Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meeting Challenges

I have been an Etsy Beadweaver for almost four years.  During those years I have learned a lot about beading, photography, competition, the nature of people, (especially in groups) and about myself.  Most of the work in my Etsy shop was created for monthly challenges sponsored by the team.  The challenges have stretched me, encouraged me to step away from my comfort zone, and use materials, colors, techniques, and inspiration I would not otherwise have used. I have tried to win, and I have tried NOT to win, but I believe that just participating as often as I am able is beneficial in many ways. Like any endeavor, you get out what you put in, no matter what your goal.

There is a challenge underway currently, and I thought I would not have time to participate.  But as I looked as my teammates answers to the challenge, I decided I wanted to play along, and I took one weekend and stepped "Out of This World" with my beads, to create a piece I call Klingon Courtship Necklace.

 I do not think this is a brilliant piece of design work.  It's good, although I think it lacks clarity and focus.  I like it, and have given it a couple test wearings, and people who see it, like it too, and comment on it. It is certainly possible to knock out a little piece like this in a day or two, in between the laundry and Christmas cards.  If it was the sort of thing I did all the time, I might even be able to produce a really good bit of design work in that time. I love to bead and to design with beads, but for me, beading is a hobby.  To do a good job with design, I have to do the two-steps-forward-one-step-back dance of exploration and discovery.  And that requires time to think, and experiment. Klingon Courtship has garnered a couple votes from my teammates, which I always take as high honor.  Whoever you are, thank you so much for your votes of confidence!

I made a simple pair of earrings to go with it, because I like to wear earrings with a necklace, and I didn't have a pair that looked right.  So they will be sold with the necklace... a little bonus!

There are some interesting and wonderful pieces in this challenge and you can see them all and vote for your particular favorite at our team blog.  Please do!  Sometimes the breadth of ideas our team has really delights me.  I usually like the work that best meets the specific requirements of the challenge. The work that makes me feel something, and illustrates the theme in beads.  You might like that too, or the prettiest work, or the one done in your favorite color.  It's all good.   :)

I also participated in the November challenge, and learned to make Russian leaves, which is essentially increasing and decreasing peyote stitch at the end of each row.  I can see wonderful potential for this technique and look forward to trying out some ideas I had while making enough leaves to cement the process in my head and hands.

I got to write this challenge, as reward for winning the September challenge.  The idea was to use a picture postcard as a color palette, trying to get the hue, value, intensity and proportion of the color in the postcard to appear in the beadwork, which could be anything except a copy of the card.  I did assignments similar to this in a weaving class, and was reminded of those assignments in gift shops on my vacation.  I thought it might make good challenge.

I think the color and proportion is reasonably accurate, although I found I did not want to put in the aqua blue of the little river.  I finally did it with dew-like drop beads, but there many not be enough of them to really represent that color proportionately well.

The shape is a little mundane, but again, I like it well enough, and in test-wearing it, I found it was liked by others as well.  I really enjoy people noticing my beadwoven jewelry, especially those who have not seen beadwork before.  Their reactions please me, and I hope they are inspired to give the technique a try themselves.

I have not been the best blogger this year.  I am finding that trying to maintain two websites, two blogs, and keep up with the constant ebb and flow of beadwork, my clients, and friends on facebook to be a time consuming adventure, on top of my business.  I enjoy it all, but it is hard to always be entirely up to date.  So this post catches up with my work in the last two Etsy Beadweaver's challenges.

Our team will have a new leader in 2014, and see some changes in the next year. I hope challenges will always be a part of the team activity.  Do you belong to a team, or teams?  Do you benefit from membership?  What makes you join a group?


  1. I think I found you through EBW. I love seeing what is created every month.

    I like both of those pieces. I knocked out a necklace as a thank you gift in a very short amount of time. It was simple, straight forward, and versatile. One of the lessons I think I need to learn is that not every piece needs to be big (as in time consuming.)

    We all have busy schedules and that includes both writing and reading blogs. Your pace is perfect Marsha.

    1. You are so right. I tried not to be making excuses, but really, we all do whatever is important to us, eh? Thank you Kathy Jo!

  2. I love your Klingon necklace <3

    (And it's been months since I posted on my one and only blog - your blog is yours, and you run it as it suits you. Happy Holidays to you!)

    1. Thank you! I am so glad you like the necklace. This post does have a little "beat myself up" about it. **sigh** You are right. Whatever is right for me will be adequate to the blog. :)