10 Jewelry Making Contests and Challenges

It's easy for me to get into a rut and use the same beads and materials over and over.  Or worse, sometimes I feel paralyzed and unable to create anything at all.  Do you ever feel that way, too?  If so, you might want to enter a jewelry making contest or challenge.  A contest, challenge, or blog hop can force you to move beyond your comfort zone.  You might need to use new-to-you materials, create for different themes, or complete a design in a short period of time. There's a wide range of opportunities available.  Some contests are judged by prestigious judges, while others may ask readers to vote for the best project.  Some may award a prize by random drawing or offer no prizes at all.  Some require entry fees; others are free.  Read the rules carefully to make sure you're eligible and that you're comfortable with the requirements.  Not every contest or challenge may be the best one for you. Remember, even if you don't win, you'll have created something new and wonderful. 

Note: Remember to check the official rules of any contest or challenge for specific details on how to enter.  Deadlines and other details may have changed since this blog post was written.  I do not have any affiliation with these contests and challenges.

Downton Abbey Challenge
Deadline: January 26, 2014
Sponsored by Bello Modo, this challenge asks for designs that use Vintaj components to create a design inspired by the popular Downton Abbey TV show.Winter Bracelet by Michelle Mach

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge
Deadline: January 31, 2014
This challenge uses a specific piece of art for inspiration and requires the use of handmade art beads.  For January, the inspiration piece is a textile by Lois Mailou Jones.  It's a monthly challenge, so if you miss this one, check the blog for the next challenge theme.  (The bracelet shown here is one I made for an Art Bead Scene challenge several years ago.)

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads: Metal
Deadline: January 31, 2014
The current contest theme includes the use of metal clay, metal beads, wire, chain, jump rings, and other findings.  Upcoming contest themes this year include seed beads and Swarovski crystals.

Uncommon Goods Jewelry Design Challenge
Deadline: January 31, 2014
Design jewelry using any medium that's "safe and animal-friendly" in this monthly contest with a $1,000 grand prize.

Paracord Contest
Deadline: March 3, 2014
Paracord is lightweight parachute cord that typically comes in bright colors.  This is not a jewelry-only contest, but as you can see from the current entries, jewelry can be submitted.

Bead Dreams
Deadline: March 25, 2014
Enter your work in one of these categories in this annual juried contest: flower beads, handmade buttons and beads, wirework, finished jewelry, crystal jewelry, lampwork, metal clay, seed bead jewelry, objects and accessories, and polymer clay.  There is a $50 entry fee.

Fashion Colorworks Contest
Deadline: June 15, 2014
Use a palette of fashionable spring Pantone colors to create your jewelry design. 

10th International Ugly Necklace Contest
Deadline: August 31, 2014
You read that right!  This is a contest looking for the best ugly necklace.

Bead Soup Party
Deadline: TBD (date has not been set at the time of this blog post)
This popular annual blog hop hosted by Lori Anderson pairs up hundreds of beaders from around the world.  Jewelry makers trade beads and share photos of their finished jewelry designs online.

Inspired by Reading Blog Hop
Deadline: Varies (monthly)
For this blog hop hosted by Andrew Thornton, you'll need to read this month's book and create a piece inspired by it. The book for January 2014 is The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. The reading list for 2014/2015 is available for those who like to plan ahead.

Please share other upcoming contests, challenges, and blog hops in the comments.  Also, I'm helping out with the Inside Jewelry Stringing Magazine blog through April.  If you have suggestions for topics, I'd love to hear them.  Thank you!

~Michelle Mach, Contributing Editor, Jewelry Stringing

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