Battle of the beadsmith

Battle of the Beadsmith is an international contest where excellent bead artists meet in battles until a winner is crowned. We have two months to bead something unique and extraordinary, and I always take the opportunity to try out new materials and techniques to create a detailed story.

Euphoria (2012)

I had only tried bead embroidery once before, when I was accepted to participate in the first Battle of the Beadsmith.

My vision was to stitch a necklace with a Nordic feel, where a wolf is howling at the moon in a snowy landscape. The grey agates in the middle of the necklace creates a barrier to the lefthand side of the snowy landscape, where you see a little wolf running through the snow.

The clasp is a paw print from a wolf, and the embroidered parts are held together by Viking Knit chains in different sizes. 

lethal desire (2013)

It’s not hard to see that the inspiration for this Battle piece comes from J.R.R Tolkien’s fantastic "Lord of the rings" trilogy. I wanted to create a necklace with clear references to the movies by Peter Jackson.

In order to create a 3D feel to the necklace, I built the Eye of Sauron using a silkworm cocoon. Barad Dûr is 1 cm thicker on the lefthand side to align the eye’s gaze on the One Ring, and Gollum’s arm is embroidered over the stone he hides behind. The One Ring is a dark tungsten ring with golden inscription, since it is about to be destroyed in the lava bed at Mount Doom. 

The clasp is a Viking Knit sword that represents Frodo’s sword Sting, and I’ve used Viking Knit chains to bring the piece together.

digging for gold! (2014)

This was supposed to become another necklace, but the beads wanted something else. 

Digging for Gold!" is a scene depicting a gold-diggers prospector camp in Klondike around the end of the 19th century. Using pebbles from our back yard, I created the backdrop for the four prospectors who struggle to find the treasures of the earth.

After about a month, I felt that the embroidered pieces didn't work in a necklace. I had to reconsider and instead of cutting everything up, I saw that the pieces would be nice as a lid for an evening bag. I cut up an old leather jacket, used a cereal box which I glued with silk fabric for strength, and stitched the bag together with waxed cord. The seam in front is hidden with Viking Knit chains, and then I used 24kt gold plated seed beads for the edging.

To this day, this evening bag is one of my favourite projects.

Bastet (2015)

I have always loved cats and have had feline friends around me all my life. For the Battle in 2015, I wanted to create a piece dedicated to the Egyptian Cat goddess Bastet.

I chose earthy tones with details in red, blue and gold. The challenge in this piece was to manage the symmetry on the temple walls and the scarab wings.

The scarab clasp can be worn as pendant with a beaded chain. The square shapes stitched to the Viking Knit chains are also recurring in my “Bubastis” bracelet, which is now one of my class designs. 

tranquility (2016)

For the 2016 Battle I had a clear image in my head. I was going to create a blue sky with sunny rays shining through fluffy clouds. Therefore, I was very surprised when after three hours of beading I noticed that I was stitching tree trunks instead..! Apparently, it was time to follow the beads again.

The tree trunks developed into lush willow trees growing by a lake. Since people often say that I ”paint” with beads, I got the idea to add an acrylic painting as backdrop, featuring a figure walking through the woods.

The clasp is a small acrylic painting with hooks on the back, making it possible to wear separately if preferred.

Birdwatch (2017)

In my 6th year participating in the Battle of the Beadsmith, I had to push my physical boundaries rather than the creative ones due to a silly arm injury. As my beading time was limited, I fell into the habit of stitching branches.

The brances became a great display for some treasured gifts and purchases from the past few years. A beautiful bird made by fellow bead artist Anna Gonikhina Servaeus looks like it belongs among the branches, and the lovely lampwork flower from Olga Pasynkova fit perfectly in the petals created by Shibori Silk from Italian Filincanto.

Two Claspgarten clasps are hidden among the branches. A few Swarovski butterflies and a Crystal butterfly from fellow Swedish beader Kiki Thorsell completes the picture.