Monday, January 12, 2009

autobiography of

this piece had multiple sources of inspiration. i'm half-turkish, and in Türkiye, the evil eye is everywhere. many cultures share this tradition; the evil eye - generally seen as a bead or amulet - is pinned to babies' clothing, hung above doorways and worn as jewelry. it should rightfully be known as the anti-evil eye, as its intent is to draw the evil eye (jealousy, envy, ill will) away from the intended recipient and to itself. if one's baby is especially beautiful or one's house particularly well-appointed, many envious eyes may that way turn. the evil eye provides protection and insulates the bearer from those who wish to possess or harm.

Türkiye also has a beadworking tradition, mostly (now) practiced by prisoners. you can find beaded amulets proclaiming 'maşallah' ('allah has willed it,' or more colloquially, 'how wonderful') hanging from the walls of restaurants and on the rear-view windows of taxicabs. my baba bought a maşallah amulet for me when i was in high school, and it hung on my wall for many years. this piece became a wall hanging largely because of my affection for that style of beadwork. anatolian turkish knitters have traditionally stitched gorgeous geometric patterns into their stockings, and the main motif of my piece was adapted from a pattern in Betsy Harrell's _Anatolian Knitting Designs_ (now sadly out of print).

i wanted to make a piece which used only the colors red and blue, inspired by the personal mythology of a friend. i don't generally use primary colors in my work - i tend toward the tertiary - so liking this piece was a bit of a struggle at first. but i'm ultimately quite pleased with the result. i started stitching with only the vaguest idea of what i wanted to make, and the piece took shape as i worked. the photos aren't excellent; i'm still learning about blogger and will probably convert them to thumbnails at a later date.

thing a week one:
autobiography of

1.01.09 - 1.09.09

size 11 czech white heart seed beads
fine silver thai eye charms
stitched with fireline and size 13 beading needle