A Novel Tea Challenge


Our second annual Museum of Beadwork Challenge is now closed to submissions.
This challenge is once again being co-sponsored by Miyuki Co., Ltd. and Caravan Beads and we are very grateful for their support. In addition to prizes, 27 selected entries are on exhibition now.


The expansive range of styles and techniques represented made this an incredibly difficult contest to judge, but winners have been chosen! Our judges were acclaimed beader and artist Melissa Shippee, President of Miyuki Co. Ltd Kenji Katsuoka, and Museum of Beadwork Founder and Caravan Beads COO, Heather Kahn. They considered each entry at length and deliberated for quite some time before making their final choices:





The following artists will have their entries included in the A Novel Tea exhibition from June 2024 to June 2025. Images coming soon!



Carmella Patzlaff

Dedra Weiss

Francisca Fletcher

Janet Dreyer

Jo Ann Edwardsen

Julia Gombert

Karen Heusel

Kate Costello

Katsue Huang


Kimberly Zielinski

Mary Zimmerman

Nick Heller

Laura Embrey

Lauren Allansmith

Linda Grey

Lynne Sausele

Mary Yaeger

Melanie Mosher

Merrell Hickey

Michèle Grosse

Nancy Kleckner

Paul McAllister

Paulette Baron

Rachel Young

Sharmini Wirasekara

Sherry Serafini

Suzanne Van Baarsen



Challenge Details: 

The MOB Challenge will have 5 categories:

Sculpture - Free standing 3-dimensional pieces.
Tapestry - Hanging/wall pieces, or framed work, generally 2-dimensional.
Clothing - Embroidered or constructed garments.
Accessories - Purses, shoes, masks, etc.
Jewelry - Body adornment other than clothing or accessory items.


  • All entries must evoke the challenge theme for this year: A Novel Tea: A Spot Of Beads And Whimsy

This year’s theme is tea parties; from realistic representations to the delightfully unconventional, inspired by literature, film, fantasy, or any other tea party-infused ideas you can envision. The Museum of Beadwork's staff are avid readers and hobby historians, and honestly, who doesn't love a tea party? So come have a spot, brew up an idea, and pour out your imagination (with one lump or two)!


  • One entry per person. Entries must be made by a single person, no group entries allowed.
  • All entries must be of original design: winning designs from any other contests may not be submitted. 
  • Any beading technique or combination of techniques may be used.
  • All entries must be comprised primarily of Miyuki beads (70% or higher). This does not include things like armature, support, substrate, etc. Any Miyuki beads are acceptable, not just Delica beads. If you are unsure about the beads you have, contact your supplier for help.
  • This is an international competition, entries from all countries are encouraged.
  • There is no size limitation for this competition. Just remember that if your entry is chosen you will be expected to cover the shipping to and from Portland, Maine.
  • The initial judging is based on digital images. Each entry can submit up to 10 images. Do not mail your actual beadwork to us until instructed to do so. 
  • The selected entrants from the initial round will be required to send in or deliver their completed pieces in order to be considered for the final judging.
  • If your entry requires special display fixtures you are expected to send those as well, along with clear and simple instructions for display. If you have questions about special display needs, please contact us directly. (This does not include typical neck forms or mannequins. Feel free to inquire with questions before shipping).
  • Selected entries will be on exhibit for a 1 year show in the Museum of Beadwork gallery.
  • All applications, entrance fees, and photos must be received no later than midnight on March 15th, 2024.

  • Please check out our last MOB Challenge to see the finalists and winners here.

  • PDF Application here.

  • Application Fee here.


Grand prize - $500 cash prize plus $500 Caravan Beads Gift Certificate
Best of category (5 prizes, one in each category) - $300 Caravan Beads Gift Certificate
Judges Choice (1 from each judge from any category) - $150 Caravan Beads Gift Certificate
People’s choice (This award will be given after the opening of the Exhibition as it will be chosen by votes from attendees ) - $150 Caravan Beads Gift Certificate

Judges’ decisions are final. Entries will be judged on

  •  Overall visual presence
  •  Craftsmanship
  •  Difficulty
  •  Use of beads
  •  Originality/creativity
  •  Connection to the theme 
  • All entrants will be informed via email whether they have been selected for the final round of judging or not.
  • If you are selected for the final round you will also receive email notification with details on how to proceed.

Exhibit details:

  • Do not mail beadwork until instructed to do so.
  • Only entries that make it to the second round of judging will be exhibited.
  • Exhibition dates will be from June 1st, 2024 to May 31st 2025.
  • Artists will be responsible for all shipping to and from the Museum of Beadwork.
  • Voting for the People’s Choice category will take place from the opening of the exhibit until June 29th, 2024. Your piece must physically be on display to qualify.

Other details:

  • The Museum of Beadwork, Caravan Beads, Inc, and Miyuki co., Ltd. retain the right to photograph all entries and use those photographs as well as any photography entered into the competition in any lawful way including (but not limited to) publicity, marketing, publication, exhibitions, etc. in perpetuity with full credit to the artist.
  • Employees, Owners and Board members of The Museum of Beadwork, Caravan Beads, Inc. and Miyuki Co., Ltd. are not eligible to participate in the competition.

Special thanks to Melissa Shippee for allowing us to use her beaded "Tea Service" as our page header image.