The Battle Has Begun: Battle of the Beadsmith!

You might remember about a month ago, I had set out to work on my entry for the sure-to-be-fabulous Battle of the Beadsmith, hosted on Facebook by Steven Weiss. The idea was this: Steven would pair up eighty of the world's best (and willing) beaders into an elimination competition. Each beader had to create the most spectacular piece of beadwork that they could. Acceptable types of beadwork included both beaded jewelry, beaded bags, and beaded accessories. In each round of the competition, one beader from each pair would be eliminated, and the remaining beaders paired again, randomly, for another round of voting. The elimination process continues until there is only one beader left who can claim supreme beading awesomeness over the entire universe!

I seriously had my doubts going into this competition. I just wasn't sure I had it in me to create a big, fantastic piece of beadwork anymore. (The last time I made any "big" bead-weaving was back before I had my son in 2008!)

Not knowing where to start, I started looking through my jewelry books for inspiration, and I found a photograph of a piece of Hindu jewelry, and I was inspired by the three-dimensional elements in it. Thinking I'd like to do something similar, I created a total of eleven sculptural peyote elements, attached to my bead embroidery backing. I drew on the work of bead artists Mikki Ferrugiaro and Rachel Nelson-Smith as I designed each element.

Keeping the proper tension while I was beading each sculptural peyote stitch piece was hard — and I have the battle scars to prove it! Even though Steven promoted this as a "bloodless battle", it was quite the opposite with my piece. The Wildfire beading thread cut into my fingers as I was beading, and I walked around with four fingers on my right hand bandaged up for over a week. It was a great conversation starter.

"Oh, wow, what happened to your hand?"

"Oh, well, see, I'm a beader, and there's this competition…"

When someone asks me what style this bead embroidery collar is, I don't know what to tell them. Science fiction? Steampunk? What would you call it?

Adding the fringe was a challenge. It took three attempts to get the bugle bead and seed bead swags to hang correctly, and then it was a long, painstaking process to get the chain to drape just right over the seed beads. The Czech glass spikes were the finishing touch, making the whole beaded necklace look as though it were, indeed, fit for a warrior.

In the end, picking the name was the hardest part of creating my entry. I got a little help from my friend and Game of Thrones fan who suggested I call it "Mother of Dragons."

If you're ready to see some serious bead-weaving eye candy, check out the Battle of the Beadsmith Group on Facebook. To see all the entries in the Battle, just click on the Photos tab at the top of the page. The first round of voting starts this Wednesday, July 18, 2012, so stay tuned! While you're there, make sure you "like" Beading Daily on Facebook to keep up with our free patterns, blogs, events, and more!

Bead Happy,


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