Emerging Beader Program

 Image by Christina Wnek

**Call for entries will open on May 1st and close on August 15th, 2024. Accepted work will be on display as early as November 2024. **


The Emerging Beader Program Supports emerging beaders on their journey into the world of beadwork through exhibition opportunities that highlight their first works. For current or past exhibitors click here.

Our Mission:
The mission of the Emerging Beader Program is to inspire, encourage, and promote the creativity and curiosity in emerging artists of beadwork. 
We achieve this by providing a physical space for showcasing the works of bead artists who have been using this medium for less than 3 years, as well as creating an environment of encouragement to take the first steps into this millennia-old artistic form. Our goal is to inspire a new wave of beaders to continue and to grow the world of beaded art.

About the Exhibition 

Each year, a total of 12 Artists will be selected by a jury to exhibit a small collection of their beadwork. Artists will rotate after a 3 month duration. 

Who can apply?

Anyone of any age, using any technique with beads as a medium can apply. The only rule is that you must have less than 3 years of experience in this medium. You can be new to the art world all together, or a seasoned artist new to working with beads. 

Detailed step by step instructions for applicants here.

Current and past exhibitors can be seen here.



Artist/Artwork Criteria

  • Beaders of any age are welcome
  • Applicants must have less than 3 years of beading experience
  • Longtime artists who have recently incorporated beadwork into their existing art practice are also welcome. 
  • Bead artists will demonstrate their ability to design original works or skillfully interpret patterns through refined beadwork, attention to detail and use of color.
  • Any beading technique is acceptable.  
  • Entries must be a minimum of 70% beads (not including armature or support materials). 

Submission Materials

  • Photographs of 5-8 pieces for exhibition (should look cohesive)
  • Each piece should include 3 images: wide shot of the front, back of work, angle of your choice. Please no water marks for the sake of jury selection.
  • Photographs can be shot using a cell phone, but the piece needs to be on a black or white background and wall. Tips for photographing work can be found here.
  • Artists are required to provide an artist bio as well as a headshot.  
  • Application Form filled and signed. 
  • For any submission that may be from a pattern, please provide credit to the original designer. 

Judging Criteria

  • Overall visual presence
  • Originality/creativity OR skill in interpreting patterns
  • Attention to detail
  • Use of color
  • Use of beads
  • Judges decisions are final.


Meet the Jurors

Sharon Herrick, Program Coordinator for the Emerging Beader Program, has been engaged in visual art, craft and media for over 25 years. During that time, she learned a range of beadweaving techniques (on and off loom) —  finding herself deeply satisfied by the meditative process. She is inspired by art and architecture created in ancient Egypt. As an avid entrepreneur, she started selling her work to Museum shops and boutiques across the U.S. 

To see samples of her early beadwork visit the Caravan Beads Blog: https://www.caravanbeads.com/blog/Sharon-Herrick


Kristina Skillin, Director/Co-founder of the Museum of Beadwork, is an artist, archeologist, and historian who traces the human narrative to connect historical practices to the development of technologies and products throughout humanity’s history. As a professionally trained artist and scientist she engages diverse audiences through the creation of art and adornment, microscopy-based research, and by co-founding the Museum of Beadwork; one goal of which is to show the connection and interconnection of peoples through the common human practice of ornamentation and design. She holds two B.A.s in Metals and Jewelry, and Classical Languages, as well as a M.Sc. from the University of Aberdeen in Archaeology.

Courtney Levy, Head of Graphic Design at the Museum of Beadwork, is a lifelong artist and crafter. She holds a B.A. in Painting and Hispanic Studies from the University of Southern Maine. Over the past nine years she has built up a repertoire of bead weaving techniques while working and teaching classes at Caravan Beads. For five years she has worked as a professional graphic designer illustrating advanced tutorials, exploring brand identity and honing her design sense. Her background in painting, love of crafting, and experience in graphic design have expanded her creative vision and informed her unique perspective. 

PDF Application form 
PDF Photography tips

If you are selected, you will have further instructions including that all artwork to be included in the exhibit must be to us 1 month before your selected start date. All shipping, both to and from the Museum, will be at the expense of the Artist. 

*Fine Print, PLEASE READ!

The Museum of Beadwork retains 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 and designers.

Employees, Owners and Board members of The Museum of Beadwork are not eligible to participate in the program.