Do you ever enter contests where you are challenged to create something that will be compared to the creations of other brilliant artists? I entered the Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 challenge this year in a rather naïve kind of way. I thought I had a good attitude about it being an opportunity to grow as a bead artist, but in the back of my mind I was pretty certain I wouldn't make it very far - and that was perfectly OK with me.
Perhaps it is the normal artist's self doubt that is ever present when creating. Perhaps it's also a legitimate acceptance of reality of where I think I am as an artist. Let's face it, when we are being compared to some of the world's best beading artists, it's a bit intimidating and it takes a good deal of persistence to continue on - knowing that we are going to face all kinds of emotions.
What if "they" don't like my piece? Can I take the rejection? How will I handle it? Please God, don't let me be embarrassed.
I would have been quite content to have ended the battle at Round 3, believing that I had created something I liked and that lots of other people liked - satisfied that I didn't embarrass myself in the eyes of the beading world.
To my amazement (as well as to the amazement of lots of other people) I won the Round 3 battle by the hair on my chinny chin chin! This beautiful artistic creation called The Phoenix Collar by Helena Tang-Lim was my competition in Round 3.
I think Helena's piece is incredibly beautiful and had my vote hands down. To find out that it was a very close race and that I won was not only surprising, but also confusing. I'm having to deal with some pretty strange emotions - like guilt, shame and sadness. Very strange emotions for a "winner," huh? Food for thought that perhaps I am more comfortable with "losing" than with "winning." I know my self worth does not come from the outcome of these battles, but when there are comparisons going on, those feelings do come to mind and have to be dealt with.
I am more than aware that there were some beautiful pieces that were eliminated in each round, not because they weren't awesome and worthy, but simply because they were paired up with an equally awesome and worthy entry. Part of moving on is simply due to the luck of the draw - a reminder to be humble.
I think it best to not question the outcomes or my abilities, but just to accept the results and go on to face the next battle and finish the race. In Round 4, I am once again up against a formidable beading artist, Tamuna Lezhava who created this amazing piece called Treasure of Topkapi.
You can view all the remaining 24 entries in this facebook album created by Tamuna. Just click on this link. If you want to find out more about the Battle of the Beadsmith, join the B.O.T.B. '13 Facebook group by clicking on this link. Voting for your favorites will begin soon.
To those who have "fallen in battle" and to the remaining 24 battlers, I salute you all. I encourage you to not grow faint and to be an encouragement to all. We truly are all united by our love for beads and we can make a difference for good and beauty in our world.
Here are a couple photos of my entry called Crystal Volcano.
Crystal Volcano - front Crystal Volcano - back