Adding ‘Challenge’ to Your Beading

Esther Beadwork Blog

Michelle incorporated peyote stitch and added a tassel to come up with this great necklace

Michelle incorporated peyote stitch and added a tassel to come up with this great necklace

To make our bead meet up group meetings more fun, I started adding monthly ‘challenges.’ Each month I assign a new project, designed to stretch our skills and creativity — no matter what type of work we do. The results have been fantastic — with all kinds of creative and original designs coming out of the assignment.

Lily's handmade chain blew us away.

Lily’s handmade chain blew us away with stunning workmanship.

A beader who struggles with one challenge may excel at another. For those who have never created original designs before, this is a chance to play with materials in a new way. 

The beaders in our group have a wide range of skills — from beginners to experienced professionals. Some work with metal, others string beads, and several incorporate beading techniques such as peyote stitch and right-angle weave. No matter their level of ability, those who have participated have really enjoyed the process.

Ashlee added petite peyote dangles to chain for a delicate and interesting necklace

Ashlee added petite peyote dangles to chain for a delicate and interesting necklace

So far we’ve done a color-related challenge (design something in white) and several product-related challenges. One month I passed out gumdrop beads and asked everyone to incorporate those into their work — the results were amazing. Another month everyone was asked to use stone in some way — again, beautiful work.

Last month we were all challenged to incorporate chain into our pieces. Of course our metal working enthusiast blew us all away by making her own chain!

As you can see in the photos, no two pieces are alike and yet they are all wonderful. If your bead group wants to mix things up, I suggest using a challenge as a way to move people beyond their standard comfort zones. The results will amaze you.