Enter the New Semiprecious Beads Challenge
When you're starting out, it's easiest to string one or two types of beads together. Combining three or more can be tricky. You'll need to juggle multiple colors and possibly different shapes and sizes. Because of the design skill involved, I thought it would make a great Beading Daily reader challenge!
The challenge: Design a bracelet or necklace using three or more different types of gemstones and your design could be featured on Beading Daily and considered for publication in Step by Step Beads. Deadline to enter is March 31, 2009. Read the Official Rules.
If you need ideas on how to use gemstones, check out the new book, Designing Jewelry with Semiprecious Beads by Kim Gover. It's packed with information on all types of gemstones, including typical colors, popular forms (chips, rounds, etc.), cost, symbolism/healing properties, and suggestions for beads that pair well together. (If you missed Wednesday's post, you might want to also take a minute to read Jean Campbell's Fun Ways to Combine Semiprecious Stones.)
If semiprecious beads aren't your thing, there are plenty of other design contests to keep you busy! The Bead Arts Awards is an annual international competition that offers prizes in three categories: beads, bead jewelry, and beaded object. Deadline is May 1, 2009. That's also the deadline for the second annual Bead Star competition which awards prizes for simple projects in a number of categories from crystals to seed beads. I've also recently added a mixed media charm swap by Cloth Paper Scissors, the latest Stringing challenge, and a new Colorworks contest from Step by Step Beads to the contest page. View all contests.
Celtic Twist Earrings
by Karen Tellefsen
Use 20-gauge round wire (brass, copper, dead soft silver, or craft wire) to create this design that looks like Celtic knotwork patterns in antique illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells. This pattern looks especially striking if three different colored wires are used together. Instructions assume the you know how to make wrapped loops and spirals. This intermediate-level project from Step by Step Wire Jewelry will be free until March 30, 2009. [Note: Free period has ended. This pattern is now for sale in the store.]
Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.