There are many competitions and challenges out there that you can get involved in whether you are a beginner jewellery maker or advanced but are they a good idea? LJS tutor Anna Campbell argues why you should give them a try
To work to a theme
Competitions often have a theme or some restrictions, for example in the materials you can use. This can be beneficial because this helps you focus on your current skills or stretches you to consider new techniques or designs.
To challenge yourself
Jewellery competitions are a chance to challenge yourself and work on something you perhaps would not have attempted otherwise.
To get exposure
When you enter competitions the entries are usually shown on a website or facebook page (sometimes even on TV) allowing you to get exposure to what is often a large group of people. You also often get encouraging feedback and comments. If you work alone at home you may not usually get this amount of scrutiny and feedback for your work and this opportunity can be a good thing. You may also receive sales enquiries through these channels.
In 2015 one of our diploma students, Sally Costen, won the High Street by Design competition run by jewellers F Hinds. Sally’s designs were manufactured and sold by the jeweller and this helped to launch her business Clerkenwell Jewellery.
To work to a deadline
Competitions have a deadline. If you work from home you may find it difficult to self-impose deadlines so this can be a great ideas! You can’t work on it indefinitely – at some point you have to say it’s done and enter it!
For the prizes!
Often these competitions have some great prizes! You’ve got to be in it to win it!
How do I find competitions?
So, I have you convinced but how do you find these competitions? Here are a few places to have a look.
Jewellery making themed facebook groups and pages often have competitions for example Metal Clay Europe currently have a challenge called ‘movement and mechanical’ with the first prize being 300g of Art Clay Silver 950.
To find a relevant facebook group login to fb and type the type of jewellery making you’re interested in the search box (or just type ‘jewellery making’)
Click on ‘group’ at the top of the screen and have a look at the names of the groups available. If you are interested you can click join to join the group and see whether there are any competitions currently running.
Magazines and online resources
Magazines like Making Jewellery often have competitions or ask readers to send in images of their work and choose work to feature. Being able to say ‘as seen in… ‘ is great for your publicity as an artist.
Benchpeg have a competitions section which is worth checking periodically for updates.
There are also TV craft channels e.g. Create and Craft that run competitions giving you great TV exposure.
There are a few collaboration projects where one jeweller starts a piece and then passes it to another to work on etc for example LJS tutor Penny Akester is currently running the Pass it Along Project.
Are there any competitions that are currently running you can recommend to us? Let us know in the comments below