Battle of the Beadsmith: What I'm Learning from the Battle

If you haven't seen it yet, there is some serious beady eye candy over at the Battle of the Beadsmith group on Facebook. Eighty beaders from around the world were selected to compete, and the finished beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and accessories are just amazing!

As I was looking at all the beadwork, I couldn't stop thinking about how beading really is an art. I don't care what you say about other art forms, beading requires all the same skills that other fine arts require. Skills like knowing how to use color and understanding the principles of line drawing go into creating some of the most spectacular beadwork out there! Take a look at these three examples to see what I'm talking about.

Patrick Duggan is a beader from Australia. His Battle entry, Davinia, makes perfect use of straight and curved lines to accent the Swarovski crystal stone he used as the focal point. He uses the principles of symmetry to create a balanced and elegant beaded necklace using cubic right-angle weave. Patrick's sense of movement in this piece draws your attention up and away from the focal point, while at the same time moving ever so slightly down to the large crystal drop.
Kathy King, creator of the bead quiling technique, used a wonderful repetition of her flower and star motifs in her entry, Summer Star. A perfect example of the principle of harmony, her similar bead quilled stars also illustrates the concept of pattern or rhythm, moving you from one element to the next by the connections between each one. Her color palette was perfection, including subtle shades of blue, grey, green, and mustard.
Cynthia Newcomer Daniel is known for her beautiful beaded lace patterns, and her entry, Sedona Sioux, illustrates her proficiency at using peyote stitch and square stitch to create the look of thread lace. I love the way she utilizes the principle of variety in this piece, successfully combining the hard gemstone cabochons with the softer look of the beaded lace stitching. Cynthia's colors are also a classic Southwest color palette, combining shades of brown with white and turquoise.

So, what does art have to do with bead-weaving? Well, I've found that since I took a few basic drawing lessons in Artist Daily's free eBook, Drawing Basics: 26 Free Beginner Drawing Techniques to Learn How to Draw, the sketches I make of my beading designs have more detail. More detail is always a good thing for me, since I like to have a plan in place when I sit down to design a new piece! Even if you just want to learn a few things about the basic concepts of drawing like drawing spheres and cylinders, and how to put those together to create larger drawings. Download your copy of Drawing Basics and play around for a little while before you go back to your beads!

Do you have any formal (or informal) art training that's influenced your bead-weaving? Share your experiences here on the Beading Daily blog! And make sure you head on over to the Battle of the Beadsmith group on Facebook to check out all the incredible works of beaded art that have been submitted by the participants! The Battle is on!

Bead Happy,


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