Monthly Challenges

January Monthly Challenge

Title: Spring
By: Frances MacDonald
Date: c. 1900-1905
Medium: Watercolor on linen

What is the Monthly Challenge?

Every month we challenge our readers to create jewelry inspired by the featured artwork. You have until the end of the month to share your work and then we pick two winners to receive beads and jewelry-making supplies from our sponsors. Our only rule? You must use at least one art bead in your piece!

About the Art & Artist:

Frances MacDonald (24 August 1873-12 December 1921) was a Scottish painter who contributed greatly to the “Glasgow Style” during the 1890s.

You are probably aware of the Art Nouveau period and the styles that it ushered in, but did you know that two of the most influential artists from that time were sisters, Margaret and Frances MacDonald?
They were part of a Scottish group known as “The Four” and included their Glasgow  School of Art classmates Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Herbert MacNair. We have these four talents to thank for the inimitable style of Art Nouveau (literally “new art”) with its fluid linear forms, inspired by natural plant life, drawing on nature, gender, symbolism, mythology and modernity. The flowing styles, elongated bodies and dreamy other-worldly look is fascinating.
The dreamy colors of the period were light and neutral, metallic and natural. The shapes are languid but there is also an element of more modern geometry, like squares and intersecting lines.
The female forms in the work of the sisters echoed the independence that they enjoyed. Most women artists of the time studied for pure pleasure, but the sisters actively sold theirs, setting up their own collaborative studio when they graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. They made posters and advertisements with their fabric designs selling well, and they even exhibited their artwork across Europe. They were also known for their elaborate metalwork. They worked closely together and co-signed much of their early work, so fluid was their process of including each other that they often forgot who did what. Then they married Charles and Herbert which changed the dynamic of their relationship.
In 1899 Frances married MacNair and they moved to Liverpool where he taught at the School of Architecture and Applied Design. Together they designed interiors and painted watercolors and Frances herself started teaching. She also produced a wide variety of other artwork including water color paintings and gesso panels. Frances and Herbert exhibited in Liverpool, London, Paris, Venice, Vienna and Dresden. In 1905, the School of Architecture and Applied Design closed, and with it the MacNair’s lost their family wealth, which started a slow decline of their careers. In the remaining years, Frances focused her work on symbolist watercolors addressing the choices that women faced, like marriage and motherhood.
Frances’ achievements are overshadowed by her sister and her brother-in-law, Mackintosh. This was due to the family leaving Glasgow and also because when she died in 1921 at the age of 48, her husband Herbert MacNair destroyed many of her works. Remaining art is held at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
The color of the year for 2018 is Ultraviolet and this painting is perfect for that! Grab your purple beads and start creating!

New Submission Policies!

Create Your Account:

Take a minute to create your account on the site right here. I recommend using your full name or business name as your username.

After you create your account, add your profile photo and bio.

(If you have a long-lost WordPress account you may need to reset your password.)

Entering the Monthly Challenge:

When you are ready to add your monthly entry go the submit page. You’ll need to login before you can submit your photo. You can submit photos from your computer or mobile device.

Remember to add your blog or shop link and art bead details to the description.

You can upload two photos for each monthly challenge category (jewelry or beads).

Add your photo to the gallery for the current month.

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How to Enter the Monthly Jewelry Challenge:

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge. Upload your photo to our new photo gallery. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog or shop, if you have one. Deadline is December 30th.
You may upload two entries per month.

***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***

Entries for Bead Artists
Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene’s monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. Two entries per month are allowed.

One entry will be picked by the editors each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be uploaded to the photo gallery by the 30th of the month. See above to create an account.

Monthly Challenge Winners

• Two prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted in our new gallery!
• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on January 1st.

Perfect Pairings: Designer + Art Bead Artist

• Perfect Pairings focus on both the jewelry designer and the art bead artist.
• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photos when you upload to the new gallery. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!
• From all the entries during the month, an editor will pick their favorite design to be featured on Friday here on the ABS, so get those entries in soon.

What is an Art Bead?

An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.

Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

Join us Tomorrow to see our prizes and sponsors for January! 

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4 Comment

  1. […] on Facebook, Etsy, and Website. Have fun with this month’s challenge, we can’t wait to see what your beautiful […]

  2. […] did I realise that I would be more violet jewelry for challenges later in the month. They are the January 2018 ABS Challenge and We’re all ears January 18 challenge. The Earring’s challenge theme was Ultraviolet […]

  3. […] January’s inspiration is an Art Nouveau piece, Spring, by Frances MacDonald. The first thing I noticed was that it featured Ultraviolet, the Pantone color of 2018. Then, the graceful forms of the women, the symmetry — these caught my eye. […]

  4. […] over $50 of beads and components. Visit Jennifer on Facebook, and Website. Have fun with this month’s challenge, we can’t wait to see what your beautiful […]

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