Ode to the Artist!

Design Idea LA5F Necklace
by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Beading is soothing, therapeutic and good for the soul. It can provide a healing outlet that helped many get through the challenges of the last year. We're proud to honor all the artists that added a silver lining to 2020 through jewelry making and participated in our 2020 Seed Bead Contest. One thing is for sure: the quarantine did not stop the spread of creativity!

We were touched by the messages of hope, travel, rebirth and renewal behind many of the contest pieces. It was enjoyable to see how artists experimented with new techniques and mediums, stretching themselves beyond their creative comfort zone.

Our contest artists were inspired by nature, beautiful sunsets, animals, fairytales, social movements, music festivals and more to bring life to seed bead jewelry designs. The varied techniques included bead embroidery, peyote and brick stitch, pointillism, quilled weave, cross-stitch patterns and more.

Here are just a few of the inspiring stories:

Flower of Summer
Elena Lanzberg made this bracelet for her daughter, who is allergic to flowers. She shared, "I made this bracelet for her to make her life a little happier." We think this was such a beautiful sentiment and gift.

Design Idea LA5G Bracelet

In Love with the Shape of You
Beauty and the Beads' necklace is inspired by diversity and honoring our differences. The artist explains, "The 'Black Lives Matter' protests made me realize the intensity of our diversity. We are all different whether it be color, shape, personality or religion and this should be celebrated not criticized."

Design Idea LA55 Necklace

Jewelry designer Alex Roeder created this piece that was honored with the President's Award. It is based on the Brazilian festival celebrated in Rio de Janeiro. Even though travel was limited in 2020, this stunning design took us away. She says, "Samba dancing is a very important part of this festival and 'Carnival' is my vision of necklace worn by a samba dancer."

Design Idea LA4Y Necklace

Parrot Fish
Barbara Briggs was inspired by past tropical travels. She says, "Parrotfish particularly caught my eye for the subtle brilliance of their scales and I just had to create a beaded piece to remind me of their beauty!"

Design Idea LA54 Bracelet

Dreamcatching Dragon
Michele Dischino designed this dragon dreamcatcher. "It reminds me of spring, rebirth and new beginnings which is hopefully what will happen when we emerge from the current pandemic. In many cultures dragons are symbols of good fortune, strength and health."

Design Idea LA66 Dreamcatcher

Jewelry artist Edwin Batres shares, "At the beginning of 2020, when the virus began to spread, I was in self-isolation and in desperate need of something where my worrying mind could seek refuge and Mandala Necklace was that refuge. I forced my mind to focus on a project out of my comfort zone, using colors that made me happy and peaceful. Each time I felt the need to escape, I made one different mandala; some are protective, some are peaceful and others contain healing energy."

Design Idea LA5F Necklace

Elijah's Rainbows
Vada Jo Veter was inspired to create her largest piece ever last year by her son Elijah who is mostly non-verbal autistic and loves to watch her create things. "He requested rainbow colors with his puzzle piece ribbon and sat with me on your website to pick out the colors and crystals. I always ask him if he likes the pieces I make and this one made him smile big."

Design Idea LA6M Ornament

Momma Bear
Tawny Druar was motivated by the events of last year to create this stunning seed bead mask. "For each bead placed there was a different emotion, and they ran deep. A thousand tears were shed. Fear, worry, depression, anxiety, loneliness, anger, despair, uncertainty, hope, love, sadness and compassion. Not just for myself but for my whole family, my friends and my community. I pray that we can all drop our differences and come together, for everyone's life is important. Please let us think about each other. We all matter."

Design Idea LA6J Face Mask

View all the 2020 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Jewelry-Making Seed Bead Contest winners and finalists here.

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