Well my very first attempt at an Etsy Beadweavers Team Challenge was a success – the Nasturtium Ring came joint first! Even more amazing was realising that the two other winners are really very good, serious beaders – Chris Maj (Etsy Shop here) and Hannah Rosner (Etsy Shop here). So good, that they are both so busy with their Battle of the Beadsmith entries that they asked me to suggest the next challenge theme on my own. Yes, that’s right, real Battlers and me, corresponding and beading! What’s really lovely is that I’ve been feeling a bit stuck beading wise lately – I don’t really have enough time or energy to tackle as much new original work as I’d like, so to sit down and bead an entirely new piece in one weekend and be so pleased with it is great.
Anyway, I’ve chosen ‘Architecture’ as the next challenge theme – participants have until July 5th to list their pieces on Etsy, so keep an eye on the EBW blog to see what everyone comes up with. I have a feeling that it will produce a good wide ranging set of pieces, which will be very interesting. As for myself, I’ve been pinning away here but haven’t quite decided what to do yet – I do have some amazing beads which I ordered before I knew I’d won which look just like the ‘Gherkin’ (the Swiss Re Tower here in London), so maybe something London themed…….then again I also bought a darling little Eiffel Tower from the same seller so who knows?
Ok, so it probably won’t still be May 4th by the time I post this, and to be honest I’m not really a big Star Wars fan. I mean why does Yoda keep saying ‘you are wise young Jedi’ to Anekin – he’s clearly not even slightly wise, since he got his girlfriend pregnant and changed the fate of the universe – use contraception you twit? That said, DH is a fan, I do like the concept of Star Wars day, and I have this awesome Icos pendant by Jean Power to tell you about which reminds me of the Death Star.
As usual it was a lovely design to work, there’s one tricky bit at the corners of the outer puffs, but once you’ve cracked that it goes together very nicely. I would really really love to do one with crystals – it will look fab and be even quicker, but for now I’m really pleased with this one. I don’t have anything to mount it from yet – I’m undecided as to whether to bead a loop. Jean uses a wire loop on what I assume is a headpin, but since I didn’t plan ahead and put it in before I zipped up the final seam I will need to either come up with an alternative or unpick a bit. I’m going to wear it with a purple tunic I live in at work during the winter, so I have a while to decide, now the weather has improved at last.
If I had been more organised I would have used a cheaper finish delica for the inner rows of the base triangle (Jean does point out that these rows won’t be visible and labels them C1, but I was away and only had the three colours with me).
My next version might be in 15s – using 11s makes a nice bold pendant, with a finished diameter of 35mm, but using 15s will make something quite exquisite. I will save that for some daylight beading though as teeny beads hurt my eyes – so perhaps first I will do a crystal version. Jean still has some crystal sets, and Perles and Co have stock in a few colours (Swarovski seem to have discontinued this shape). Alternatively I’m feeling quite bold at the moment and have some new yellow sandals, so perhaps I’ll get Jean’s yellow plastic stones and work up a vintage colourway…………
Just a very short post to say that my latest piece ‘Nasturtium Ring’ is currently featured in the Etsy Beadweaving Team’s May Challenge. It’s a continuous brickwork piece, with a teeny size 15 seed bead ring band that merges, then expands with huge numbers of increases (and some help from some 11s near the edge) to form a ruffled disc. It is most certainly a statement piece, not something for everyday (unless your days involve less washing up, cleaning and coping with small children than mine).
You can see the other entries on the blog here, and even vote for your favourite. Or search ‘EBWC’ on Etsy and they will all pop up there (apart from any that have already sold), and you can read about what aspects of Chihuly’s work inspired us all. Enjoy, & happy beading!
It’s an odd thing really, to group together with your competitors to engage in promotion – but one of the things I find so lovely about the beading world is how incredibly friendly and helpful other beaders are. Maybe it’s because like many crafters and artists we tend to work alone, or maybe it’s because most people don’t really understand what we do so we are just really happy to find other people who do, but as a lone beader I have really benefitted from mentions by others, and have really enjoyed interacting albeit virtually with beaders from around the world. The image above of my version of Jean Power’s ‘Geometric Stars’ got me noticed by Folksy and and led to me being featured shop there last year – and the support and beady friendship Jean’s given me since then has transferred into real sales as well as being a great boost to my confidence, and other beaders big and small have bought and shared and just generally been really nice. In the so-called ‘real world’ – by which I guess I mean the world of big businesses (which I work in 3 days a week!), this degree of collaboration is almost unheard of – perhaps MDs are members of the same business association, or attend the same awards ceremonies, but they would never, ever recommend or highlight the work of a direct competitor, much less go out of their way to help & encourage them. I should stress here that I don’t think of myself as in direct competition with Jean, she is a beading megastar and I a tiny size 15 charlotte minnow………
So it’s with a degree of joy in the way that my fellow beaders work together to promote the craft they love, regardless of commercial considerations, that I’ve applied to and been accepted by the Etsy Beadweavers Team. They are a lovely group of beaders who quietly promote each other’s work through their blog, facebook and on Etsy itself. They have strict criteria for joining, which I will have to keep on my toes to fulfill, but this enables them to be confident that members will contribute and enhance the group. And they even have monthly challenges, where members make and list for sale items inspired by a theme, which are then promoted and voted on by the team and public, which will be a useful push to create some exciting, original work and is always very diverse and interesting. I’ve missed the boat time wise for the next challenge which is a real blow as it is ‘inspired by Chihully’ – an all time favourite artist ever since he exhibited at Kew Gardens when I was living round the corner, but I can’t wait to see what my new ‘colleagues’ will come up with……..
So, if you’d like to see what they all get up to pop over to their blog, or search ‘EBW team‘ (for finished beadwork) or ‘EBW team tutorial‘ (for kits and tutorials) on Etsy. Or even better ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page and you’ll be gently fed beautiful, unusual and downright fab pieces to wash away the annoyance of endless cat videos and adverts.