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Bead artist Miriam Shimon
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1. Last year you won BEST USE OF COLOR award. What did you dream about this year?

To be honest, I just hoped to be among the finalists but wasn't expecting to win anything. It was a huge honor for me to win the Color Prize last year and first place this year. I feel incredibly honored and thankful; it was certainly beyond anything I had dreamed about!

2. What do you think of 2013 contest beadworks level?

I think that this competition, as well as other competitions this year, has shown an increased sense of adventure and exploration of boundaries within conventional bead work. The ideas and techniques are constantly evolving and I think that is what is so inspiring about participating in these competitions, pushing us to the limit and beyond, reinventing as we go along. I can't wait to see what everyone will come up with next year!

Bead artwork by Miriam Shimon
click to see gallery

3. What would you say about the contest procedures?

Very interesting and fair. The fact that the names are not revealed until after the voting is done is very refreshing. It gives a lot of freedom to both the artist and to the voting public, and personally it's an aspect I find very fascinating.

4. Which bead contests do you consider to enter next year?

It really depends on how much time I have to throw myself into these very time consuming projects. The contests on my radar would probably be Bead Dreams, the Fashion Color competition and the British Bead Awards since I'm quite fond of those but it really all depends on time and inspiration, usually it's a decision I make last minute since I work best under pressure!

Bead artwork by Miriam Shimon
click to see gallery

5. You're a well-known artist for your seed bead works, now you design soutache jewelry. Is there any reason for that switch?

I don't regard this as having made a switch. I started in beadwork and it is still my big passion. Soutache is a recent addition and something I'm absolutely in love with but it doesn't come in exchange of bead work, rather as an addition. I like to switch things up and try out new things; soutache has been a good way of expressing my artistic point of view. You may say that I'm in my "soutache phase" at the moment... but I expect that will evolve too and I will find a new way of expressing myself in the future.

6. Who inspired you to make soutache embroidery and why?

I first came across soutache embroidery on some Russian websites a few years ago and I really loved the idea of combining textiles with beads. At the time it was quite a rare art form and not a lot of material was available, there weren't many tutorials around or books to learn from, so it pretty much ended up being me with some beginner tutorials and a bunch of soutache threads making a bit mess before I figured out how it worked best for me. I worked on soutache on and off for about 2 years before I decided to sit down and master it in earnest. Today there are many aspiring soutache artists and a lot of wonderful jewelry out there. The more, the merrier!

Bead artwork by Miriam Shimon
click to see gallery

7. Are you going to return to seed bead jewelry making?

I never left!!! I still do lots of seed bead jewelry but mostly for private orders and for my own enjoyment. Seed bead jewelry will always be my first love and I still get excited about new ideas and patterns. I think the only difference is that I don't publish my seed bead jewelry as much as in the past...

8. Don't you think about combining seed beads and soutache elements in one piece?

From the beginning almost all of my soutache pieces have been combined with seed bead elements or have seed bead straps. I have only made a few pieces that contained only soutache without beaded elements. I have always liked the idea of combining these two art forms in a way that would complement each other and create a harmonious whole.

Bead artwork by Miriam Shimon
click to see gallery

9. The bead manufacturers produce lots of new type of beads now. What do you think about beadwork trends?

I love the variety that is now available out there. The recent years have seen an abundance of color choices and shapes and with that, more interesting bead work and options. I'm especially partial to the pyramid beads and the Duos... recently also the Rulla beads. And the Spindles!!! I love them all!

10. What would you advise and wish to the artists who didn't win in the Fashion Colorworks this time?

Never forget to enjoy the journey. It's not about winning or losing. It's a personal challenge when you enter competitions, something that allows you to grow and evolve as an artist, and something that pushes you to expand on your knowledge and makes you richer for the experience. Look back on everything you have accomplished and be proud of that. Always have FUN!!!

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About author:

Miriam Shimon, Moshav Benei Darom, Israel
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