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ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition

Posted by learntobead on October 2, 2009

ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition
6 Semi-Finalists Announced
OnLine Voting begins around 11/07/09

Creating a Beaded Art Doll requires an extraordinary mix of multi-media talents by the successful artist.   It involves the design of a 3-dimensional doll form.   It requires an imaginative application and manipulation of beads resulting in a tactile, visual and emotional representation of the artist’s goals.    This year, these goals are focused on the theme: EARTHEN MOTHER.

The Fourth Bi-Annual 2009 All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition — sponsored by Land of Odds, Be Dazzled Beads, The Open Window Gallery and The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts in Nashville, TN — sought out beaded art doll artists nationwide.     This competition primarily focuses on the design skills of the doll artists; it’s not merely a beauty pageant. 

Each entrant created a beaded art doll, and then wrote a story about it, beginning with this sentence:

“The mirror reflects more than my hands can feel.
Lines, edges, shadings, a weariness under the eyes, an awkward stance.
Yet, not reflected is a certain vibrancy —
a compassion and wisdom and wonder so many people rely on.
Only you, my beaded art doll,
capture the fullness of me as I age in place .
You embody changes I want to make, so I aptly name you…”

Six semi-finalists were chosen by a panel of experts from The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts from 12 wonderful entries.   Images and stories will be displayed online around November 7th on the Land of Odds website (www.landofodds.com ).   Visitors will be asked to vote and evaluate each doll, to help select the Winner and Runner-up.   The winner receives a $1,000 shopping spree on the website; the Runner-up receives a $400 shopping spree).

 These semi-finalists are,

Kathy Ford
Deep Gap, North Carolina


“As a child you spoke to me from mud as I sat at the far end of the garden patting earthen cakes between my palms.   And how luminous that mud like the color of your skin could be.   Chocolate, gold and olive green the fertile soil in which you breathe.  Life survives and thrives in your rich ground….

…In this guise she embodies life as celebration.  My life as celebration.”


Vera Fox-Bond
LaVergne, Tennessee
“Ta Dah”


“I shall tell my story through TA DAH or TA for short.  TA had been to the beauty shop for a new perm and the latest gossip.  Her curls turned out to be a bit much and she stepped on bubble gum on her way to the car.  What a day!   Upon arriving home, TA looked in the bathroom mirror at her new do and the mirror changed her life and mine forever….

…Don’t discard the older things of this world as they contain their own kind of beauty, wisdom and peacefulness….”


Cathy Helmers
Dayton, Ohio


“You embody changes I want to make, so I aptly name you Aikaterine, meaning each of the two….

Life-giver, life-taker.
powerful, fragile
serene, chaotic
forgiving, harsh
Compassionate, rageful

…But Aikatrine has no time for self-reflection.
She is busy with self-regeneration.”


Ralonda Patterson
Decatur, Texas



You were not always as you appear this day.  You were fearful and lonely.   You turned to learning for a safe haven, a place for you to be acknowledged in a positive light.  Then sprang the hunger to be taught, a desire that was placed within the seed from which you sprang.   Your roots began to thrive in the fertile soil that had been plowed by your ancestors’ faith.   They grew deeper and had tapped into the eternal spring of the Spirit and from it came an understanding….

Now with such poise, you stand in the garden while showers of blessing rain down.  You are forgiven and redeemed, a most beloved creation of the Heavenly Father.   He gives you rest from your enemies and an eternity in the most beautiful garden of all.”


Dot Lewallen
Westerville, Ohio
“Rachel’s Dream”



I close my eyes and am transported to a dream world.  My fingers tingle with a sound permeating the forest as my ears hear the sharp crackling of the pine leaves I step upon.   My nose is being teased with a plethora of smells dancing and embracing with a promise of more if I would follow deeper into the woods….Mother Earth takes time to heal one small flower…

Then I am awake lying in my own bed….I touch the place where the dream woman had kissed me, and can still feel the moisture from her breath.  I know this woman.  I’ve seen her before….The woman was Rachel Carson the author of Silent Sprint, and I had followed her into her dream….

We should all take the mirror we see ourselves in, wipe away the fog, and view our beautiful World with a childlike thrill….”


Joan M. Cromley
Sedro Woolley, Washington
“Yamka Wuti Kachina (Flowering Woman Spirit)”



“As I sit here and prepare you for your future, you represent not just me, but also my mother, my daughter, all the women of the past, present and future….As the sacred Bead Keeper for the women of our village, my job is to perform the ceremonies and rituals in creating our precious beaded treasures. …

Just as my mother made my kachina for my puberty rite, so I am making you for my daughter.  When she comes of age and goes through the Beadway Blessing, you will remind her of all the things she has within her, and all the things she can call on as a woman….”


About Beaded Art Dolls

A Beaded Art Doll is a physical representation in three dimensions, using human figural and expressive characteristics, through the creative use and manipulation of beads. Beads are a unique art medium, allowing multidimensional surface treatment, and phenomenal opportunities for interplay among colors, light, shadow, texture and pattern.   Beaded Art Dolls submitted as entries for this Competition should be immediately recognizable as a “Doll” as defined above.

That said, Beaded Art Dolls submitted as entries for this competition may be realistic, surrealistic, whimsical or imaginary. They may be humanistic, animalistic, caricatures, cartoons, impressions or abstractions. The doll may take many forms, including a figure, purse, box, vessel, puppet, marionette, or pop-up figure.

Beaded Art Dolls should be between 8” and 36” in size. The surface area of the doll must be at least 80% composed of beads.

The doll’s internal form and structure may result from many techniques, materials and strategies. The bead stitches themselves might be used to create the skeletal structure. Various forms of cloth dolls might be stitched or embellished with beads. The underlying structure might be made of polymer clay, wood, ceramic, porcelain, Styrofoam, wire, corn husk, basket weaving, yarns, cardboard, paper, cotton, or some combination of materials. It might be a found form or object.

The Artist is given wide leeway in techniques for how the doll is to be beaded, and may use one particular technique or several. Techniques, for example, may include bead weaving stitches, bead embellishment, bead appliqué, bead knitting, bead crochet, bead embroidery, lampworking. For the 80% of the surface area that must be beaded, these would NOT include the application of rhinestones, sequins, nailheads or studs. The beads may be of any size, shape, color and material.

The Artist may include a doll stand or display support with the Art Doll, though this is not a requirement. This stand or support may be an off-the-shelf piece, or created from scratch by the Artist. It may be a base, a created setting, a decorative box, or frame. The stand or display support need not be beaded.

The Artist may interpret and apply the theme any way she or he chooses. The Beaded Art Doll might be thought of as a plaything; or as a visual representation of a person, feeling, spirit or thing; or as a tool for teaching; or as a method for stimulating emotional development or healing.

As an object of art, the goal of the Doll should be to make a statement, evoking an emotional, cultural or social response, either by the Artist her/himself or by others.

The Doll must be an original work, and may be the work of one Artist or a Collaboration.

Dolls have been a part of human existence for many thousands of years. Whether part of a ritual or part of child’s play, dolls function as symbols for meaning. Sometimes these meanings are broad social and cultural references; other times, these meanings focus on an individual’s relationship with oneself.

ALL DOLLED UP: BEADED ART DOLL COMPETITION is more than a beauty pageant. It is a design competition. The Competition will take into account the Artist’s intentions and how well these are incorporated into the design.


ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition

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