National Beading Week Competition 2016


I had five fabulous entries for the National Beading Week Competition in 2016. I hoped to inspire people with the three free patterns I created and I wasn’t disappointed. So, without further ado, here are the entries…If you click on the photos they should display large size so you can really appreciate the details in each design.

National Beading Week Competition 2016Anne sent me two lovely entries and managed to use all three motifs. In the first, a bracelet, Anne used the Superduo flowers. She explained her entry, ‘I Have made 5 super duo flowers and linked them together with a Rulla and seed bead link.’ I love the way she used the Rullas to create the links and I like to hope that the Superduos inspired her to try another new shaped seed bead! I also thought the choice of clasp was lovely as the shape complemented the Rulla connections Anne had designed, so the bracelet is a beautiful design.

National Beading Week Competition 2016Anne’s second entry used the beaded beads as charms on a necklace, so over to her to tell you a little about her idea: ‘Who needs Pandora when you can have beads? I have made a twisted herringbone rope using size 15’s so that it is fine enough to thread through the halfmoon beaded beads and then made the chilli cupcakes and super duo flowers into charms that can also thread on the rope and you have a beaded charm necklace.’ I love this idea and admire Anne’s skill in creating the beaded rope with the tiny size 15s – if you’ve ever tried making a rope using those beads you will know just how time-consuming and fiddly it can be. The finished jewellery is lovely!

National Beading Week Competition 2016Gill used just one of the projects, the Superduos flowers, but she incorporated them into a fabulous necklace design. They flowers make a lovely motif in the centre of each of the tiles. I loved the colouring Gill has chosen and the way in which her colour combinations make the flowers both pop out of the design and fit seamlessly into the whole effect. From experience, I know that shaping a collar style necklace so that it sits correctly around the neck is not as easy as you might imagine, so I admire the beautiful shape that Gill has achieved here and think the necklace is a stunning piece of jewellery.

Lesley took a different approach, with spectacular results: ‘I chose to go down the mixed media route and created a triptych. I started with the flower motif in purple and used part of the motif for buds. I used part of the motif as leaves in another panel and the cenNational Beading Week 2016tre of the motif in a third where I changed the thread path to create petals (sadly it doesn’t show well in the photograph).  As the title was inspired by beads I also chose to play about with beads I have not used before. These included daggers, chillis, forget me nots, pips, mini duos and candy beads to name but a few. I was determined to have 3d flowers but restrict the seed beads to accents which created a further challenge. I really enjoyed this challenge and it certainly taught me a lot about how beads work together (or don’t). I hope you like it – I certainly had a great time creating the piece.’ I am really thrilled that Lesley used this as an opportunity to challenge herself with some new beads and enjoyed the process of discovering how to use them. Her triptych is a real work of art and has used the designs I put together with so much innovation.

Dottie also used all three motifs and created a necklace. Here is the description of her design in her own words: ‘I wanted to use all the designs you did for the competition, and the colourway in silver/red/whiNational Beading Week 2016te/rose chose itself from the beads I had for the designs. To find a way to put all the designs together was fun, now I think it looks like fantasy candy flowers and buds out of a fairytale garden. The necklace looks the same at the back. I have managed to make it wearable too, it sits comfortably around my neck. My favourite design is the halfmoon bead. One I have opened a bit to make it look like an opening flower. The Superduo Flower was amazing too, as it was possible to put two together too build them reversible and make a clasp with one of these flowers.’ I think the clasp for this is so clever. I love the way Dottie has taken all the components and played with them to create all the clever little touches that make this necklace so pretty.

I don’t know about you, but picking a winner from these is incredibly difficult. I am touched and thrilled to see how imaginatively my initial little motifs have been used and I cannot thank these ladies enough for the time and imagination they have put into their projects, so every one is a winner I think!

Keep reading if you want a reminder of what the competition was all about!

National Beading Week Competition: Inspired by Beads

I’m calling this competition ‘Inspired by Beads’, partly because beads inspire me and fire my creative imagination, but also because I want to inspire you.

I have designed three little beaded beads or motifs. I wanted to try and encapsulate my own beading styles, so we have an elegant beaded bead, a little flower motif and a miniature cupcake…I’ll leave you to decide how this incorporates my style!

Half Moon Beaded BeadsEach of these patterns can be made in less than an hour. I have tried to keep them all fairly easy and they have really detailed instructions – I want them to be accessible to as many people as possible. They use a mixture of traditional seed beads and a few of the newer shaped beads: I wanted to reflect the beading world of the moment. I have included links on each of the pattern pages so you don’t have to go hunting around for the beads you will need – if you don’t already have them in your stash! If you are currently new to beading, then do still have a go at these: you might find your first attempt a bit tricky, but once you have made one it gets easier and easier. If you are struggling with a step, then just get in touch with me and I will happily help you out.

Superduo_flowersSo, I want you to pick your pattern (or patterns – you don’t have to limit yourself to just one!) and make it, then I want you to use this little bead or motif to create a bigger project. It could be a necklace or bracelet using the beaded beads. It might be a plate of miniature cupcakes. You could use the cupcakes or flowers as charms on a charm bracelet, or as earrings. You can use just my motif in you project, or you can mix it with other beads from your own stash. If you aren’t feeling so adventurous, then it might be that you just play around with different colours and make a collection of the motifs in some really unusual colourways. If you are feeling really adventurous, then see how you can develop the motif – I want to see your original from my pattern, but show it alongside whatever you have developed: this could mean substituting a different type of bead or developing one of the thread paths to create a new shape or idea. Basically, as whatever you create is clearly based on my original motif, the only restriction is your imagination!

National Beading Week Competition: The Statistics…

Beading competitions are an interesting thing: 28 people downloaded the halfmoon beaded beads pattern, 38 people downloaded the Superduo Flowers and 24 people downloaded the Chilli bead cupcakes, so how come only 4 people entered the competition and is this unusual?

Chilli_Bead_CupcakesActually, no. I’m really happy to have inspired people to get the patterns and if anyone out there is reading this and has done something with their pattern, then do please send me a photo and I’ll add it to the gallery here. There are lots of reasons why people end up not entering competitions: they run out of time, run out of inspiration or just simply fear that their work isn’t good enough. So for me, this wasn’t about the number of entries, but about spreading the word and giving people the opportunity to try a new project or work with a new bead. So I hope that everyone who downloaded the patterns has enjoyed them and will continue to do so. Of course I’m going end by once again thanking the ladies who were brave enough to enter and I hope you enjoy their creativity – I certainly have done!

More Inspiration

I am thrilled to be able to bring you some more inspirational projects made after the competition has ended. It’s lovely for me to see that my patterns are still being used, so if you have completed a project, then do send it to me to include on here!

This ‘Chunky Superduo Flower’ necklace has chunkynecklace-superduokatieflower1-2_dorabeen made by Dora. You don’t need me to tell you which pattern she used! The necklace design is stunning. I think the colouring is beautiful and I love the way Dora has converted the flowers into what are essentially beaded beads. She also add a length of chain to the back, so the necklace can be worn at collar length, as you see, or by attaching the clasp to the end of the chain, the necklace can be extended to suit a different neckline. A really clever and beautiful design!