I've been absorbing everything I can form this forum, trying to plan for the 2013 season as I have missed most of the boats for this year. I am bothered by a seeming paradox. One promotor states explicitly on the wesite that all components of jewelry in the fine craft fine art shows must be hand made by the artist with the exception of faceted gems, findings and chains.

1.  In what category does this leave seed beads? I do some on- and off-loom bead weaving. I do not make my seed beads by hand.

2. Are the jump rings used in chain maille "findings"? I make some myself and purchase others.

3.  Where does this leave jewelry designsers whose work consists entirely of assembled purchased findings and chains and "faceted gems" (actually semi-precious smooth stones and manufactured gems)? At least one such jewelry designer is on the exhibitor list for some of the very same promotor's shows. The entire design relies on purchased components not made by the designer.

I do not wish any of these people ill will. I am simply baffled. I want to make good choices as to how and where I market my own art.

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  • Carol, seed beads are not considered pre-fabricated elements. They are the medium itself and I have found that there is no disadvantage to working in seed beads than any other fabrication. However, I have found that making "beaded beads" using seed beads is probably confusing to a jury as to whether they are pre-purchased or made by the artist. I would just keep things original and material-driven.

    • I've not done a whole lot of beaded beads, perhaps I should not use one as a jury image. Thanks for that heads-up. I sure do need to learn to look at my work from a jury's viewpoint.

      Here's a fuzzy photo of one in RAW


      • Carol, I have been a textile artist for a long time- designing sweaters, fabrics, quilts, dying fabric, etc...so it was a logical progression. I have not been doing shows for that long. Thanks for sending the image of the RAW bead....I would just stay away from juried images using bb's- that's my experience only.

        • Carol,

          You have asked a question that few want to touch........again.

          Try this blog If Jewelry is SUCH a COMPETITIVE arena...Why Don't Art Fairs Subdiv...

          I opened a differrent subject but it came around to yours.

          Each Artist decides.

          I use fossils, real pearls, gems, Swarovski crystals and only gold or silver findings. I usually make my own pins and ear hooks........BUT sometimes I see a lovely design........and I am tempted.

          Have the best of careers!


          • Hi, Linda.

            It took all day but I have read every post in that thread. My issue is not about how the stuff is made but about a show producer who says one thing (no assembled work) and apparantly does another, as evidenced by work juried in. 

            A rule that is not enforced spoils it for everyone.

            I stand by my original post.

    • OMG your work is so beautiful! (google -> your site) The annoying patron in me wants to know how long you have been making beaded art. Can't help it. I was a customer for a lot longer than I've been an exhibitor.

      • (thank you so much!) I have been making beaded work for about 4 years. As you can see, I use alot of seed beads. Good luck to you!!!

        • Only 4 years! I bet you've been an artist a lot longer that that <g>.

  • This can be very confusing indeed. In your case, I'd say the seed beads are the equivalent of a painter's purchased paints. They are a medium used to weave an original design. If you just strung up some seed beads and added a purchased clasp it would be a different story. In that instance it would be "assembly jewelry" and not acceptable for most juried art fairs. I'm in a gallery that bans purchased clasps. However, they do allow purchased finished chains if what you're really selling is a hand made pendant.

    As for that other jewelry designer who "relies on purchased components", it's hard to give an opinion without seeing the finished work. It's up to the show promoter or jury to determine if it meets their requirements, I guess. You could use this as a way to find a good show, though. If you believe the promoter is allowing items that are expressly banned, it could be a sign that it is a low quality show desperate for submissions.

    Choosing venues can be tricky. Since you are just starting out, you'll probably find yourself in a few losers the 1st couple of years. That's OK. You will soon get a feel for what's right for you.

    Wishing you lots of luck in 2013!

    Robin Ragsdale

    • Robin, thank you. It is hard to trust one's own common sense in the face of the swirl of information. Sure, I've strung a few beads in my time. I just would not call mine "fine craft."

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