I also enjoyed that paying attention to names this year, as I've had some online contact with some of these artists and recognize others from articles I've read. That's a neat feeling!
I have to confess I'd make a pitiful judge. I'm one of those people who can listen to a singer and say, "Yeah, she's got talent. I just don't like her."
And I'm similar with jewelry. I don't want to see everything you can do. I want to see something that moves me as an art, not a technique. More than that-- I want to see something I want to own, and since bead sculpture generally leaves me cold (I've seen exceptions), that translates into, "Show me something I want to wear already!"
So ignoring the actual (and very talented) winners of this competition, I'd just like to share my 5 favorite entries.
1) It's a crying shame, but materials almost always win out over the finished product. Robert Jennik's Barely a Bear's beads are just to die for! I want!
2) Kind of in that vein is Heidi Kummli's Wolf Tracks Cuff. I have weakness for cuffs, carvings textures, multimedia, furry things, etc. I'd love to read about this piece!
3) Linda Rettich' s Brain Coral Fantasy Collar calls to me almost as much as her recently published Coral Fan Piece. I sent her some fan mail. No I'm not kidding.
4) Kristi Zevenbergen's Double Strand Necklace is Killer. I could so pull that off!5) This was close, but I finally and happily settled on Heidi Kummli's Transformation.
Ok! so you've seen the best! See the rest here: Bead Dreams 2008
Or can stick around argue with me about the best entry-- or even come back and justify my choices! Suit yourself, but tell me what you loved.