Meet the Semiprecious Beads Design Contest Winners

Meet the Semiprecious Beads Design Contest Winners

Many thanks to everyone for sending in just under 200 exciting entries to our Semiprecious Beads Design contest. It was not easy to choose just three winners, but ultimately Leslie Rogalski of Step by Step Beads and I both agreed wholeheartedly on why we selected the ones we did. Every winning piece is wearable, attractive, and well-made.  Beyond simply following the rules, here’s what won our hearts and our contest:

• Artistic use of color and texture
• Scale and harmony of components
• Finishing details and craft
• A step beyond the norm in design, construction, or materials

To learn more about semiprecious beads or the basics of good jewelry design, take a look at the book that inspired this contest.  Designing Jewelry with Semiprecious Beads by Kim Glover has only been out a short time and has already received some great reviews, including a nice one from designer extraordinaire Jean Yates who called the book "well worth your time!"  Plus, you can receive a free printable gemstones poster when you purchase the book. 

First Place:
  Lynn Davy, Treasures of Atlantis

What the judges said: 
First place winner Lynn Davy’s “Treasures of Atlantis” struck us immediately as rich and exotic, with a seductive use of blue and green amazonite, labradorite, pearls and tribal-style silver. Clearly a lot of work went into all the superbly crafted, wire-wrapped dangles. The oceanic theme carried through the whole piece in the play of shiny surfaces with textured surfaces, as well as the visual movement of the sprays of wire-wrapped dangles. There was a smooth transition in the scale of larger to smaller accent beads from front to back. A nice clasp was chosen to complete the necklace.

About the designer: 
Lynn lives in the United Kingdom and has been playing with beads for nearly 35 years.  She loves seed beads and says that "they get into more or less everything I make."  While she does enjoy semiprecious beads, she normally uses them as small accent beads to add texture or sparkle to a beadwoven piece.  Her winning design was unusual in that the stone beads were the focals and the seed beads took a back seat.  Lynn would like to thank designers Hearther Webb of Bumpy Beads and Rebecca Crabtree of Fired Silver for creating the inspiring lampwork and silver beads that she used in this design.  More work by Lynn.

Second Place:  Erin Strother, Tuscan Summer

What the judges said:
Erin Strother’s second place winner, the “Tuscan Summer” necklace, gave us a feeling of something very old and modern at the same time. Something about the bead shape, colors, and sizes looked like grapes and olives growing from a hillside! Her combination of earth tones included garnet, olive jade, amber, and serpentine. The arrangement of chunk, polished and faceted components was lively and unexpected, and the placement of small and large beads made this fun to look at, as did the second strand of copper and serpentine. Erin chose a clasp in the right metal for the colors of the stones for her nicely finished piece.

About the designer: 
Erin lives in California and has been beading a little over three years.  She often uses semiprecious beads and especially loves earthy colors and faceted freeform nuggets and rondelles.  Describing herself as "a notorious bargain hunter," she says that this necklace cost her less than $20 to create.  More work by Erin.

Third Place:  Sandi Warner, Earth Mother

What the judges said:
“Earth Mother” by Sandi Warner won third place because of the graceful asymmetry achieved—not an easy feat. Her carved jade, carnelian, tiger-eye, and petrified wood beads are simply strung.  Less is definitely more in this piece. She found harmony in the arrangement of colors as well as shapes, unifying the necklace with a quirky pattern of smaller spacer beads between sections of larger beads. This is also a design we thought highly wearable and modern with a nicely chosen clasp.

About the designer:
Sandi lives and Idaho and has been beading for 7 years.  Her favorite types of semiprecious beads are jasper and agate.  Lately she's been designing more asymmetrical pieces, as it helps stretch her creativity.  This was Sandi's first contest entry and she says she's "thrilled and stunned" to have placed.  She donates 10% of her sales to Animals Need Help Bear Lake all volunteer animal rescue in Montpelier, Idaho.  More work by Sandi

All three winners were invited to submit their project instructions to Step by Step Beads, so look for them in an upcoming issue.  Congratulations, Lynn, Erin, and Sandi!

Early Bird Prize Added for Bead Star Contest

This just in:  If you enter Bead Star by April 24th, you'll have a chance to be a part of a special "early bird" random drawing to win $100.  (Think of all the beads you could buy with that!)  There are tons of prizes in this contest–5 prizes in 9 different categories.  The grand-prize winner will be featured on the cover of Bead Star magazine later this year.  Winners can also choose to have their pieces auctioned off for charity.  I was lucky enough to win this beautiful Triple Braided Bangle in this year's auction.  So what are you waiting for?  Go for it!  View all contests

New Reader Gallery

Reader galleries are another place to show off your work.  For the latest Beading Daily gallery, I sent hand-dyed silk ribbons to 3 active forum members.  I was amazed at the variety of techniques they used–macrame, bead embroidery, stringing–to complete their projects.  Congratulations to readers Dawn Fatheree, Sherri Stokey, and Jenni Smathers for taking on this challenge.  View Ribbon Challenge Gallery.  

New Free Project

Mile Marker 219

by Annie Hartman Bakken

Green and peach Delicas are the perfect accompaniment for a strand of unakite rectangles and focal bead.  Made for Annie's aunt Susan, aka Dakota Sue, this adventurer's stone necklace was named for the location of the family farm in Pleasant Lake, North Dakota, where Susan grew up.  Originally published in Stringing Spring 2006, the free period for this project has ended.  Instructions may now be purchased in the store.

Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.


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