Beadwork’s 20th Anniversary: First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

In 1998, a call submission went out for the first annual Beadwork juried exhibit. The entries came in fast and furiously near the September 1998 deadline. Jurors Connie Lehman, Mimi Holmes, and Tom Lundberg met and spent a grueling day behind closed doors. The high level of craftsmanship and creativity of all the pieces made their job even harder. In the end, they chose 46 pieces that became a traveling exhibit featured around the United States. Here are six of the top entries featured in the 1999 exhibit.

Bead Geode
First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Anne Fletcher, Tucson, Arizona Seed Beads 3″x2 ¾”

Beads offer an incredible palette of color, shape, and texture with which to work. I find myself constantly thinking of new things to try. I like the freedom and excitement of starting with only the sketchiest of plans and letting the beads dictate the final outcome.

In Memory of Noah, April 19- July 13, 1996
First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Susan Etcoff Fraerman, Highland Park, Illinois Glass seed beads, metal beads, leather, vinyl, found objects, nylon thread 4″ x 2½” x 3½”

For many years, I equated fulfilling creative work with a cast of players, a stage, and an audience. Today I create images in reflective solitude surrounded by an array of glass beads. I create works that people want to touch-works that tell a story.

Memory Map: Gary’s Tree
First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Phyllis Fredendall-McIntyre, Hancock, Michigan Seed Beads 3″ x 3″

When my husband tells a story, he often illustrates it with a small drawing-usually a map. These precious charts have found their way into my work. Saved for the retelling, these are maps of our conversations-shared memories stitched in glass.

Beware! Bee Wear
First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Laura Leonard, Minneapolis, Minnesota Seed Beads, Cotton Thread, Wire 4″ x 4″ x 4″

No serious art from me. My pieces are story sculptures celebrating scenes from everyday life. This summer I had two bee stings in one week-so it was easy to decide on the subject matter when I asked myself “What would frighten me Up Close?” Gladys’s expression and beehive hairdo carry through my fear and my humor.

First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Li Chien Raven, Evanston, Illinois Seed Beads, Fimo Base 2½” x ½” x ½”

I enjoy creating work that has playful nature-pieces that are familiar to the observer-and utilizing color to represent everyday objects.


Iris Coin Purse
First Juried Exhibit Beadwork I: Up Close

Yoshie Marubashi, New York, New York Glass beads, plastic bead, tube, crochet thread 3½” x 3″

Now that you have seen what beading can do, check out Kinga Nichols’s Sead Bead Embroidery courses to create your own amazing designs!

This article was originally published in the Winter 1999 issue of Beadwork magazine. For more information on this competition and other competitions, visit

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