Beading competitions are a great way to gain exposure for your work and challenge your skills.
But what are beading competitions? They range from huge international events to a simple competition in your local bead store. Although something like a raffle or prize draw, or quiz could count as a competition, I’m looking at the events that ask you to submit your beadwork for judging.
Who can enter a competition?
Technically, anyone! Of course, it depends on the individual competition rules. So, you may find there are restrictions based on experience or location. But in general, if you can bead, you can think about entering a beading competition.
Just make sure you read the rules carefully to check that you qualify. And also, take a look at previous years’ finalists and winners. This will give you a good idea as to whether or not your work is up to standard for this competition.
If you don’t feel good enough yet, don’t be put off. Just work on growing your skills and try again another year. Or, find a different competition to try now.
Who runs beading competitions?
The largest competitions are typically run by magazines, bead shows, or the really large bead retailers. Possibly the most well-known of this sort is Bead Dreams. This is run by Kalmbach Media, who also publish Bead and Button Magazine and run the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee each year.
At the other end of the spectrum, your local bead group may run an annual competition for members. Maybe it is tied in with a local craft fair that can exhibit the entries.
It is also worth checking out beading shops. A lot of those will run competitions to help promote the beads they sell. After all, if one of your customers can bead an amazing entry, this promotes the products in your shop!
Bead manufacturers are also a good place to check for beading competitions. But, to save you searching, I have a directory of competitions right here.
What prizes are on offer?
Again, this varies from one competition to another. In some cases, you may win a stash of beads or other materials. In other cases, it may be a cash prize. This is usually in the form of a voucher to spend at the bead store who has sponsored the competition.
For some beading competitions, your only prize is the glory!
How do you enter beading competitions?
There is no single answer to this question. Every competition will have its own rules of entry. So, use the directory to find a competition that interests you, and check out its website for all the rules and entry details.
Some competitions will require you to send in photos. Some may need the actual beadwork. Others will need both. Often you will go through an elimination round that is judged just on photos. Then, you will have to send in your work if you reach the final rounds.
So, hopefully that gives you a good outline to start off! Check out the articles below for some more specific advice and help.