Monday, 9 June 2014

Competitive Art

It's the time of year for The Battle of the Beadsmith... and also the winners of Bead Dreams have been announced.  It makes me think about the idea of competitive beading, and competitive art in general.  

Art is defined as "the expression or application of human creative skill or imagination typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power".

No-where in that definition does it mention quality, judgement of one piece of work as being 'better' than another or classification of championship.  I've never really understood art competitions, and the idea of entering one seems odd to me.  Who are the judges to say that my work is better than someone else's or vice versa?  How do you even begin to critique such different pieces of art?

In the summer last year, I started a beading challenge run by Stitchncraft, my local(ish) bead shop.  It's a four-seasons challenge, so a piece of beadwork has to be made for each season - and specific beads and colour-schemes are provided which have to be included in each season.  The summer piece has to be a necklace, autumn is a bracelet, winter is a sculptural piece and spring is a free choice.  

I can't show you the progress I've made on any of these pieces, as judging is supposed to be anonymous, sorry about that.  I feel very odd beading, knowing that I am going to be judged on what I do, and that I am in effect 'competing' against my friends. I just don't know how I feel about that.  

I would love to know what your thoughts are about beading competitions, and other art competitions, how you feel about competing against your friends and how you deal with the disappointment or elation of the results.


  1. I think the only way to approach such an endeavor is to put aside the 'winning and losing' idea of it, and simply use the challenge as a way to push your own artistic envelope, and do the best you can possibly do for yourself, and your art. I don't think losing even comes into it for me, really - because if I made something that I love myself, then it doesn't matter if it doesn't match what the judges were looking for. A judged competition is always going to be subjective according to the judges and their preconceived (even if unconscious) thoughts and ideas, and personal taste, too, no matter how objective they may be. I think you have to enter contests, if at all, as a way to expand your own art and boundaries, and put aside the 'win' part. :) :) I win if I make something!! And best of luck to you, Becs - I hope you love what you make!!

  2. Totally agree with Nancy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder just as art is! What I like in art may not be what the judge likes in art and vice-verse. I also think that some artist pieces have a signature to their designs no matter how anonymous one tries to be. Do what makes you feel what moves you, and that's all that matters.