Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thoughts on Competing

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 na├»ve 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
Thank you to all the people who voted for me in the battles so far.  I appreciate your support more than I can say!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

B.O.T.B 2013

The Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 contest is well underway.  Round 1 battles have been fought and the survivors have moved on to Round 2.  Whew!  My Crystal Volcano necklace is a survivor.


Each round, participants are randomly paired, and then voting takes place.  The participants and specially invited judges, as well as the public are invited to vote for the piece they feel should move on to the next round.

There are three groups (A, B and C) and in Round 2, there are 16 pairings in each group.  Participants come from many different countries all around the world.  And what better way to introduce them than on Facebook.  If you'd like to see all of the wonderful creations, click HERE.  It will take you to the Group page and if you are not a member of the group, just request to become a member.  Then click on the "PHOTOS" button at the top of the page and you will see all of the beautiful and creative entries.

While the name uses the term "Battle" it is not the bloody and ferocious type.  It's a fun-loving, creative, worldwide expression of Bead Art.  It's just that only one Beading Queen can reign at the end.  Come join in the fun!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Taming the Long Magatamas

I love long magatama beads, but their wonky hole and odd shape can make them a bit difficult to use with the common beadweaving stitches.

The holes go through the beads at a slant so they don't sit all nice and neat like cylinder or seed beads.

But still, I wanted to use them and like a design challenge.  I found they play pretty nicely using the spiral stitch so I created a pair of earrings.

The long magatama beads are the white beads that spiral gently down around a center core of size 8 seed beads.

Somewhere along my beading journey, I learned a trick to tighten up a spiral stitch so that the beads don't hang all willy nilly.  I experimented with my earrings and discovered that with a small change, I could tighten up the magatamas and really show the spiral effect.

I've created a tutorial for the earrings as well as a matching bracelet and have now listed it in my Etsy shop.
I hope you'll give the long magatamas a try!  Happy Beading!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to Moms Everywhere!

Mom turned 100 years old last January and is still enjoying life.  She walks a little slower and her eyes are growing dimmer, but her mind and wit are still pretty quick. Here she is with all four of her kids, from youngest (on the left) to oldest.  Yes, we are still kids at heart!  My younger brother claims to be Mom's favorite but I'm not so sure about that.

Each year I make Mom a necklace for Mother's Day.  She's wearing one in the picture above, but it's hidden by the flowers.  This year is no different.  I created a beaded bead from Cindy Holsclaw's Fiberoptic Dodecahedron pattern and then hung it from a Russian Spiral beaded rope. 

I hope I will get to see her wear it in person at her next birthday!

Give your Mom some love for Mother's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Innuendo - Metal Beads and Swarovski Bling

A while back (ok, many months ago), I finished a new bracelet I called Rhapsody.  I used 24k gold plated metal beads to create a right angle weave base and added some Swarovski bicone crystal embellishment on top.

I had every intention of making my Rhapsody bracelet in silver and then creating a tutorial showing them in both colorways.  Somehow during the beading, the plans changed and I ended up with a simpler bracelet.  It uses the same techniques, same right angle weave base and craw embellishment, but there are some differences I'm sure you can see.  I omitted the diamond cluster of crystals in the middle of the bracelet and those going down the sides.  I used round vitrail crystals in the same grouping of four down the center of the bracelet.  Here's how it turned out.

Since I'm a silver kind of girl, I like the silver one best.  I created a tutorial for it and the Innuendo pattern is now available in my Etsy shop.
I also sell the size 8 silver plated metal beads and the Elegant Elements clasp used in the project. 
If you like the gold one best and you know cubic right angle weave, it would be very easy to add the extra embellishment.  Whichever you like best, I hope they inspire you to create something today.
Happy Beading! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Metal Beads, Super Duos and Rizos

The challenge was to use three of my favorite bead shapes in one design, Super Duos, Rizos, and Metal Seed Beads.

I've been using metal seed beads for some time and love them for their consistent shape and size.  They work so well with right angle weave and I've used them in several different bracelet styles.  Here's my Trinity Bracelet using size 11 metal seed beads.

The super duo beads have two holes and have an unusual shape.  Here's a bracelet I made using super duo's.  I called this one Cinnabar because of the unique picasso finish on the beads.
The third bead is called Rizo and it is pretty new on the market.  It is shaped like a tiny grain of rice and has one hole in one end of the bead.  Here is a pair of earrings combining super duos with rizos.  The rizo's are used at the tips of the bottom triangles.
The design using all three types of beads with their own unique shapes and sizes was an exciting challenge.  My Luxury Squared bracelet is the result of the challenge.  Of course, I also had to add a bit of Swarovski crystal bling to the mix!
The moral of the story?  Don't be afraid of challenges.  They can inspire and bring out your creative muse in some very interesting ways.