So when Steven Weiss from the Beadsmith approached me to participate in a "beading tournament"- (later to be known as "The Battle of the Beadsmith"), let me say I was less than enthusiastic. The idea of pitting a design of mine directly against another beader's design did not appeal to me at all. It also just scared me! I envisioned huge cat fights, snarky remarks, and all around bad feelings. No thanks! Why would I want to open myself up to that? Just plain scary!
First of all, the contestants are all amazing beaders. If you don't believe me, check out the work on this page. Battle of the Beadsmith Facebook page Steven adds more pictures almost every day- one more impressive than the next. Be prepared to spend a few hours drooling over some dynamite work! You can also check out how this whole thing is set up- and join the group while you are there!
So why is it that I am participating in this "battle"? Not quite sure. Everybody seems so nice and friendly, and frankly, supportive of each other. The snarky remarks are few and far between, and poor Steven, who has been doing a wonderful job promoting and organizing this whole thing, has had to absorb most of them. I guess with this many people, you are bound to nerk off somebody! But as a general rule, everyone has been great. So I said yes in a moment of weakness- cuz really- it sounds kind of fun! And honestly, I am really honored to be asked!! Challenging yourself is good, right?!
I have always relied on competitions to push me into trying things that I would not otherwise try. You know- think outside the box. We (I) often get caught up in making things that I know will sell, not stretching my abilities. I don't like spending too much time on one piece, because I know I will not be able to sell it for enough to pay for my time. And the quickest way to work, is to do something you already know how to do.
But with contests, all bets are off. I try to do something original, whether it will be salable or not. I do not keep track of how much time I have invested, which in itself is pretty freeing. But this risk also means there are flops. Valuable time spent on things that don't work out. So be it.
Usually with a contest, you can quietly send in your submission, and if it isn't accepted, nobody even knows unless you tell them. Here, it is right out there in front of everyone- if you are "voted off the island" in the first round- everyone knows it! Yikes!
But OK, enough whining. I'm putting on my big girl pants and getting to work. Not sure what I am doing yet- I have a couple of ideas, but they keep changing. I wish I was one of those people that make beautiful sketches of their designs, and know exactly what their inspiration is. Not me! I sit down with a big pile of beads and components, start arranging and beading, and see what comes to me. Not very efficient- but it works for me. If I try to force myself to stick to a vision I have- it never works out...and it isn't as much fun! One of the things I enjoy most is just seeing what a final piece looks like. It is always a surprise.
Oh, yeh- I have my partner for the first round. (notice: partner not competitor- trying to stay calm here!) Her name is Elka Leonhardt Rath. I was not familiar with her work ,so it has been nice to learn a little more about her. She does excellent beadwork. When I found out she was my partner, I immediately messaged her and introduced myself. Turns out she will be at the Bead and Button show, and we have arranged to meet there. I love that!!
So I have to get back to staring at my pile of beads, hoping for inspiration. I have my first show of the season this weekend, so I won't be getting too much past the thinking stage I'm afraid- too too busy!
Here is the list for the 1st round: