Saturday, December 29, 2012

(30) Texas

Capitol: Austin

Hallelujah!!!! I finally finished Texas!! WAHOOOO!!!! Texas has been taunting me since the beginning of this project.

First problem... size. With so many of the Northeast states, this scale proved to be too small. Not the problem with Texas. It is 4 1/4" x 4 1/4"!!! That's not a pin, it's a breastplate!!!

Second problem, Texas. Not a big fan. Early in my marriage (like the week after our honeymoon!) I had to spend a month in Dallas for IBM Marketing Training. Didn't like either Dallas or the training. Had to do this a few more times before the torture was over. While I started with a negative impression of Texas, it has improved a little. I have an uncle and cousin in Houston, and enjoyed my visit with them years ago. I also have in-laws and good friends in Austin. I thoroughly enjoy Austin.

Once I got past my hard feelings for Texas, I really struggled with the design. When I first started this project I was going to use several types of media, not just bead embroidery. I had planned on cutting Texas out of metal, then riveting little stars all over it, so it wouldn't be the Lone Star State any more. Still may do this someday, makes me giggle.

Everyone suggested cowboy themed ideas... boots, hats, cattle, etc. Wasn't interested. Then, for some reason the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" popped into my head. Off to Google. From Wikipedia:

Legendary account: The song is based on a Texas legend from the days of the Texas War of Independence. According to the legend, Emily D. West (also known as "Emily Morgan") was seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston. She seduced General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican forces. The legend credits her supposed seduction of Santa Anna with lowering the guard of the Mexican army and facilitating the Texan victory in the Battle of San Jacinto waged in 1836 near present-day Houston. Santa Anna's opponent was General Sam Houston, who won the battle literally in minutes, and with almost no casualties. West was a mulatto, of mixed race ancestry. The song refers to her as the "yellow" rose, in keeping with the historical use of term "high yellow" as a description of light skin among people of color in the South.

Historical account: Historians assert that if West was with Santa Anna, it was not by her choice, nor did she play any part in deciding the battle. The seduction legend was largely unknown until the publication in the 1950s of a version of the lyrics based on William Bollaert's account. Bollaert, a British subject, spent two years in Texas—1842 to 1844—and was a prolific writer, publishing more than 80 articles on various subjects.

The basic facts are that Emily West, a free person of color, migrated to Texas from New York City in late 1835 as an indentured servant under contract to the agent James Morgan. She was born free in New Haven, Connecticut. Sources describe her as a teen or as a woman of twenty. She was to work as a housekeeper at the New Washington Association's hotel, near what was then called New Washington and is now Morgan's Point. Historians say she became known by West's surname, as was the custom at the time for indentured servants and slaves.

Santa Anna reportedly saw West in April 1836 when he invaded New Washington prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. West and other black servants were taken to his camp, along with some white residents who were captured. According to legend, Santa Anna was with her when Texan General Sam Houston's troops arrived, forcing him to flee suddenly without weapons or armor and enabling his capture the next day.

Works for me.

The background took awhile too. I was going to do it red, because it looks pretty. My spouse wanted white. Daughter - pink... nope. Son - red... (because he is smart!). So, I decided to use all three, and place the rose on the Texan flag. I have never been so happy to finish a pin!

Lyrics(Original version, from the MS in the University of Texas archives):

There's a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to see,
No other darky [sic] knows her, no darky only me
She cryed [sic] so when I left her it like to broke my heart,
And if I ever find her, we nevermore will part.

She's the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me.

When the Rio Grande is flowing, the starry skies are bright,
She walks along the river in the quite [sic] summer night:
She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,
I promised to come back again, and not to leave her so. [Chorus]

Oh now I'm going to find her, for my heart is full of woe,
And we'll sing the songs togeather [sic], that we sung so long ago
We'll play the bango gaily, and we'll sing the songs of yore,
And the Yellow Rose of Texas shall be mine forevermore. [Chorus]

More than 25 years later, the lyrics were changed to eliminate the more racially charged lyrics. "Soldier" replaced "darky." And the first line of the chorus was also changed to read, "She's the sweetest little rosebud ...."

Sometimes "Dearest May" has been replaced by "Clementine".

Friday, December 21, 2012

(29) Massachusetts

Capitol: Boston

Massachusetts is a state I have spent a little time in, and have many ideas to bead. Unfortunately, once again size does matter. This pin is 1" x 1/2" at its widest spot. Not much you can do with that, especially since my eyes aren't ready to use my antique size 22 seed beads again! So, I had to really work on this idea.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. And so began Paul Revere's famous ride. Seems like a good representation of Massachusetts. However, I'm not going to fit a horse, lantern, or Paul Revere on this workspace. Then I remembered the classic wedding gift that many of us have received... Revereware copper-bottomed pots and pans. I still have mine and use them every day!!! So, I present a copper-bottomed Massachusetts.

(28) Alabama

Capitol: Montgomery

Well, another little sabbatical to go back to NY to visit my folks. Had a wonderful time with my parents and brother and his family. I did some beading, but couldn't actually finish the pins until I got home.

Alabama is another of those states that I have been to, but didn't have an idea floating around in my head. Years ago we spent a weekend visiting friends in Birmingham. We had a wonderful visit. One thing I remember is that the city had a surprisingly international flavor... lots of great restaurants. I didn't expect that when we headed to Alabama. A nice surprise.

Chatting with friends from Alabama I discovered that the first manned spaceship to the moon was built in Alabama. Bingo! So, here is my latest pin, with a rocket ship heading toward the moon. The "moon" is a bone "face" cabachon. I love it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

(27) Indiana

Capitol: Indianapolis

This pin was looking so cute I had to get up early today to finish it!

There are several states I have been to, but didn't actually experience. Many of them, Indiana being one, were passed through while on one of my 4 drives across country. So, while I can claim I have been in the state (which, according to Marcum rules, means you either stayed the night or ate a sit-down meal -- airports not included), I really didn't know much about Indiana.

Fortunately, the internet once again came to my rescue. I little bit of research and I discovered that Marcella Gruelle of Indianapolis created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914. SCORE! I loved my Raggedy Ann doll!! What a treat to be able to include a piece of my childhood in this project. Kind of put a new spin on the project for me. It's not just the United States of America... it's MY United States of America. Seems with every pin this project gets more special to me.

This pin is about 1" x ! 1/2", which means I once again had to pull out the size 22 seed beads to capture the detail of Raggedy Ann's face. Those little buggers are so much harder to work with. They are old, before the days of quality control, so the beads are very inconsistent. Many don't even fit in the incredibly fine needle I use. I will probably have to take a break from beading for the day and give my eyes a rest. Christmas shopping it is!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

(26) Wyoming

Capitol: Cheyenne

Earlier this year, in April, I attended one of my favorite bead shows, the Rocky Mountain Bead Society show. I was in search of ideas for my pin project. At Patti Leota Genack's booth I found this wonderful lampwork bead in the shape of a skull. I had to have it. I thought I would be using it for Texas, but decided it looked better on Wyoming. A little research online, and I decided it looked most like a Buffalo skull, and coincidentally, the Buffalo is the Official State Animal of Wyoming. Karma.

I felt that I needed to pay tribute to the Indians of Wyoming, so the background of this pin is a section of an old horse blanket I found. I love the blanket colors with the skull.

On to the next pin!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

(25) Tennessee
Capitol: Nashville

YAHOOOOO!!! I am half way done with my pin project! Too late to turn back now!

All along I figured my Tennessee pin would be some sort of tribute to Elvis, and/or Nashville. Once again the size was intimidating, 2 1/2" x 5/8". Not much you can do with such a long, skinny piece. Then, while perusing the inventory at my favorite Boulder bead shop, "Nomad Bead Merchants" (1909 9th St), I found these wonderful guitar beads. They put Tennessee in line as the next pin to work on.

Once again, what to bead as a background posed a problem. My main visual memory of Elvis (besides the bad movies), is him decked out in a white jumpsuit embellished with lots of bling. A google search turned up The creator of this site has photos of a history of Elvis stage wear from 1969-1977. There are pictures of Elvis in over 100 jumpsuits. OVER 100!!! The man liked his jumpsuits.

So, in honor of the King, the Tennessee pin has an acoustic guitar, and the background brings to mind a tacky, white jumpsuit. I threw in the electric guitar in honor of some Nashville stars, and because the bead existed! FYI, Elvis apparently never played electric guitar. Who knew? And yes, I know most Nashville starts play acoustic. But some play electric~

Elvis has left the building.