Inside the issue is a technique based article with photographs. There are also full page shots of some of my other necklaces, including my BOTB 14 piece.
Since the cover necklace is made with some hard to find vintage beads, I decided to make a kit to accompany the article. The selection of beads includes six shades of vintage French pink beads in size 11 and two shades of pink in size 10. In addition the kit includes Japanese seed beads in sizes 8, 11 and 15 as well as some size 11 triangle and delica beads. Two shades of Swarovski crystal pearls in two sizes round out the selection of beads. The toggle clasp, thread and needles are also included. There is a limited amount of these kits available, and the beads are increasingly difficult to find. If interested, the kit is available in my Etsy shop Rose Blu Beads.
I finally got around to making a necklace with the drop bead raspberries. The opaque purple Czech seed beads are reminiscent of black raspberry ice cream, so I used them to make petals for the Paua shell beads. Originally I was going to use three flowers on the necklace, but instead I decided to make a matching bracelet and ring. I was pleased to discover the set had won a bronze metal in the 2015 Fire Mountain Gems Seed Bead contest.
The March flash challenge for Operation Tackle that Bead Stash was the first day of spring, using a beautiful collage of paintings by Laurence Amelie as inspiration. As usual, I found myself unable to resist making flowers, especially since I used my favorite pink vintage French seed beads.
I finished the bracelet on the third day of the challenge, but then between an extension and an impromptu road trip I found myself still making pink and yellow flowers.
That trip made this necklace easy to name, Vernal Equinox in Cherry Hill.
These are things I like to keep in mind when working on a competition piece.
How to find contests- magazines, fb groups, google search
Identify which is right for you- price-some are free and some pricey
difficulty level- how comfortable you are with pushing yourself or entering just for the experience, or just for fun
competition- how many entries does the contest usually get
time period- how long are open dates, how close to end date you have, how much time can you work and how long has the competition been working
materials- seed beads or Swarovski or any kind of bead
Technique-weaving or stringing or embroidery
Judging- is it open for public vote as well?
Check put previous years entries and winners, design with stand out characteristics
Read the rules- make a hard copy, add notes
Make a checklist with key dates and requirements
Know the dates, double check end date for submissions periodically
If the contest with a midnight deadline is based in another country make sure to account for the time difference if waiting until the last day!
Know who the judges are, what their style is, what their colors and favorite beads are
Follow the rules -enter pictures the right size, the right way
Understand the theme
Originality, be different, do something to set yours apart from other entries- design new components or flowers, use different beads or unique focals
Who sponsors the contest- why? If to promote a certain bead, use that bead, blog about them, use product sponsors sell as accents- gemstones, cabs, clasps
Go for all the extra points- small size beads, vintage styles, whatever the theme be thorough,
Enter more than one category with different projects, or enter same category multiple times if allowed
Take clear pictures, and a lot of them. Choose the best layout and reshoot again, and again in different light also.
Don't show your project before contest finalists announced, unless it is allowed or encouraged
Allow enough time to finish, but work until last minute if need be.
Take photos day after finishing to be more objective, distanced, steady.
Take notes, photos write down thoughts during process of creating piece.
Things to keep in mind
Don't be discouraged, bead and design for the challenge of the theme or completion date and learn from each piece- try to do something new to you, a technique you haven't tried or a color you don't use. That way you are pushing yourself to try new things, also your work is growing and evolving from the process.
In every issue of Beadwork magazine there is a Reader Challenge. The idea is of the feature is that one editor and three readers all receive the same supplies, and have a month or so to create a piece of jewelry from them. The finished piece is then published along with the other designs. The package I received was from Artbeads, one of my favorite places to shop online. The materials included Swarovski pearls and bicones and some lovely size 8 seed beads in a mix with the enchanting name Seabreeze. There was also a 24 gauge wire mix in the same Seabreeze palette, a heavier gauge sea foam color wire, some titanium silver colored wire and Zamba wire. The last item in the package was four 12 mm round fancy silver rings.
At first I was excited to take part. Then I tried to make something. Wow. The people who are able to design on command have my respect. It isn't easy. I gathered all the beads I had in matching colors, and still nothing. I fell back on flowers, because they are always pretty. Before I knew it, I had enough for a necklace, so I went for it. The wire isn't my favorite thing, but I used it hang my flowers from strands of beads strung on Zamba wire. The end result was a three strand piece in which I used most of the beads supplied (my goal) and even bought more to finish it.
The October challenge for OTTBS was red and grey, with a twist to use squares.
The colors red, especially paired with grey is tough for me, but I kept seeing the beads and trying to work with them. The result was a lot of false starts and lack of ideas but after many days I managed to work my tiles into a beaded pendant. I attached it to the chain I had made, and realized I used almost every shape but squares in the necklace! Oh well.
With the rest of the pieces I made, the leaves and flowers, I decided to try bead embroidery. I have only tried once before, and that was on the bead backing they sell. I used to do regular embroidery when I was young, and I like using the hoop to keep the fabric tight. I used a thick piece of denim, and sewed my pieces down. I still haven't been able to force myself to glue anything down, it seems like such a permanent thing and I don't want to commit good gemstones to a piece I am learning on. I used a marble bead to get the feel for how to work around a cabochon.
This amulet bag is inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I based it on a photo I took over the summer. It is my entry for the November Etsy Beadweavers Challenge, Landscape. The red colors of the canyon are very different from the greens I usually associate with landscapes.
Over the last year I have met a lot of people who share my passion for beads. After friending many bead people on Facebook I began seeing posts of beaded works made for the OTTBS challenge. When I finally figured out OTTBS stood for Operation Tackle That Bead Stash, I went to their blog. It seems that there is a monthly theme, and August was purple, green, blue and black. They had me at purple and green. There was also a twist, but I didn't have any spike beads and my bead stash is already large enough that I decided to limit my entry to what I had on hand. There are a lot of purples and greens to choose from, but I was influenced by the photo on the blog and used those shades. They are my favorites anyway, so it was an easy color way to work with. I started with flowers, it helps me think and I end up with usable components. I wanted to use a pretty shade rivoli, something I always have trouble with. After wrapping it, I decided to make a pendant using the flowers. I ended up with a cute component and I stitched an simple edged RAW chain to hang it from. Something was missing, the bottom was too wide. A perfect place for the spike bead, so I searched for a substitute, I know I have some crystals in the right shape but I could not find them. I finally came across a vintage glass drop that was the perfect shade green, so I added it to the bottom of the pendant. I like the overall shape much better with it, and I used a drop I never thought I'd find a place for. Win, win. I am psyched I found some inspiration, and was able to use up some beads. I am looking forward to participating in future challenges.
The theme for the September Etsy Beadweavers Challenge is Black, White and One (other color.) After deliberating over many different purple beads, I decided to use a bright yellow with the black and white.