2013 Bead Star Finalist: British Bead Artist Katie Dean

British bead artist Katie Dean is known throughout the UK and the U.S. for her fanciful sculptural peyote stitch beadwork. She's the author of several books on how to make embellished beaded cabochons, sculptural beaded objects, and handmade beaded clasps. Katie was also a finalist in last year's Bead Star competition, and she graciously agreed to share some of her thoughts with us about her experience with Bead Star:

"I've always enjoyed participating in the competitions run by Beadwork magazine – I think my earliest was way back in 2007 when I'd only just started beading. So I couldn't wait to have a go at the Bead Star awards. 2013 was the first year I gave this a try and it was all a bit of an experiment for me. I had heard about the competition before, but I think it had previously focused on stringing whereas my real love is bead-weaving, so 2013 was the first year in which bead-woven entries were permitted. I know a lot of the top designers enter this competition, so I knew it would be hard to create something worthy of competing. I didn't put a lot of pressure on myself as I thought the first year would just be good to have a go and see what happened. So I was really amazed when my necklace received a special commendation and was invited over to go on display at Beadfest!

I love competitions mainly because they give me the chance to try something new, perhaps work to a theme – in this case 'glass jewellery'. I work mostly with seed beads, so although these are technically 'glass' I interpreted the theme as needing some larger glass beads. My necklace evolved from the beautiful pale turquoise glass beads that I 'just had to buy'. I decided to combine this colour with a hint of really vibrant pink and create a contrast between the cool and hot shades. I was also playing around with herringbone, so the whole piece evolved through experiment. As I worked, I realised that I was creating components that had a feeling of baroque architectural shapes. I ended up with a necklace that I thought would be fit for a queen, and so my title for the piece reflected the era and the famously decadent queen, Marie Antoinette."

There's still time to join the fun! Enter your best beadwork in the Bead Star 2014 competition!

(You can see more of Katie's work and find her books, tutorials, and teaching schedule on her website, Bead Flowers.)





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