Friday, May 29, 2009

Quick Inspiration: Use the Muse

Hesiod and the Muses

When I first became interested in jewelry design, I remember being really intimidated by the projects in Beadwork magazine. My attempts at peyote stitch were frightening, and tubular herringbone was a fabulous mystery yet to be explored. Today, Beadwork is one of my favorite sources for inspiration.

My favorite feature is The Challenge, were the editors set out to create interesting beadwork from a pre-selected set of beads. Each design is unique, for each editor combines the challenge beads with their own stash, and their personal style. I love seeing the different styles of beadwork using the same set of beads. It’s a great way to explore the endless possibilities available to creative beaders.

Recently, readers have been invited to participate in The Challenge as well, and the mystery beads for each issue are given to lucky beaders to create with as they will. Participants are drawn at random, and their finished work is featured along with the designs of the Beadwork editors.

As much as I love The Challenge, I don’t yet have the courage to enter into the draw, and I feel like I’m missing out on a great opportunity for inspiration and creative growth. That’s why I was so thrilled to learn about the Use the Muse contest.

Beadwork contributing editor, Scarlett Lanson, has created a beading challenge that anyone can sink their teeth into. The concept is very similar to Beadwork’s The Challenge, because the contest is open to designers of all tastes and skill levels.


Here’s how it works: beaders can purchase a beading kit which includes all of the materials pictured above. Also in the package is a mystery component, called the Muse, which must be used for a design to qualify for the contest. Beaders can use any techniques or other materials that they choose, allowing for maximum creativity. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories, including the overall grand prize - a fabulous treasure box filled with delicious beads.


This is a really exciting opportunity to flex one’s creative muscles, to experiment with new materials, and to interact with other beaders. If you want to learn more about Use the Muse, and how to participate, visit Scarlett Lanson’s website The Beader’s Muse.

Good luck to all Muse Users out there!


  1. I entered the first one and it was fun. What was really inspiring was that everyone had the same kit and interpreted it so differently. I don't know how they chose the winners, but they did! I plan to enter again if for nothing else than to challenge myself creatively and I would encourage others to do the same! Enjoy the day!

  2. Very cool! I'm so glad I saw this and glad you are entering! AND, I'm here to be your voice of encouragement, GET IN THE CHALLENGE!! Your work is fabulous and you are truly an inspired beader!!

  3. Some of the winning photos from USE THE MUSE I are a little intimidating, but there's so much incentive to just jump in and try it.

    Personally, I'm super excited about getting my hands on all those beads! I'm also looking forward to comparing what I create to the ideas of other beaders.

    Thank you for the encouragement!


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