New Art~ Lifeweaving #3

Lifeweaving #3: 9 Stages of Life has been in process for a long time and finally it is the key piece in an exhibit, Lifeweavings: A Creative Journey! 

It was so exciting to finish this piece because it has so many layers of meaning for me. Inspired by books by Joan Anderson (A Walk on the Beach and others) and Joan Erickson’s 9th stage of life, this is the 3rd Lifeweaving in a series entitled, Transitions.

Lifeweaving #3: 9 Stages of Life,  59" x 45", rayon and metallic on cotton. Woven fabric strips, machine and free-motion quilting. (c) 2014 Joni Beach. ($2400)
Lifeweaving #3: 9 Stages of Life, 59″ x 45″, rayon and metallic on cotton. Woven fabric strips, machine and free-motion quilting. (c) 2014 Joni Beach.

In earlier posts, you have seen its beginnings when I first wove the strips of fabric together. Recently the quilting to hold it all together was completed. I decided to use a small zigzag to join the strips and stabilize the piece. Because of the raw edges I found a double row of stitching worked much better. 

When it came time to quilt more lines of color through each section, I had to quilt sideways from left to right in order to  write the words using free-motion. Adding the words as quilted line provided an additional layer of meaning…

The words are the strengths and traits people can gain at each stage of life, from infancy through very old adulthood. For example, in stage 1 , trust and hope. It was interesting how in the process of creating, I had time to consider each stage, my experiences, and what I feel I’ve gain along the way through-out my life…Where am I located on the wall hanging? In the middle? Near the top? At the bottom?

People at the exhibit’s opening on Friday enjoyed viewing Lifeweavings #3 and had fun trying to find the words that were in each section. It will be on exhibit through March 31st and available at Eucalyptus Massage Center Gallery. Please visit my website Art Gallery to view other pieces in the Transitions series!

Related Posts:

Thursday in the Studio–The Final Stages (

Life Transitions and Life Completion: Joan Erikson’s 9th Stage of Pyschosocial Development  (

Joan Anderson–A Walk on the Beach  (

Thursday In the Studio–The Final Stages…

Several years ago, I found the books of author Joan Anderson. She described her life transition as her sons graduated from high school, she faced an empty nest, and her husband announced a new move. Not wanting to relocate again, she took a year to stay alone at her family’s beach house on Cape Cod. During this time, she met ninety year old Joan Erikson, wife of psychoanalysis Erik Erikson, on a walk on the beach. Together they made weavings on hand looms, using colored yarn to represent each stage of life they had lived. (See Wisdom and the Senses by Joan Erikson.)

I have played with these ideas for several years while studying human development. In Lifeweaving #3 , my interest in art and life transitions are merged. The final strips–silver and gold–representing the 8th and 9th stages of life are finally woven.

Final Life Stages

My next step will be to layer the top with a batting and backing-basting the woven strips in place and quilting to add more texture to the design.

After designing and beginning this piece, I found an interesting book, Plaited Patchwork by Shari Cole, in our local library. Shari describes her method of weaving fabric to make quilts that was based on the Pacific Islanders’ plaiting techniques for making woven mats. Interestingly, her method is very similar to what I was already doing for Lifeweavings #3.

While weaving the fabric strips, I wrote in a journal as I focused on each stage of life–What were the strengths I gained at that time? What experiences contributed positively to my development and creativity? What artistic designs, motifs, and techniques have been gathered over the years? I will use these writings as part of a workshop and book on our life’s creative journey…

So as this part of my project is finished, the quilting will begin…                                                                                                                   I will keep you posted on my progress–                                                                                                                                  that is…my lifeweaving!

Time—Linear or Circular?

Easter…family together…egg hunt…chocolate bunnies…basket surprises…giant bunny from uncle N….baked ham & bunny cake…fun times…Spring is here! Yeah!

Burst of Spring

We normally think of time in a linear pattern—from young to old, year to year, A to Z–but perhaps someday quantum physics will show us how it really is not in a stepwise order. The life experience seems sort of circular in pattern and perhaps it is…This weekend was a time for family.  As we were reminiscening, I remembered my children and I being like peas in a pod when they were growing up–close together while experiencing daily adventures. Though it has been at least 8 years since my last child left home to begin their own solo life adventure, and though I encouraged their independence, I still miss that closeness.

As other grandparents had already informed me, it is true that being with a grandchild triggers memories that you hold in storage. You remember and relive some of the wonderful moments that you had with your own children…what an amazing gift! And this time, you live with an awareness of how precious these experiences all are—it is like getting a second chance! So, maybe time is more circular than we know…

Some of my latest art pieces have been illustrating the stages of life, infancy through old age, in a more linear manner.

Lifeweaving #3 Unfinished,
Lifeweaving #3 unfinished. Woven cotton. © 2011 Joni Beach.

The top piece of my Lifeweaving #3 art quilt is in the final stages of being woven and basted…I still need to weave in the color silver for the decades of ages 60-the mid-80s and gold for ages mid-80s through the 90s. Joan Erikson, wife of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, helped develop the life stages as written in The Life Cycles Completed  (1997). They named the strength gained in the stage of ages 60-mid 80s as wisdom. Later, Joan added the ninth stage and identified the strength of the final stage as geotranscendence.   

 Next, I want to explore visually the idea of life being experienced more in circular or non-linear patterns. These are drawings from my sketchbook that shows this idea has been in incubation for awhile!Life, Not a Straight LineLife Circular

The Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA) has an on-line Benefit Auction in September. Members donate 12” square art quilts to be auctioned off.–Be sure to check it out!–I am using this as an opportunity to experiment and explore these and other design ideas in this smaller format…stay tuned for that progress and which one will be chosen for donation. I may need your help deciding!

*I’d love to hear your comments…..What do you think about time!? 

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