Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Bead Museum in Washington, DC is home to one of the most comprehensive exhibits and collections of beads on the planet. Located downtown on 7th Street it is also the abode to the Greater Washington Bead Society. In 2008, The Bead Museum initiated its first International Juried Competition covering twelve separate media categories. The jurors were Mixed Media Artist Joyce J. Scott, Lampwork pioneer Kate Fowle Melaney, Polymer Clay Master Grant Diffendafer, Quilter Laura Cater-Woods and Ricki Pelzman.
Over 443 artists from fourteen countries and forty states within the US took part in this endeavor. I decided it was high time to put out some of my work to see how jurors and peers would gauge the one of a kind objects. We were requested to get high resolution images sent and the category I entered two pieces in was: Seed Beads. Two beaded collars from the series were submitted: Medusa in Beige and Fossil Paths.
In May of 2008, I received a letter that Fossil Paths was chosen as a Finalist and to ship the original piece to the Bead Museum for the final showing. With only three days left to qualify for the jury selection, we had to send the original piece all the way to DC. Luckily, we made the deadline and the piece shown in the image above was chosen as a finalist. The event was highlighted on September 20th, 2008 in the 3rd Annual Passion for Beads Gala Dinner honoring the artists who had participated. Another intra-cultural dialogue that we continue to be a part of.
The process was exciting in itself, assembling a 400 million year old fossil (Ortheceras) found in Morocco as the focal point, vintage seed beads from the Czech Republic, silver bead caps from Bali and Japanese magatama beads ( the drop beads edging the piece) and a customized clasp connection all in the peyote stitch technique and fringing here, in a quiet basement studio tucked away in a neighborhood in Kuwait to enter an international competition for the first time and then to be recognized and celebrated by an accomplished jury of artists in itself was truly an experience to remember.