I’ve been having to keep this a secret. So, now I can reveal all! I was brave enough to enter Bead Dreams 2018…!
And, if you keep reading, I’ll tell you how you can view all the finalists and vote in the Bead Dreams 2018 People’s Choice award.
How to enter Bead Dreams
For those of you who are wondering what Bead Dreams 2018 is all about, let me tell you. So, this is an international beading competition run by Bead and Button magazine. The finalists are displayed at the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee.
Entries had to be in by early April this year. So, I spent March creating my piece.
There aren’t too many rules to follow. So, you do have to fit within a certain size. But the dimensions are pretty generous.
In 2018, the competition had three categories: jewellery, objects & accessories, and Young beaders. This was the first time that the competition organisers gave the youngsters their own category.
As you will be able to see from the finalists, we have some huge talent coming up. So, it’s wonderful to see the future beaders coming through. I hope that category has worked well and will be brought back again next year.
Now, I’ve been watching the Bead Dreams competition for many years. The standard of entries is literally awesome.
I’ve had it at the back of my mind as a goal. One day I wanted to try this out. But I’ve never had an idea that I thought would be good enough.
Then, this year, with all the beaded boxes I’ve been making, I thought I might be brave.
I actually didn’t really plan to enter Bead Dreams 2018. But I was struck by inspiration and decided, on a whim, at the end of February, to give it a go.
So, this was some pretty intense speed beading!
A visit to the beehive
I honestly don’t remember why I decided to make a beehive. Obviously, I love bees and nature and this was a chance to explore that theme. Maybe it has something to do with the times in which we live where we seem to be destroying so much nature. And of course bees are so critical to our lives. Yet, we’ve shown them precious little consideration in our quest for modern farming and year-round food.
So, perhaps some of those thoughts were in my mind when I created this.
Experiments with boxes
However, I also just wanted to explore a beading idea, pure and simple. So, I have been making different types of boxes this year. I’ve tried a box with drawers (this actually came before the blackforest gateau that you may have seen).
I’ve also tried a hinged lid on a couple of occasions. I think the first was my Advent Calendar, last year. Then, of course, most of my boxes have fitted lids that lift off.
My experiments in cakes also inspired some of this. I still have it in mind to make a wedding cake with tiers something like this. But think back to the birthday cake if you want to see some of the evolution of the shaping.
Now, it’s all very well getting clever with structure. But I knew I would have to make something truly beautiful as well for this competition.
So, can I make a confession? I may call myself a ‘bead artist’, but I’m not sure that I really think of myself as an artist. I’m afraid I can’t help thinking back to my school art teacher who told me I was useless at art.
So, for me, the biggest challenge came in turning the structure into ‘art’. Having said that, this was also the most fun part. You might recognise a couple of the flowers I used. Flower motifs seem to keep coming up for me. So, I’ve tried using many different shaped seed beads to make different flowers.
I have actually made a bee in the past (remember this pattern?). But, I didn’t think it was good enough for this beehive. So, I’ve designed a brand new bee for this.
Similarly, I have made butterflies before (this is the pattern I’m thinking of). Again, I felt I could and should do better for such an auspicious occasion. So, my orange tip is a celebration of the lovely butterflies that sometimes play in my garden.
Inhabitants and Visitors
Then, there are parts of this project that simply evolved out of necessity. When I made the drawers on the bottom layer, I discovered that I was left with a hole in the middle. I could have filled this with beads, easily. But I had the idea of adding a permanent resident to the beehive.
I mean, every beehive needs a Queen bee! So, she is stitched in there, enjoying life, while the smaller worker bees work hard as drawer and lid handles!
Then, I thought, such a pretty, peaceful beehive must surely attract visitors. And who else would enjoy the flowers?… A butterfly of course!
So, all these touches evolved as I became more and more invested in the project.
Bead Dreams 2018 Finalist
I can’t tell you how much I loved making my beehive. And, even more rare, I really love the finished project. So often, I start with an idea in my head and then the reality isn’t as good.
Maybe because I didn’t have a clear idea in the beginning, but just let the beads guide me, I love the finished result.
I was thrilled to be selected as a finalist. But I have a small confession to make too… I almost wished I hadn’t been. Crazy huh? Well, being a finalist meant I had to send my beehive away. So, it has taken a long journey to the US and I’m missing it!
I would love to go to the Bead and Button show one year. But for now, let’s just say I’m travelling there in spirit, through the beehive. I will expect the bees and butterfly to bring me home some great stories of the show…
Now, Bead Dreams is a juried competition. So, all the finalists are judged anonymously by a panel of expert judges. Fire Mountain Gems generously sponsors the prizes for 2018.
But there is another award each year and Bead Dreams 2018 is no exception: The People’s Choice Award. So, attendees at the show get to cast a vote. But so does the rest of the beading community.
At the beginning of this week, the People’s Choice vote for Bead Dreams 2018 opened.
This happens to have been my first opportunity to see the other finalists as well. And, just WOW! Seriously, I know the standard of competition is high, but I feel it is an amazing privilege to see my work in this company.
I don’t expect to be winning anything. In a way, I wish there didn’t have to be winners. I honestly don’t know how you judge and compare between such diverse and beautiful works of art.
But if you want to have a go, then please do cast your vote here. (To be clear, I’m asking you to vote for your favourite, not to vote for me!)
Well, I don’t know if I’ll enter Bead Dreams again. If I have the inspiration, then maybe I will. It won’t be dependent on the result… I had a ball creating the beehive. So, for me, enjoying the process means I’ve already won.
If you also have dreams of entering this, then go for it. Bead and Button will announce the rules and entry details for next year’s competition on their website. The timing will be similar to this year. So, there’s no harm in thinking about an idea right now!
But, in the immediate future, I encourage you to go and drool over the amazing beadwork created by all the finalists. If you are brave enough to cast a vote, then make sure you do it before the voting closes on 7th June 2018.
And, if you have aspirations to make your own beehive, I have now published a set of patterns you can use. Find all the details here>>