Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lord of the Rings: what does it inspire in you - some strategies and politics of choosing?

The Etsy Beadweaver’s (EBW) May 2011 challenge is to bead something inspired by J.R. Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, & Return of the King. Your design should be based on, or created for a character, creature, prop, or location in the story and when listing your challenge submission in your Etsy shop you should specifically state your choice, and explain how your bead work represents your chosen aspect of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in your listing.

When I first heard about this month’s challenge I headed to my bookshelves to find my rather battered copy of Lord of the Rings. Flipping through its pages bought fond memories flooding back to me of long hours spent reading it over the summer holidays when I was totally immersed in its tales of middle earth, Hobbits, princes, wizards, dragons and of course the Dark Lord Sauren. Now I wonder at it's politics and where my pleasure would lie reading it now (more of that later!).

In the 1960s I had only images from my imagination to conjure up the worlds created by Tolkein. Now imagery abounds amongst the artwork, films, wallpaper and even video games that have been inspired by it. Just go to Google and search for images for Lord of the Rings and you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the drama and atmosphere of the colours, patterns and characters that are readily available to inspire beadwork. Take for instances, The Mines of Moria image (above) I found on Google images – the wonderful colours and shapes alone could be the theme for a monthly challenge.

In fact the plethora of places, characters, creatures or props that could inspire is part of the challenge of this challenge. How do you choose and why do you choose what you do? Here's six strategies that might help those feeling overwhelmed or those just not quite sure where to start:
  1. Take a quiz and see which Lord of the Rings ‘Race’ you are and then use what you find to bead something for that ‘Race’.
  2. Scroll through an alphabetical listing of the characters until you find one whose name and temperament you like. or
  3. Go to Google images and search for Lord of the Rings wallpaper – this search created the greatest diversity of images for me. Scroll through looking for shapes, colours and atmospheres that speak to you.
  4. Search online for Lord of the Rings jewelry – yes it exists! See the Ring of Aragorn (Also known as the Ring of Barahir) image (left) I have included in this blog. Here are some sites to get you going: or
  5. Play a free online Lord of the Rings computer game searching for that image that you can’t resist being inspired by - link here
  6. Be challenged to choose by taking a critical look at the gender, ‘race’ and class controversies underpinning the imagery of Lord of the Rings and see how this might take your beading to a different place. For instance, Kim (2004) wrote that ‘goodness correlates to whiteness, both racially and as color scheme, and is associated with Europe, particularly England and the Scandinavian countries, the West, and the North. Evil is invariably black, savage, Southern (or "Southron"), and Eastern. All racially "white" actors, whether from New Zealand (where the film was shot), Australia, the US, Ireland, or England, are assimilable as Middle-earth heroes (although they must adopt British accents), and the "good" display a heterogeneous mix of European (mostly British and Scandinavian) cultural references”. For a more detailed look at these issues see: A Reflection on Tolkien's World - Gender, Race & Interpreted Political, Economic, Social & Cultural Allegories by Michael Skeparnides -
Personally, it is the final strategy that offers the biggest challenge to me - to my pleasant memories of first reading Lord of the Rings in the 1960s it adds a new twist and tension and to my decision as a beader it brings me to decisions about how I can honor my own values of equity and justice in 2011 in what I choose to bead for the EBW May Challenge. A challenge indeed!

Best beading wishes in making your choices and as always I look forward to what our monthly EBW challenge inspires in each of us.


Kim, Sue, Beyond Black and White: Race and Postmodernism in The Lord of the Rings Films
MFS Modern Fiction Studies - Volume 50, Number 4, Winter 2004, pp. 875-907

Friday, April 22, 2011

June 2011 Challenge "Heal the World"

For our June challenge, April challenge winner Anna Hatvani challenges us to "HEAL THE WORLD."

“Many of us work or volunteer at animal shelters, churches, and in other social fields, and all of us experience daily the wounds of the Earth. Imagine the future our children will inherit: nuclear catastrophies, epidemics, extinct species, environmental pollution, wasted water and energy, the effects of Global Warming, child abuse, and wars all around....
This is a great opportunity to raise awareness through your art. You cannot solve the world's problems on your own, but you can stand for a good cause, and tell us about it in BEADS!

Please write approximately 100 words describing your choice (providing some data on the matter) and please title your work to arouse interest. (If you are a kind of person who prefers to create harmonic and peaceful pieces, do not hesitate to enter this challenge - then show the ideal state)."

Here are some ideas to get you started:

You may start your entry today and list in your Etsy shop after the May challenge has ended and by midnight June 5th, 2011.

Any EBW member may create one new beadweaving of your own design and not a tutorial (not from a kit, book, magazine, or class) in response to the challenge theme. You work should be entirely beadwoven, or have a substantially woven component, to feature and promote our art form. You may not renew an existing piece and your work entry must be the original and not a tutorial of your design. Members are expected to participate in challenges when possible, and required to do so once each year. Start the weaving anytime after the theme is announced. Complete and list the work for sale on Etsy by the 5th of the month of the challenge, before midnight Etsy time. Your listing date is proof you entered by the deadline, so DO NOT RENEW your work until after the voting poll opens on the 9th. If your listing sells, you can still participate in the challenge, but please alert the moderators to the sale.

Your listing must include the following four (4) things:
1.The theme of the challenge. For example, “This (describe your work) was created for the Etsy Beadweavers Team (insert the month) challenge on the theme (insert the title of the theme).”
2.An explanation of how your work relates to the theme.
3.The address of our team blog where the voting will take place and the voting dates. For example, “Please visit our team blog, ( between the 9th and 15th and vote for your favorite entry.”
4.Tag your entry EBWC but not before the current challenge has ended. This is how we find your entry. Remove the tag after the voting poll closes, so entries for the next month’s challenge can be feature.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Swap between Esty Beadweaver Members

This year we once again asked members if they were interested in designing and creating something for another member of our team.  Those that were interested were provided with the interests and style of their partner and then challenged to create a piece specifically for them.  These are the results were amazing.
First Row:
1. Anna Hatvani to Jacquie Champion, 2. Callie Mitchell to Anna Hatvani, 3. Carol Holmes to Callie Mitchell, 4. Charlene Abrams to Carol Holmes, 5. Cheryl Boutilier to Charlene Abrams, 6. Chris Maj to Cheryl Boutilier,
Second Row:
7. Deb Andersen to Chris Maj, 8. Ginny Bracht to Deb Anderson, 9. Hadas Ferber to Ginny Bracht, 10. Jane Cucchiara to Hadas Ferber, 11. Jessie Yost to Jane Cucchiara, 12. Kinga Nichols to Jessie Yost
Third Row:
13. Lisa Fuller to Kinga Nichols, 14. Maria Nyberg to Lisa Fuller, 15. Mariya Zhalnina to Maria Nyberg, 16. Megan Baker to Mariya Zhalnina, 17. Melissa Kauffold to Megan Baker, 18. Mindy Patterson to Melissa Kauffold,
Fourth Row:
19. Orna Voloh to Mindy Patterson, 20. Rhiannon Fisk to Orna Voloh, 21. Ruthie Stickney to Rhiannon Fisk, 22. Silvia Sernicola to Ruthie Stickney, 23. Sue Charette-Hood to Silvia Sernicola, 24. Jacquie Champion to Sue Charette-Hood
Click each smaller images to see a larger image.
click map

Anna Hatvani to Jacquie Champion
Callie Mitchell to Anna Hatvani
Carol Holmes to Callie Mitchell
Charlene Abrams to Carol Holmes
Cheryl Boutilier to Charlene Abrams
Chris Maj to Cheryl Boutilier
Deb Andersen to Chris Maj
Ginny Brach to Deb Anderson
Hadas Ferber to Ginny Bracht
Jane Cucchiara to Hadas Ferber
Jessie Yost to Jane Cucchiara
Kinga Shaub to Jessie Yost
Lisa Fuller to Kinga Shaub
Maria Nyberg to Lisa Fuller
Mariya Zhalnina to Maria Nyberg
Megan Baker to Mariya Zhalnina
Melissa Kauffold to Megan Baker
Mindy Patterson to Melissa Kauffold
Orna Voloh to Mindy Patterson
Rhiannon Fisk to Orna Voloh
Ruthie Stickney to Rhiannon Fisk
Silvia Sernicola to Ruthie Stickney
Sue Charette-Hood to Silvia Sernicola
Jacquie Champion to Sue Charette-Hood

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Congratulations to AnnaHatvani Winner of the April "Spring Around the Corner" Challenge

Congratulations AnnaHatvani and her La Primavera necklace winner of the April Challenge "Spring Around the Corner" with 291 (31%) of the popular votes.
Congratulations to the runners up
Tied for 2nd place - 14. The Key to My Heart is Spring - 4uidzne
and 44. Raindrops on Lilacs - HauteIceBeadwork with 76 votes each (8%)
3rd place - 43. Coronation of Spring Necklace - CieloDesign with 45 votes (5%)
4th place - 39. Spring Is Coming Beaded Bottle - notsoplainbyjane with 40 votes (4%)
5th place - 31. A Spring Bouquet - ladyvoodoo with 31 votes (3%)
6th place - 21. Gold and Pink Swirly Flower Pendant Beadwoven Necklace - SmadarsTreasure with 28 votes (3%)
7th place - 35. Spring Bridal Clutch - WhiteRabbitJewels with 25 votes (3%)
Tied for 8th place - 27. Spring Tulips - ArtfulAr and 1. Spring Fantasy - enchantedbeads with 20 votes each (2%)
Tied for 9th place - 45. Cherry blossom Spring brooch - BeadCatcher and 42. Snow on the Crocus - savoystudio with 17 votes (2%)
and a three way tie for 10th place
28. Spring Flowers Necklace - BettyStephanBeadwork,  17. Diva Delight - beadifuljewelry and  4. Rock On Spring - vickiethomas with 16 votes each (2%)

Congratulations to everyone who 49 entries to the challenge, all the pieces were worthy of a win and we are all winners as we challenge ourselves to expand our skills.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Voting for the April Challenge "Spring Around the Corner"

The April 2011 challenge chosen by Isabella of Bead4me challenges our members to "Spring Around the Corner" and celebrate the coming of spring.
Voting for the challenge opens April 9 -April 15 2011.
1. Spring Fantasy - enchantedbeads

Good Luck to all 49 entries, they are amazing.  We have such talent in our group!

Special thanks to Ann of FrancescasFancy for creating the Mosaic once again and to Marsha of HauteIceBeadwork and Kinga of WhiteRabbitJewels for reviewing all 48 entries.