Beading Challenges: Are You Ready For a Challenge?

Look at all the goodies in this beading challenge kit from The Hole Bead Shop! I was lucky to snag one!

I can still remember my first beading challenge. I was still a relatively new beader, and I had only recently mastered peyote stitch. The owners of the bead shop where I was taking classes offered a challenge: buy a kit of beads and make something with it. The only rule was that you had to make something using most of the beads. (They didn't even specify what "most" was!)

It's been a long time since that challenge, and I still find it invigorating to participate in beading challenges. Scarlett Lanson's Use the Muse challenges were always a fun way for me to get some beading time in, and there's something about a looming deadline that will keep me up beading into the wee hours of the morning when I know I should be sleeping.

I participated in the Beading For a Cure challenge this year for the first time, and I had such a great time designing and stitching my piece.

Last week, I was lucky enough to snag one of only ten bead kits for The Hole Bead Shop's first-ever beading challenge! I was determined to get my hands on one of those kits when I saw the amazing lampwork glass sugar skull beads, but I had no idea that there were only ten kits available. (In this case, getting the kit itself might have been more of a challenge than completing my piece on time will be.)

Andrew Thornton is another bead artist who has had some fun bead challenges lately. In late summer, he started offering monthly beading challenge kits in his online store, and again, the real challenge here is to actually snag one of those kits before they are sold out! I got the first one, but haven't been lucky enough to get one since then.

Michelle Mach also has challenges from time to time. Like Andrew's challenges, you buy a small kit, make a piece of beaded jewelry with it, and then post it on your blog on a certain day. Then everyone does a "blog hop" and gets to see all the pretties!

Another type of beading challenge that I participate in is through the Etsy Beadweaver's Team. As a member of that team, everyone is required to participate in the challenge once per calendar year. The challenge is really simple: a theme is chosen for a particular month by the winner of the previous month's challenge. Everyone has to make a piece of beaded jewelry using primarily off-loom beadweaving techniques and have it posted in their Etsy shop before the deadline. And since I haven't participated once yet this year, guess what I'll be doing in December?

What is it about beading challenges that I love so much? Maybe it's the idea that someone is handing me a packet of beads and saying, "Okay, let's see what you can do with THESE." Maybe it's the idea that I love seeing what happens when you give ten beaders the exact same beads and see ten wildly different finished pieces. There is definitely something freeing for me about those limitations – these beads are what I have to work with, so I don't have to go through my usual angst about choosing colors or beads. (Although that usually happens anyway when I need to add additional beads to the project.)

Have you ever participated in a beading challenge? What was it like? Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog and share it with us!

Bead Happy,

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