An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Monday, April 2, 2012

Judging bead competitions: what makes winning beadwork for you?

The Bead Society of Victoria has recently launched its annual beading challenge. As usual I have not found myself instantly inspired by this year’s challenge beads but I’m keen to enter. Entering competitions is a great way to challenge yourself to ‘bead big’ and ‘bead different’. I learn something new about beading and myself as a beader each time I enter a competition. Winning is lovely but it really isn’t the point for me. It’s the challenge of creating outside of my comfort zone that I love and learning through that. It’s from that sentiment that a great new beaders Facebook page has started – it’s for posting images of the entries that didn’t win the Bead Dreams competition. Pop by and see some wonderful work that didn’t win. 

The Didn’t Make page made me reflect on how beadwork is judged to be a ‘winner’.   What caught the judge’s eye and why, what could be improved and what should never be done again and why would be terrific to learn more about. Even, if you don’t agree with the judge’s it’s a great point of reflection to push creativity.

Cleopatra's Vial - a nearly winner
. Finalist in the 2009 Fire Mountain Gems Seed Beading Contest
With that in mind I’ve been scanning the web to see if there discernable patterns in how beading is judged. Here’s some of what I’ve learnt about what makes for winning beadwork:
·      originality
·      novelty
·      creativity
·      cleverness
·      sophistication
·      beauty
·      overall impression
·      use of colour
·      attention to scale and other design elements
·      technical execution – no loose threads, etc.
·      degree of technical difficulty
·      durability of construction
·      clear information about a designer's inspiration for a design
·      wearablity
·      adherence to any specific criteria or contest theme

Many of these criteria are so subjective that I’ve decided to explore each in turn over the coming weeks as part of helping all of us who bead to judge when we think we have a ‘winning’ design.

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