One Beading Kit, Five Projects from a Beadwork Challenge

I’m often amazed at others’ creativity. I’ve always been “artistic” in the sense that I can copy a pattern, whether it’s a beading pattern, quilt pattern, or even a drawing or painting. (I love those “paint with wine” places!) But to come up with a new design out of my head, well, that’s not really my forte.

One of the Beadwork Challenges inspired so many diverse designs that I can’t help sharing it here, to hopefully inspire your creativity.

Each of four participants received the same kit from Artbeads, as seen above. The kit included seed beads in greens and blues; a coordinating mixture of 18-, 20-, and 26-gauge wire; .019” beading wire; silver love-knot spacers; and Swarovski crystal bicones and pearl rounds.

To follow is what the original participants created.

Barb Switzer (former Beadwork Associate Editor)

A reader designs piece inspired by a Beadwork Challenge kit.As a beader, I split my creativity between my love for seed beading and my passion for wirework, which made this kit a pleasant surprise. All of the ocean-inspired blue bicone crystals, size 8° seed beads, and wire also appealed to my monochromatic tendencies. After I found a big focal with a large hole in the perfect color languishing in my stash, this project was halfway done. Well, not really, but the palette and materials were powerful motivators in creating my improvisational wire cuff.

Katy Heider (Reader Participant)
A reader designs piece inspired by a Beadwork Challenge kit.

As soon as I received the kit, I knew I wanted to use a particular piece of shibori ribbon and an antique watch face I had been holding on to. From there I added Swarovski focals and pulled colors from the bead mixes in the kit to complement my creation. I’m not skilled at wirework, so I was happy to find a way to incorporate wire into this piece. Creative flexibility allowed the end result to be even better than my vision.

Tamara Allison (Reader Participant)
A reader designs piece inspired by a Beadwork Challenge kit.


After I laboriously sketched an idea for using the Artbeads kit, my boyfriend looked over my shoulder and said, “Tamara, this is a challenge kit. You need to work outside your comfort zone.” Between us, we decided on the playful idea of a beaded roller coaster toy, reminiscent of the toys we both played with as children in doctors’ waiting rooms. Thus, I was finally able to make a piece with Viking knit and beaded beads–two techniques I had previously lacked practice with.

Patti Parker (Reader Participant)

The Challenge kit was filled with some great items, and I wanted to use as many elements from the materials supplied as possible. The colors reminded me of Tahiti, so I made some large flowers with the seed beads, and I used the pearls and crystals as rows representing beach and water. I added some coordinating colors of seed beads in different sizes and purchased extra crystals and another seed bead mix from Artbeads. I used the colored wire to attach the floral components and make a clasp.
A reader designs piece inspired by a Beadwork Challenge kit.


Courtney Genise (Beadwork Challenge Naming Contest Winner)

We held a contest to name our editor’s project, and Courtney Genise submitted the name “A Link to the Ocean” for Barb Switzer’s bracelet. Courtney won an identical bead kit from Artbeads and created her own lovely necklace, below.
A reader designs piece inspired by a Beadwork Challenge kit.

I hope these Beadwork Challenge designs help spark YOUR creativity!

If you’d like to share your own designs with us, please contact us! To submit an original design for publication in Beadwork magazine, email (instructions will be requested if your design is accepted). Or to share a design on our website, email me at

Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

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