Fierce. When I say it, I immediately think of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Madonna (pictured) as women who embody the word. To me it means confidence, passion, untamed, with a splash of what will she do next…the perfect theme for a beading challenge.


What’s an Exhibition Challenge?

Well, I made it up. I wanted to create a safe space for creative expression with beads- no voting, no winners, no prizes. We will celebrate creativity and beading as an art form, and I am excited to promote these artists and their work!

I made kits available and participants had to use items from the kit in their beadwork and incorporate beadweaving techniques. Animal print daggers, chain, various size spikes, and firepolish beads were included.

fierce challenge bead kit

I am blown away by the inspirations and results!! I hope you enjoy the reveal as much as I did. Click each image for a closer view.

The Fierce Lariat by Care’ Sharpin

Growing up I always admired the movie heroines that bested their enemies using only their wit, ninja skills, and lipstick. These were the characters that could walk into a ballroom and turn everyone’s head, but still kick some serious butt in 5-inch heels.

With that in mind, I sat out to create something that my heroine would wear that could also be used as a weapon should the need arise. It had to be beautiful and elegant with many options for wear, while still being able to dish out some serious punishment. Bonus points if the weapon could also get through security.

The Fierce Lariat is my version of a “wearable whip” and can be worn as a necklace or a wrap bracelet. As a necklace, the fringe can we worn in front (shown); over the shoulder; or pushed to the back, (which gives the choker a stronger look while the fringe plunges down the back – perfect for that backless gown). As a wrap bracelet the braided part wraps around the wearer’s wrist twice and the fringe dangles down – perfect if our heroine also doubles as a rock star.

As a weapon, the braided section serves as a handle while the beads act as the whip. Our heroine could also use the lariat to put a serious choke-hold on the enemy; lash their hands; or even tie them securely to a fixed object.

The Fierce Lariat includes daggers, spikes, firepolish, bricks, chain, seed beads, delicas, and bicones. Techniques include tubular herringbone, herringbone, RAW, CRAW, PRAW, nepal, serpentine, chevron, and St. Petersburg.

The Tiger Lily by Connie Bradley

I wanted to make a necklace that was wearable, but still “fierce” in the spirit of the challenge. I decided to make a layered necklace in order to effectively display all of the types of spikes and daggers. The collar part of the necklace is the tiger, as it looks like a set of grinning teeth. The dangling part is the lily.

The collar is made with ladder stitch and a chevron chain strap. The lily is peyote stitch around a rivoli, with zig zag stitch for the flower as inspired by Kate McKinnon in Geometric Beadwork. The large spikes in the necklace were encircled with peyote and topped with a 2 hole brick to create a wonderful spacer.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Tracey Levandoski

I found the steel skull several months ago in the parking lot of our local K-Mart, so beyond that, I have no idea of the origin of the skull. I thought it looked cool and was something I could incorporate it into a bead embroidery piece at some point, so I picked it up. As I was going through my stash to see what I could do with your Fierce challenge kit, I ran across it again and had an ‘aha’ moment.

I used everything in the kit except the daggers; I thought they had too much blue in them to go along with the rest of the piece. I used the spikes to create beaded beads, including the toggle closure, using a component in a pattern from Helena Tang-Lim of Manek-Manek Beads. I embroidered the rose using a line drawing I found on the internet. Everything else was from my own imagination.

A Fierce Fascinator by Peggy Vargas

When you said “fierce”, I immediately thought “steampunk”! The heroines of the genre are definitely fierce! The picture that came to mind was a “fierce” fascinator for the intrepid warrior woman to wear. One must keep up fashion standards, even when saving the world from evil!

The main feature is a flower with a potion bottle as it’s center. The potion bottle can be removed and used as a bracelet, depending on what our heroine chooses. Hovering above is a butterfly with a spare knife as its body. One must always have a spare weapon at hand. A fascinator often has lovely feathers giving a feminine softness. But our lady isn’t soft. So I created “feathers” with the spike beads, and only added the smallest feathers to give a false sense of softness. It’s all finished off with luxurious tassels using the animal print daggers.

Matching earrings echo the tassels, but add some lock nuts – just in case a quick repair job is necessary. I chose to leave in several of the imperfections.

Fierce + Goth by Alex Dycus

Inspiration: Combining old Goth of the 80’s, with the new Visual Goth of the 2010s. Little bit of thorns & roses motive all in black.

Personal Strength by Deborah Baker

It is a two part necklace with pendants. I tried to weave around the concept of fierce, per your instructions. When I first received the beads from you, I thought about what being fierce as a woman meant to me, as a mother, as an artist, as a woman. So often in life we become warriors for our children, for our families, our communities, and ourselves. It was my intention to embrace that fierceness within myself, and exhibit them in the bead weaving you will see before you.

I chose a spiral rope with a pendant at the end as the longer piece of the two necklaces. The spiral rope is made of an embellished graduated twisted herringbone rope, starting with 11/O’s, working up to 8/O beads, and 8/0 hexes. The piece became a sampler for me, as you can see in the pendants, which are worked with peyote, netting, and branch fringe.

The smaller necklace is clearly the chain that was included from you, embellished only with fire polish beads, and then the pendant. This pendant is my favorite. As with the longer piece, the bezeled piece shows two faces: one of the Sun, one of the moon. I have always found the concept of balance fascinating. I am in a constant quest for balance. Light against dark, and at this point in my life, health against cancer. The pendant allowed me to express that search for balance in my life at a point where I need it the most. The upper pendant is my favorite, as I got to use the large and small spike beads, rulas, fire polish, and the wonderful vitrail drops!

All in all, this has been a wonderful journey for me in bead weaving! It has given me inspiration to continue on and create more pieces which will echo and exhibit my life as an artist, as well as allow me to find my fierce personal strength.