Today I entered my first jewelry design contest. I had thought about entering Bead Dreams or Bead Arts in the past, but I've found the finalist designs in those contests quite intimidating and I don't think my work is up to that level (yet). One of my fellow members over at the SJA forums mentioned the Bead Star contest, and I figured I'd give it a shot and enter a few pieces. The Bead Star contest is limited to specific, simpler techniques, so it was a challenge for me to get out of my comfort zone of geometric beadweaving and into designing using only simple stringing, crimping, and wire wrapping techniques.
I came up with a total of three pieces. The first is a bracelet featuring some fun fruit-shaped Czech glass beads that I've had sitting around for a while. I also entered this piece in the SJA April "Over the Rainbow" design challenge, since it reminds me of a delicious rainbow fruit salad.
I'm really happy with the photography on this piece. After my old digital camera died I invested in a new camera, bought some daylight CFLs, and built a new lightbox. I haven't figured out all the features on the new camera but I've been very happy with the pictures I've gotten out of it so far.
The next piece is a three-strand necklace made out of freshwater pearls. The pearls are leftover from other various projects but I think they came together nicely in this necklace.
This last necklace is my favorite of the three and by far took the most time to design and create. For the seed bead category I originally envisioned a collar necklace made from loops of thin SoftFlex, but I couldn't get that design to work without getting too complicated. I experimented with braiding strands of seed beads but found that too homogenous. Finally I decided on multiple strands of 11° seed beads blending six different colors, interspersed with 6° and 8° seed beads, 4mm bicone crystals and Czech glass, topped off with a simple Venetian twist as the focal. This is my first necklace finished off with bead cones, which was easier to do than I had previously thought. I also had to test the focal bead to make sure it could withstand 18 passes of fireline!
Regardless of the results of the contest, I'm happy with what I designed and I feel more comfortable entering contests in the future. But for now, I'm looking forward to getting back to my beaded beads :)