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Friday, May 20, 2011

Thank you Etsy Beadweavers Team!

My wonderful Etsy Beadweavers Team tried out a new voting system this month for our "Lord of the Rings" challenge.  In addition to the Popular Favorite entry, chosen by viewers of our blog, we also hosted an in-house private team vote.  I was extrememly honored to have my entry "Ash & Ember - The Balrog"  chosen as the first Team Favorite.  I wanted to offer a public thank you to my team members for choosing my work to represent our team for this month. 

I also want to offer my congratulations to all of the very worthy runners up.  I was particularly fond of the the second place winner, Amanda of ChrysanthememVeil, whose Nightingale Necklace also won the Popular Favorite vote on our blog. I am a big fan of labrodorite, and I was immediately drawn to the cleanliness and intricacy of her design.  I thought the limited color scheme allowed the elegant textural beauty to shine, and I also really enjoyed her description and elven inspiration. 
Nightingale Necklace by Amanda of ChrysanthemumVeil
I also loved the third place EDORAS Pectoral Necklace by my friend Rosita of CrownRoseGems. I think beautiful and manly sit together magnificently in her work, and I also really appreciate the multi-media use of the woven copper with the beadweaving. And the color pallette, while masculine, is also very sophisticated. Her inspiraton was from archways on the LoTR film set and a visit to her listing to see how that looks is strongly advised. Everything comes together in this piece so perfectly!

EDORAS Pectoral Necklace by Rosita of CrownRoseGems

The winner of the Team Vote is granted the opportunity to choose the next team theme, and mine will be presented in July.  It will be "Sizzling Sunshine - Soothing Water."  We will start our projects by finding an image that combines water and sunshine. We might look through books, magazines, postcards, travel brochures, or through the lens of our own camera. Then, inspired by some aspect of our image (colors, shapes, whatever we find most appealing) we will create a beadwoven work that represents the dichotomy that is the best summer has to offer. Our listing will include the image we have chosen, and an explanation of how it inspired our work. I hope to find time to participate.

I found an image I loved, via google images, and cited the blog Google credited with the image.  BUT it is now a "forbidden image," so I must have done something I should not have.  Best check into that right away.   I know copyright regulation is stringent for photography.  For example, a competitor of my other business, Made for Movement, also has a photography subsidiary.  They go by the same name as the dressmaker, Dore'.  They are using an image of a gown I made to advertise their photography services.  They do not have to credit my design, and the implication is that the gown is a Dore' gown.  Sigh.  So before I get my team in trouble, I best do a little checking here about the use of images!

I hope if you are a team member you'll find this inspiring, and if you are a fan, that you will enjoy the work we present for your pleasure on the 9th of July on our Etsy Beadveavers Team blog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Decisions To Be Made

I belong to the Etsy Beadweavers Team, and once a month, we hold a challenge, where members can bead something on a specific theme, and enter a contest to choose the best entry. The winner of the contest gets to choose the theme of the next challenge, and is featured on the team blog and facebook page.

In the past, the winners have been determined by popular vote on our team blog. There will still be a popular vote and a Fan Favorite. But this month, we are trying out a new voting system whereby the team will choose a Team Favorite.

I personally feel that extra consideration is due to my selection this month. It is my hope that this new team vote will be a reflection of what our team values as a group. And I want to establish a list of criteria for myself to help me make my selection.

I cannot take credit for this idea. It came from the Bead Mavens. They have hosted two competitions and found that it was hard for the group to select a winning entry, with each person having their own criteria, likes and dislikes.  Their solution was to develop a list of valuable characteristics.  Then each member ranked each entry by each criteria, using a point system. Finally, they compiled this information to determine their winner.

As a big fan of spread sheets, I think my selection system will take that form. So now to establish my criteria.

I think I'll start with FIRST IMPRESSION. When I first look at it, is it fantastic, or do I like it, or do I not find it appealing? And since this competition has a theme, I think that had best be my second criteria. How well does the design encorporate the THEME? Perhaps I can eliminate some of the work from consideration at this level.

When I am ready to delve deeper into my favorites, as an artist with an MA in costume design, I think the basic elements of design deserve consideration, so onto my spread sheet will go, LINE, COLOR, TEXTURE, SHAPE & FORM, (which for me is about the use of both positive and negative space) and my personal favorite MOVEMENT. You could argue for the inclusion of other ideas here, but those are the big six for me as a designer. I use a lengthy cadre of other concepts, repetition, sequence, gradation, transition, rhythm, proportion, scale, contrast, balance, on and on, but they are lesser tools, like supporting characters and I don't consider them all each time I design, so I'll stick with my major players. And while I am considering, I'll keep the theme in mind here.

Next, there are some technical considertions. What is the construction of the work like? How is it finished? Is it beautifully made? I think I will call this TECHNIQUE.

Then, since this is a contest between Etsy sellers, I want to consider SELL-ABILITY. Would someone want to purchase this item? Would they want to wear it or display it in their home, or maybe in their gallery?

I think there are some things that I don't want to consider. I don't really care how long the work took to make, or how complex it is, or how much it costs. Price, especially, is so specific to the seller that it would reqire comparing apples to oranges. Some of our members sell only on Etsy. Others sell in galleries and at art fairs as well. There is a huge range of experinece among our members and their pricing reflects their own needs and costs. I don't think for me it's a consideration.

Then there is one final something a little more intangible to consider. I'll call it ARTISTRY. Does everything come together to create a cohesive whole that speaks from the artist's soul to mine? Do I feel something when I look at this piece? Does it change me, make me see in a new way, make me ache or smile or cry? This is a very deeply personal thing, and I would expect that my reaction is probably not the same as yours, but still important.

I think I like my list, and it's probably more than complete for my purposes. I'm ready to make my spreadsheet, in preparation for casting my one, important-to-me, vote. I don't know what criteria will matter to other members, and I surely do not mean to suggest that my system is the only, or the best way to choose a winner. It's just mine. And writing it down and sharing it seemed an important thing to me this morning. So, now, before my laptop battery dies completely, off to work!