An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Technical execution– towards workwomanship in beadwork

This week is the fourth in my series about criteria used to judge beadwork in competitions. My musings this week are about how technical execution, often referred to as workmanship, or given the number of women beaders, how workwomanship is judged? With Google at my side I searched through the criteria for various craft competitions where workwomanship is an active criteria of excellence for inspiration.

Quilters and embroiderers seemed to have some of the most specific guidelines on how to technically execute a competition piece. So, with thanks to those craftswomen my musings workwomanship in beadwork suggest that neatness and sound engineering are key. More specifically:

Neatness – is the beadwork precise and tidy?
  • even tension as appropriate to the stitch
  • invisible starting and finishing threads
  • no threads showing or crossing beads - no missed or broken beads. 
Sound engineering – does it work and is it hardy?
Cabella bracelet by Glenda of Dax DesignsIs it neat? Does it work and is it hardy?
  • strong joins, components, closures and/or clasps that work as they should
  • form suits its function – e.g. wearable beadwork sits or drapes well
  • durability – the beadwork will survive its use. 
Mind you, reflecting on these criteria of workman/womanship I think that the world might be a happier place if all that we made in the world met these critieria. I know my beading world would have been over the past couple of weeks. In the conversion of my garage to my studio several workmen seriously failed the neatness test – piles of plaster dust and sawdust seemed to appear just as they disappeared. Perhaps, that’s a good reminder to me that workwomanship in beadwork needs to be both neat and soundly engineered. One, without the other, is only half way there.

I’d love any thoughts you have on what makes for sound and neat beadwork and what we can do to work towards excellence in the technical execution of our beadwork.


Chrisbeads said...

Plenty to think about in this post, thanks Glenda. Yes, we should all aim for excellence in the technical execution of our beadwork and in everyday life. Does that mean I had best get back into the housework and leave the beading for a while?

Glenda of Dax Designs said...

I think the beading deserves you more than the housework!!!
Happy beading. Glenda

The Social Planner said...

I agree with you Glenda that we need to talk more about what constitutes good workwomanship in beading - would technical proficiency be easier to say?
We need to be teaching students the best way to make their beadwork, not just the easy way. I think your list is a good start on the things to look for.
I note that, when presenting the Elly Feldman award at the BSV Expo, Elly has mentioned the same thing, several times. I wonder if we would get more entries to the competition if requirements for what makes 'good' beadwork were more clearly understood by BSV members.
I really like that bracelet by the way!

Glenda of Dax Designs said...

Would welcome knowing if you have other things you would list - would be great if we could get a strong list of 'criteria' to support people to think about technical competence in their beadwork and in entering the Elly Feldman award. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op