all links together. Can't wait to check in and see how you are doing with it.

  2. I am glad you mentioned this, Liz. I just happened to bring some Lacy's Stiff Stuff with me to Maui, where I'm staying for a month. I've been wanting to do bead embroidery, obviously.
    I found Robin's blog and the Facebook page very informative....
    O.K., I'm in!!!

  3. Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by my blog and looking at my BJP pieces for 2010 and 2011. I participated the first year of the BJP too but haven't made the effort to post my work.

    I really appreciated your encouraging comments, especially since I've been struggling with my project for this month. I look forward to seeing how your chain links turn out. :- )


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