40 Bead Challenge

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

IMG_1169Heather Trimlett has a 40 Bead Challenge. The challenge is to make 40 different round beads using only a mandrel and two rods of glass in contrasting colors. No tools allowed – only heat and gravity. It has become quite popular in the last couple of years and if you search “Heather Trimlett 40 bead challenge” in Google images you get plenty of examples of the challenge.

I have started the challenge 3 or 4 times in the past, but never got past 15 beads. So it is with much excitement that I report that I recently finished the challenge. My beads are shown here.

I did the challenge as a way to get acquainted with my new studio in Sarasota, Florida, and to try to recover my skills after a break of several years. I used to be quite good at dots – very precise. I also was able to make many beads the same size. Both skills have waned a bit as you can tell. But I am happy with the results of the challenge. I could tell I was getting better at making different size dots for example. I also got better at dot placement although I still have a ways to go with that.

I was surprised at how I was able to come up with 40 different designs. I kept having ideas of different ways to use the two colors. I think I came up with some good designs and I’m eager to practice them more and perfect them. My friend Lenny said he thought I could do another 40 without too much trouble. I’m not sure, but I think I might be able to. I’m not going to though.

Some of the beads were a total wash – beads so bad I would immediately throw them in the junk bin if I weren’t doing them for a challenge. Bead 17 for example was just horrible. I ended up with big irregular blobs on the bead. I didn’t even try to rescue it. Bead 30 cracked on me and healing it made a mess of the design. But I learned from each of the beads.

I’m considering doing a 40 bead challenge every year. It was something that I truly enjoyed. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I completed the challenge. And it was a great creative exercise. Maybe I could do another 40. There are a lot of small changes I could have made to each bead. And also inverses – I could have done some inverses. But now I move on to other things. My next big project is a Kickstarter project. More about that later.

3 responses to “40 Bead Challenge”

  1. Lenny says:

    Good job on the challenge! It shows some real creativity and growing skills!

  2. Phyllis Correia says:

    Wonderful finish, Robin…and beautiful beads.

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