Last Sunday I celebrated my birthday,
and I think it’s a good occasion to tell you more about myself.
After 14 other jewelry designers I am the one who is answering.
You will find here interviews with jewelry makers and fashion designers every second week.
Together with them I wish you a pleasent time reading!
Please tell us about yourself and your brand a bit!
My name is Erika Sandor and I am 31 years old. I was born in Slovakia with a Hungarian cultural background, and lived in Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic during my twenties. After owning a bead shop for six years I set up my jewelry making studio in Amsterdam. I fell in love with the city, the canals, my turquoise bicycle and the 3-sheet ships which occasionally pass through the harbor.
Some time ago I wanted to be a writer and I studied linguistics, literature and aesthetics. In the meanwhile I wrote some short stories, several of them where printed and some of them I consider good enough even now, 12-13 years later. I like to travel, like to feel the wind in my hair and like to smile. I treasure every sunny-happy moment in my life, my husband, my family and my friends. I would like to experience and get to know as much of the world as possible, because I believe it’s beautiful.
All this led me to jewelry making and to writing and drawing beadwork tutorials. It’s something I truly enjoy, and would like to do for many more years.
How did your story as a designer begin? Do you remember the first piece you sold?
I was finishing my studies at the university when I first met “serious” beading. Before that I knew only low-quality seed beads not suitable to make bigger, more advanced pieces. I even wanted to give it up, since the result was always very far from what I imagined. Luckily all-knowing Google helped me to find Japanese seed beads, Swarovski crystals and many more essential components. I traveled every now and than to Budapest to buy new material, since there were no bead shops closer to me that time. I’ve met Zsuzsana Szilagyi, and we opened the first (and best :D) bead shop of Slovakia. After two years I continued alone, and run my colorful bead world for four more years. Thanks to it I’ve met a lot of creative, kind people, and some of them are among my best friends now.
In the beginning I was selling jewelry to my colleagues in the library I used to work as a student, and in a designer shop in Bratislava. It was fun, rewarding and I’ve learned a lot. Unfortunately I don’t remember the first piece I sold.
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 work full-time as a jewelry-maker. Even if my days are quiet busy, we begin every day with a breakfast together with my husband: vegetable, fruit, cheese, bread from the local market. We like to talk about our plans for the day. Than after he departs for work I begin by beading for an hour. I think it’s important to create before I tend to mails, messages and else. I try to learn something new every day: how to take better pictures, a new feature in Illustrator, something useful for marketing, my website etc.
This year I made some New Year’s resolutions, so from January exercises are also the part of my regime. In the evening I like to take a walk, read or watch a good film.
What makes your designs stand out of the crowd of other designers? Which are your favorite colors, shapes, materials etc?
I like to make jewelry which has a story to tell. There is for example the luxurious necklace Borneo inspired by the tropical island, the Dance of the Peacock Collection commemorating the mysterious world of the maharajahs and maharanis, and the pendant Looks like happy… (but what about the emptiness inside…), through which I would like to point out how important it is to pay attention to the ones around us (or ourselves), who are only seemingly happy and whole, but the truth is they are living with a black dog sitting on their chest.
My favorite color is turquoise. I like to combine it with avocado green, light bronze, dark silver (both metallic and mat), and also with purple, fuchsia and orange. Just for fun, I am actually trying to find a color which doesn’t go with it, but I didn’t succeed so far 😀
I like two-hole and petal shaped beads very much, such as Superduos, daggers, Half Tilas. My new favorites are the Honeycombs by Beadsmith. Material-wise I like to use semi-precious cabochons and lately different found objects (coins, ordinary stones etc.) for my one-of-a-kind bead embroidered jewelry, and Swarovski Elements, fire polished beads and also pressed glass for the pieces intended to be used for tutorials.
Among many others I like to make flower-shaped pendants and brooches, and long, accentuated earrings. Before the Battle of the Beadsmith ’14 I couldn’t imagine myself to do anything asymmetrical, but that’s when the necklace Borneo was made and at the same time the first one of the Looks like happy… pieces.
What’s the woman who wears your design like?
My jewelry is for women who are not afraid to talk about their thought and world view. Who cherish life, are optimistic and have a respect for themselves and those around them, too. If there is feminist jewelry, than I hope mine is. Every piece has a different story, but all of them have the same message: enjoy being yourself! I believe that jewelry will not make you special – you already are! It just helps you to show the world who you are and make a statement. Because yes, it matters.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you have some rituals to boost your creative energy?
My inspiration comes from life itself. A lesson I’ve learned, a book I’ve read, a thought on what I would like to direct attention. I find it interesting that while a lot of artists get inspired by nature itself, it doesn’t have the same effect on me. Every piece of inspiration has to be connected to life and people, a beautiful flower simply isn’t enough.
I am very honest and open when I create, and I strongly hope that sooner or later all the necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches and rings will find somebody, who can relate to them. Maybe the new owner will have a different feeling than I had when thinking about the design, but the important thing is that the jewelry should not remain closed in boxes and bags, but become part of the life of somebody else – so the story I started to “write” can continue.
Do you have a piece of jewelry you made, that is somehow special to you?
Originally I wrote “Yes, indeed”, but when I actually started to write about the one which came into my mind first, it just doesn’t seem fair towards the other ones 😀 But if I really have to choose (And it’s me who came up with the questions, so I should obey, don’t I?) than I would like to write about the vest Serendib. It’s the only piece of clothing I made so far, and not only my first really big bead embroidered work, but still it is the biggest one. It was inspired by a visit to Sri Lanka. Hence the name – in the ancient times Arabic traders called this beautiful little island Serendib. I used more than 200 cabochons, which were bezelled and attached one-by-one, together with several meters of cupchain and hundreds of fire-polished beads. The main motif was inspired by moonstones – a “doormat” in front of the Buddhist temples, carved carefully from stone, with details arranged in concentric circles.
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?
Daenerys Targaryen! She’s fierce, bold, but also caring and beautiful. If I have to choose a real life person, than it would be one of the great travelers: Isabelle Ebehardt or Rosita Forbes. And if she even has to be still alive (so there’s a chance she could wear the jewel), than it would be Angelina Jolie or Emma Watson. I admire all of this ladies for their courage, character and independence.
What kind of clothes and accessories do you wear? Who are your favorite designers and why?
I like elegant yet comfortable clothes which have an interesting detail, a twist what catches the eye. Regarding colors, lately I wear a lot of black combined with white and blue. I grew very fond of my fake leather pants, especially with a white blouse or a striped T-shirt. My absolutely favorite brand is Yaxi Taxi. As the young designer, Zuzana Labudová writes about her style: “break up the expected complete whole, a bit alternative and punk, folk music and sport together. (…) Charm the visibility, comfort and elegance with fine results, extravagance, humor and mild outrage, in any sense of the word.”
What is your goal in the future? Where would you like to see your brand?
I would like to develop a successful and enjoyable business, divide my attention between designing bigger pieces of jewelry and writing tutorials. I would like to join a co-working space where I could be among other creatives, as I think it’s very important to share our daily thoughts, problems and successes with each other. Also, I would like to return to real life teaching, as I miss contact with my students very much.