I bet you’ve heard about Vikings before. But have you heard about a Viking beader? Anna Lindell is one of them. Armed with a beading and a knitting needle, with an adventureous spirit and the will to conquere the world.
And in addition, a big smile and a kind heart!
After admiring Anna’s work online in the Battle of the Beadsmith, I was eager to meet her in person during the Beaders Bestshow in Hamburg in 2014. Among others she brought with herself the piece I like the most from her works: “Digging for Gold!” – a tribute in the form of a handbag to those who work hard to bring up the hidden treasures of the earth to the surface. And we have to confess, none of us with the love for shiny stones can stay neutral and cool regarding this issue.
Anna has a talent for telling a whole story with one piece of jewelry: catching your attention with one detail and keeping you around a lot longer than you expected, while you explore the numerous different aspects of her art and the thousands of beeds she used. And believe me, it will be worth the time!
You will find here interviews with jewelry makers and fashion designers every second week.
Together with Anna I wish you a pleasent time reading!
Please tell us about yourself and your brand a bit!
I’m a Swedish bead artist living in Stockholm with my husband, two teen daughters, and a bunch of pets. Four years ago I quit my day-job and started working full time with my businessTigerguld. I started out selling jewellery, but nowadays the focus has shifted to teaching and tutorials.
I have always enjoyed different kinds of handicrafts. My mom and grand-moms were all knitting, crocheting and sewing, and we even had a big loom in our house to weave fabrics. I learned those skills from them, and I’m grateful that they gave me such a great foundation to stand on when I started beading.
How did your story as a designer begin? Do you remember the first piece you sold?
I found the beading world in 2007, when I couldn’t find a matching necklace to go with my wedding dress. One day my girls came home from school with happy-coloured necklaces made of plastic beads, and I thought there must exist beads for “grown-ups” as well. So I did an online search – and a new world opened up!
I don’t remember the first piece I sold, but I do remember the first necklace I made. I had bought a bunch of Swarovski crystals, some wire and findings. Sitting by the kitchen table, I started stringing the beads but I didn’t know how to bend the wire. So I used a fork! I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. Thankfully it didn’t take long until I found skilled beaders to teach me how to use proper tools.
Please tell us how does your average day look like! It’s so exciting to get to know more about the lifestyle of a designer!
I wish I could tell you that I have a neat working structure, but there is so many different things to do that it is almost impossible to keep a proper schedule. Working from home is nice, but having the workspace so close means that it is very easy to work too much. It’s not uncommon with 14-hour workdays so I have to restrain myself.
I usually start around 7 AM by checking e-mails and social media. I respond to issues needing my attention, then I update my To-Do-List and decide what to do first. I’ve tried digitalizing myself but always get back to a handwritten list, it works best for me.
As a designer I do most things myself. My workdays include photographing and editing, writing tutorials and drawing diagrams, financial book keeping, marketing, inventory check, ordering beads, and maintaining the website and facebook page. I pack beadkits for classes, teach in various locations, and go to a local beadshop once a week.
In the evenings I usually sit by the TV with different projects. I generally turn the computer off at around 8 PM, otherwise it is too easy to start chatting with someone who have just woken up and then I never get to bed. Talking about beads is too fun!
What makes your designs stand out of the crowd of other designers? Which are your favorite colors, shapes, materials etc?
I enjoy stitching something where you can see what I’ve tried to portray. My beadwork is often meticulous and detailed, I can spend 15 minutes to place one single bead in the exact right spot. I love incorporating my Viking Knitted chains into the beadwork, and sometimes I use other techniques too.
Besides the wire for the Viking Knit chains, my favourite materials are seed beads and multi-hole-beads. With seed beads you can make anything you want, and the multi-hole beads are great complements to get that extra nice touch. As for colours, I’m drawn to the red/orange/yellow colours. FireOpal is my favourite Swarovski colour, it contains all three!
For what kind of occasions can we wear your pieces? What’s the woman who wears your design like?
My beadwork is made to be worn everyday. They work as well with a top and jeans, as a dress or suit for special occasions. By Swedish standards, my designs are large and bold in colours, but looking at the beading world they are actually quite small. I mainly do beadwork for women, but the Viking Knit chains are also suitable for men.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you have some rituals to boost your creative energy?
Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. Often I set out trying to portray something specific, and it’s challenging to find a way to make it work.
If I find myself drained of energy, I simply take a walk in the nearby woods. In the forest I always find serenity, and I come back with new energy to bead. If I find myself stuck on designs, I work with colours as far away from my comfort zone as possible. That helps me see past my established stitches, oftentimes I find a fun new design.
Do you have a piece of jewelry you made, that is somehow special to you?
That’s a hard question! If I have to pick just one, it would be my tiger bracelet. I’m a Tiger protector with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) since several years back, and last year I got a small bracelet with some metal findings on a piece of cord. I combined the metal findings with a beautiful porceline cabochon from Laura Mears Designs in an embroidered piece, which is held together with Viking Knit chains. That bracelet has become my signature piece, I wear it as often as possible.
If you could design something for a well-known person or maybe a fictional character from a film or book, who would it be, and why?
It would be fun to design a pin for Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective (even though he hardly ever takes of his lovely lapel pin). He’s always immaculately dressed and takes his appearance very seriously. Should such a person want to wear my beadwork, I’d be very proud.
What kind of clothes and accessories do you wear? Who are your favorite designers and why?
Actually, I’m not that interested in fashion. I wear comfortable clothes at home, and concentrate on function when I’m outside. In my classes and at exhibitions I usually wears a top and jeans though, it’s a good way to show that my beadwork can be used everyday.
What is your goal in the future? Where would you like to see your brand?
It may not be a measurable goal, but my aim is to inspire beaders throughout the world to become the best that they can be. It is such an honor every time someone wants to take one of my classes or stitch something after my tutorials in order to learn a new technique or design.
I would like to travel to different countries to teach my designs, and also to learn from others. As a beader, you are never fully learned, there’s always something new to discover.
Where can we see and buy your designs?
My webpage is called Tigerguld (www.tigerguld.com), from which you will find links to my pages on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Besides that, my designs have been printed in various beading magazines. You also find some of my work through the Starman TrendSetters pattern program that I have been part of for a year.
Anna told me a secret, and she let me share it with you!
I can’t tell details yet, but I would really recommend to start to follow her Faceboook page Tigerguld.se, especially from the 29th of November. Looking froward to see you there 🙂
Thank you very much for answering my questions, Anna!