Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recent NMBS Challenge of the Century

This must be the week I forget to pull the blogposts outta the queue. (Did I just spell queue right???) I totally forgot to write about this hilarious and amazing challenge put on by the New Mexico Bead Society at their recent meeting.

But let's start from the beginning...I received an email asking if I could be there for a most secret challenge. Shhhh! I was not to tell anyone. So I replied, "Ok. I won't even tell my husband."

To which Geri V. replied, "Good. You seem to have a sense of humor. Do you watch Iron Chef?"

And I'm like, HhhhhunH? (you have to say that like Scooby Doo, it's my favorite thing to do since watching that Kathy Griffin marathon over the weekend...). I didn't recall there being a lot of humor in Iron Chef, but then again I've never watched it all the way through.

So I keep my sworn secret (except I did tell the fam where I was off to), arrived at the meeting, and sort of lurked in the hallway until the business session was over. Then it finally clicked -- they were planning some kind of Iron Chef Beading Contest! I thought to myself, oh no, this could be bad. Are they going to chop things up? And how do you bead fast, anyway?

But Geri and her posse had it all figured out. They sorted the guild members into teams of three. Each team had a captain, sorta. Geri had even taped the opening music from the show and played it while they read from cue cards to announce the challenge and give serious bios of us judges. At the appropriate moment, her trusty assistant threw off a blanket that covered a bunch of embellish-able thrift store finds -- like fuzzy blue slippers, various hats, clothing, baskets, and so on. The captains rushed forward (we jumped behind the table for safety!) and grabbed an item.

They had been told in advance to bring all their gear, plus there was a big box of thrift store beads. I mean -- a HUGE box -- to select things from.

The teams had one hour to bead-embellish the item. And I am telling you, there was some serious talent in the room. And some serious teamwork. We judges mosied around, watching them work and conferring on their strategies and strengths, as well as their teamwork. Right away we decided we didn't want to be the ones to announce the one winning team -- leaving the rest as losers, despising us forever. ;-)

I had brought some little packets of cabochons, thinking I'd dole them out to all the participants who stayed for the challenge, but I didn't realize how much the NMBS has grown, so I hadn't brought enough. Instead, I ponied up enough cabs for a 3rd place winning team. Another judge offered gift certificates to the bead store she manages. The NMBS had already provided a first place prize, so we felt much better being able to give out 9 prizes instead of 3.

It was so hilarious when the timer went off and each team had to come up and, we thought, put their bead embellished item on the table so we could judge them. Instead, they sashayed on up and made us all laugh with their presentations explaining their items. There was a blue jean skirt decorated with brightly colored vintage plastic boho, a beautifully wire wrapped candleholder one team turned into a "beadpourri," an amazing feathered hat, a beaded lamp with shade, a vest, a purse that looked like it came with the beautiful embellishments they put on it, and more items I can't even remember (sorry, bead teams).

I sorta knew the other teams were in trouble when I saw what would become the winning team working stealthily on fabric flowers, beaded motifs, and assorted mixed media items to decorate a lovely summer hat. Oh and as it turned out, one of the winning teams (the lampshade group) consisted of three first-timers to the NMBS meetings -- what a neat welcome eh?

I thought it was a really cool idea for a challenge I wanted to share it with other bead society members out there. It was positively amazing what a team of three could come up with in just one hour!

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