Birds of a Feather contest. See the feathers in this sneak peek? That's the requirement for this contest; every entry must have at least a few feathers in it.
My feathers came from our parakeet who has been graciously bestowing them on us all summer; it's his first molt, and I think he's enjoying it. I like to say that I've collected enough feathers to make a whole new bird; but, instead, I'm using them to make a contest entry.
Why do I enter contests?
It's a good question. I have lots of friends on both sides of this issue, and it's one that many people have very strong feelings about. For some, contests are a very negative experience; there are those who believe that they stifle creativity and are in direct opposition to what art is all about. Others say that competition stimulates creativity, and raises artists to the next level. Some hold that losing a competition is devastating; I've heard it described as a loss that is not unlike a death. Others say that artists must develop a thick skin, and competition is a good way to learn how to deal with rejection.
It's simpler than that for me; I like contests because they give me permission to make whatever I want to make; they give me a reason to get wild and crazy and make something that I will never, ever be able to write up as a pattern. Contests bring out the daredevil in me; while I'm working on a contest entry, I'm not thinking about using supplies that can be found all over the world, I'm not thinking about how to draw an illustration of what I've just done, and I'm not thinking about how I will explain it.
I'm just beading. I'm breaking all the rules I know, and inventing new ones. And then I break them, too. I make something fun; something that speaks just to me. It's not about winning; winning is an extra, and not the reason I enter contests at all. It's about flying. Flying without a net. Beading on the edge. Giving myself permission to not remember what I did; giving myself permission to play.
It's me time.