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Free Beading Challenge: are you up for it?

Free Beading Challenge, Autumn Beading Design, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

If you are a regular reader, you will remember I promised you a month of blogs themed around Autumn. Well, I thought I would make this a little more interesting. So, I’m turning this into a free beading challenge.

What does the free beading challenge involve?

Have you ever tried designing your own beading project? If you haven’t, then what is holding you back?Beaded Bat Pattern, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

I’m sure everyone will have a different answer to that question. So, let me know yours in the comments at the end.

The most common reasons I hear are:

  • ‘I have no idea where to start.’
  • ‘I don’t think I’m good enough.’

Well, this free beading challenge is all about showing you how to create your own design. So, are you up for it?

I’m going to use this month’s blog series to show you where to start. Plus, I will prove to you that you are good enough. Even if you’ve only just started beading…

Step 1: finding an idea

This is the point at which most would-be designers stop.Toadstool Charm Beading Pattern, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

So, imagine this, you’ve decided you want to create your first beading design. But what are you going to make? You sit staring at the beads and inspiration fails to strike. So, you decide to go for a walk and see if that helps. Still nothing.

After hours, or maybe even days, of this, you give up and just go back to make a pattern you bought.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But what if I told you that there is just one really simple trick to overcoming this ‘designer’s block’?

Not only will I give you the trick, but I’m going to start right here by giving you an idea to work on.

The one simple trick to overcoming designer’s block

This is so simple, you’re going to kick yourself for overlooking it.

Instead of spending hours waiting for inspiration to strike, you need to set yourselfWine o' clock Necklace Pattern and Kit, Katie Dean, Beadflowers some boundaries.

Have you ever walked into a bead shop without a shopping list or without any idea what you want to make? Confronted by the choice of literally thousands of stunning beads, you could happily work with any of them.

So, do you buy a pack of each? (I wish!)

Unlikely, because your budget won’t stretch that far. No, instead, you are far more likely to walk out again without buying anything. You simply have too much choice and no guidance where to start.

Well, coming up with an idea is the same. I’m sure you can think of millions of possibilities. But without some sort of structure, it’s hard to know which to develop. So, you end up doing nothing.

Instead of that ‘choice overwhelm’, let’s set one boundary. Let’s define a theme.

So, this month’s free beading challenge is this: can you design a piece of beadwork that is inspired by Autumn?

Over the next four weeks, I’m going to show you how to come up with an idea, hone it and turn it into an actual design. So, let’s get started…

Autumn Inspiration

Right, now we have some boundaries set in place. The themeAutumn Necklace Pattern, Katie Dean, Beadflowers will immediately channel your ideas in a single direction.

All you need to do is ask yourself, what does Autumn mean to me?

What Autumn means to me

When I started thinking about this theme, I realised I could take it in several different directions. So, we can think literally. What can you create that appears in Autumn? Maybe it’s leaves or fruit, mushrooms or toadstools.

Then, you can think about Autumn festivals or events. So, here in the UK, we celebrate Halloween at the end of October. Then 11th November is the commemoration for Armistice Day and a memorial to those who have lost their lives through conflict. Traditionally, Autumn is Harvest time.

Maybe you can think of other festivities that take place at this time of year. They could be Pagan or Religious, personal to you or widespread.

Now, what kinds of motifs are associated with these festivals? So, perhaps skulls, spiders, witches, Jack o’ Lantern, ghosts for Halloween. Poppies symbolise the Armistice commemoration.

Lastly, let’s go a little more abstract. What colours do we associate with this theme? Well, for me, that brings up the rich reds, browns, golds and oranges of the Autumn leaves. Maybe it brings up different colours for you.

You can find all my Autumn beading designs (so far!) right here…

Autumn Beading Projects, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

What if you’re still stuck?

So, if you’re still scratching your head, try this. Visit Pinterest or Google and just search on ‘Autumn’. See what comes up.

Please do NOT just copy any of the images that you see. This is for inspiration and ideas only!

Alternatively, try playing a word association game. You can do this with a friend or family member too. So, start with Autumn. What word do you think of first? Maybe ‘rain’. What does that make you think of? Maybe ‘umbrellas’. And so on. Keep creating associations and writing them down until you have a nice long list.

This week I challenge you…

…to create a list of at least 10 ideas that you associate with autumn. Remember, there is no right or wrong to this. It doesn’t matter if anyone else would associate them with the theme. They are your ideas!

Then, next week, in part two of the free beading challenge, I’m going to show you how to begin refining your ideas. So, remember to join me then! You can sign up to my mailing list to make sure my blogs are delivered direct to your inbox too.

Bead Flowers Mailing List

P.S. If you want to get ahead in the free beading challenge and find out more about design, then check out this blog.


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8 thoughts on “Free Beading Challenge: are you up for it?

  1. Thank you for an interesting challenge. I read the Article on Pinterest and the one prior on designing flowers. This led me to think about the fruit basket I want to do and all the autumn fruits — apples, pumpkins, squash. Strawberries, blueberries, etc etc.

    1. Thanks Fran! That sounds like an amazing project. So, I can’t wait to see how it develops. (And yes, beaded apples and pears are in my schedule for this month…!)

  2. I am thinking of a 3d red squirrel with acorns, will be exciting to try out as I don’t think I’ve seen a pattern like that.

    1. I think that would be amazing! I’ve never seen a pattern for a 3D squirrel, so great idea and very Autumnal. Can’t wait to see it 🙂

  3. … i really don’t know where to start either … one more who said that :).

    By the way, as you have been talking about a squirrel, there is a german website for beaded animals with a forum, the owner and provider of is called Christiane Brüning or Jalaila , there you can find lots and lots of beaded animals, fantasy figures and creatures. Usually they are made with japanese RAW technic and for the other technic i don’t know the english name yet. Also there is a bit french beading to be found.

  4. Edward the bat would fit right in there :). I forgot, of course the animal beaders are using all the other tecnics too, just not as much as the japanese RAW.

  5. Hi Katie thank you so much for my order very quick as usual,
    The only thing I haven’t received is the down load for the Christmas jumpers which is on the last order .
    Many thanks
    Carol Thomson
    Happy new year to you and yours xx

    1. Thank you so much Carol – I have just re-sent the jumper pattern. I’m sorry it didn’t reach you first time computer has been rather poorly since before Christmas, so I’m still trying to get it sorted out!
      Happy New Year to you too – I hope 2018 will be a good one. And thank you for your support.
      Katie xx

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