Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Time To Stitch #8 - Blog Hop

In coming in to write this post I could not believe I haven't posted in 4 months. Wow. Yes, I am still alive, and I'll write something one day about this summer and fall. Write now I am just grateful we are healthy and alive.

A Time To Stitch is the baby of Christine and Therese - a bead weaving challenge, usually. This time ~ with a twist: we were supposed to make a beaded bag. Or amulet. Or medicine bag. Or... 

Procrastination runs high on my list of vice and this year just made me more adept at tasks slalom (it should be made an Olympic sport, I'd be champion); I might have dropped some posts here and there, though (I am still to write the CC7A posts for the past two meets, for example). However, when Therese's e-mail came three weeks ago as a reminder (thank you, Therese!) I made a promise to myself to not back off... I need to get back into a somewhat regular schedule of postings. I miss this part of my life, truly. 

However, I am in the final stages of writing my thesis and things are more hectic than I ever imagined. So I put it off for tomorrow. And tomorrow. And... yesterday arrived with me only knowing what I want to make, but not having anything to show for. I contemplated backing off and I said "no!". 

Up to the the studio I picked two of the boxes: one with leather, one with seed beads. My mom sent me a while back some deer skin. Soft, beautiful and the only thing I knew I could manage with such short time on my hands. 

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin :: All Pretty Things

I knew what I wanted: a turtle. Why? We live very close to Crawford Lake Conservation Area, a place where 40 years ago (in the 70s) archaeologists discovered an Iroquoian Village. The story of the discovery itself is amazing: the conservation area has a wonderful lake, a meromictic lake. What is a meromictic lake? A body of water with a very deep basin, so deep that it rarely gets disturbed and it receives no oxygen. Thus it is perfect for conserving organic samples, which otherwise would quickly decay. That's how, by studying the lake, scientists discovered corn. And they figured out a settlement must be close by. They were right. We visit the Village at least once a year; we never grow tired of the longhouses, the Native stories, the maple syrup, and the amazing natural environment (the park is part of the Niagara Escarpment). Back to my turtle: the Iroquois were structured in three clans: the Turtle Clan, the Wolf Clan, and the Bear Clan. I love all the symbols behind all three clans, however I am very, very fond of the Turtle Clan. I studied a bit what each clan's responsibility was and to my delight, the Turtle Clan is the Keepers of the Knowledge.

From the link above:
In the Iroquois Creation Story, the earth was created on the back of a turtle. It was there that life began to grow. The Turtle Clan represents the shifting of the earth and the cycles of the moon. The people of the Turtle Clan are considered the well of information and the keepers of the land. The responsibility of the Turtle Clan is everything that has to do with the environment.
How could one back out of beading a turtle with such deep meanings?

As usual, it wasn't the smoothest of the journey. I started it two times and didn't go very well. Third time was a charm in my case, though.

I took no pictures of the process, so without further ado I will share my Turtle Clan Bag.

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin, Czech beads :: All Pretty Things

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin, Czech beads :: All Pretty Things

It is small, 3.5" (it's an approximate square). As you can see, I ran out of my original Czech 6.0 mix, but at that time it was already dark outside and I knew I would not survive a repeat of the entire patterns. I simply moved onto another 6.0 type :) and hoped I'll be forgiven.

I intend to fill it with some lavender and keep it at my desk - a reminder that I chose my new academic life (I have days when I wish I could blame someone else!).

Thank you, Therese and Christine for hosting this challenge - it's always fun to try new things.

Thank you all for stopping by - please make sure you visit everyone else and enjoy their bags!

Our 2 hosts: Therese & Christine
Alicia <- you are here


  1. What a great bag Alicia! With such beautiful meaning. I love your little turtle bag - and it is so good to see you hopping with us :)

  2. Alicia, you made this in the same way the Iroquois certainly would have made it ~ with the materials you had on hand. So the change in bead mix seems appropriate and destined to happen. This truly looks like a bag from the past. What a beautiful feel in must have! Thanks for sticking with this ~ looks worth it to me!!!

  3. Hi Alicia,
    Wow now that is truly a wonderful bag full of meaning. I like that you chose the Turtle clan as your theme since they are the keepers of knowledge and you being a teacher are also a keeper of knowledge. I love that you used what you had on hand and I think using the different shades of 6's gives your turtle more depth and character and you used brick stitch. You really have come a long way in bead weaving from just a couple of years ago.
    Thank you for participating in this round of ATTS challenge and I hope that you will join us again in the next ATTS challenge.

  4. Alicia, you've made a beautiful bag even considering you didn't have much time. The turtle pattern is precise and I don't see wrong beads. I love its native look and feel. Great job!

  5. Hi Alicia, You turtle bag is great. The multi color of seed beads makes it look more organic. I really enjoyed the story behind it.

  6. What a wonderful story, so very interesting and your bag is great tribute to the turtle clan. It turned out so beautiful, love it!

  7. Loved the bag Alicia , and the inspiration behind it is so interesting. The textured deer skin leather and the beaded turtle match beautifully .

  8. I don't think you could have chosen a better symbol, Alicia! Every time it catches your eye while you're working at your desk, it will be a reminder that each of us, in our own way, is a keeper of the environment.

  9. Hi Alicia - That deer skin is wonderful. How perfect that it was from your Mom too. I really enjoyed hearing about the Crawford Lake Conservation Area and like how you incorporated a symbol from something that means so much to you. That is what our art is all about - even if we don't have time to work on it as much as we might like! It was great to catch up again!

  10. That will be a great amulet to keep your head clear, keep you grounded in your academic life. Well done!

  11. I love the story behind this, both the symbolism of the turtle and your determination to get the project done under a true time crunch. The deerskin looks like it's a dream to work with. This will be such a lovely reminder for you that creativity can thrive despite short timelines!

  12. He's absolutely adorable. I love working with deerskin and it must be a dream to wear.

  13. I've always loved turtles. You have done them proud, it's a wonderful bag! And, thanks for the history :-)

  14. Hi Alicia! *waves* I am the other queen of procrastination in the group, so I completely understand how that goes! :-) But your little turtle bag has grown up very well indeed...I love him! I just received as a little gift, a wonderful raku and copper turtle from the Mississippi delta, and yours reminds me of him. Very cute!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate and love to read your comments!