It’s not exactly the beginning of the year, when bloggers, artists and everyone online write reviews of the past and thoughts about the coming time. I was offline and took a step from the world of social media and blogging for a while, and truth to be told, the 1st of January wasn’t exactly the time for me to put my feelings and speculations about life and business out for the whole big world to see. I needed more time to even grab the things a bit tighter, so I myself can take a better look at it. (And looking at the happenings from January ’til now it seems it was a good decision. Two and a half months ago I would
have to make a completely different plan for the future then now.)
So here is my BIG SPRINGTIME INVENTORY: summarising what I’ve done during the past year and what do I hope to / plan to / have to achieve in the rest of 2017.
Last year I not only beaded, but also learned a lot about taking pictures, working in professional graphic design programs and about publishing with WordPress. Thanks to all of this in August I launched this new website. It seems that all the hard work was worth it, as compared to 2015 you were a lot more interested in the blog and in the tutorials, too.
Currently the blog features 55 published articles, and you can choose between 42 different beading tutorials (12 beaded beads, 10 bracelets and necklaces / pendants, 7 earrings and 4 brooches and rings.
Your favourite page was the sign up page for the VIP Jewellery Club (currently with seven free beading tutorials, the Melony beaded bead being the most popular according to number of visits) and the first parts of the series ‘How to take better pictures about jewellery’ (about affordable equipment and about preparation before shooting).
Back to teaching
Since I love spending time with fellow beaders, after a year working solely online I was desperate to get back to real life meetings. I’m still a 100% sure it was a good decision to sell my own bead shop and move to Amsterdam, however, I desperately miss my colleagues and students from Slovakia. In 2016 I started teaching regularly at Monique Kooij’s bead paradise, the Limited Edition in Den Haag, The Netherlands. I can proudly say it’s an ongoing success, and there are three more classes scheduled for the coming months. I love our little group of beaders who get together to challenge ourselves with new stitches and colour combinations, and am looking forward for the next classes very much!
Besides teaching in traditional bead shops I had the opportunity to participate in a very interesting project called Ondertussen (In Between). One of Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods called Spaarndammerbuurt is going through a change. Because of the massive number of people fleeing the Syrian war and searching for a better life in The Netherlands a new refugee centre will open its doors here. It’s a big step for the community, and it’s very important to prepare for this. And what could be better then a meeting place, where locals and newcomers (living currently at a different location) could meet and create together? In the autumn we got together to explore the unique architecture of Spaarndammerbuurt, to talk about memories, friendships, family and life in general, and we designed a little piece of Spaarndammerbuurt made from beads, thread and textile.
Battle of the Beadsmith
2016 was the fourth year I entered and a third when I managed to finish a piece for this competition. The necklace Safekeeper was inspired by the move from Prague to Amsterdam and the difficulty deciding, what is really important and what isn’t. Should I keep what costed a lot of money or things which I found randomly through life, but which help me to remember people, places and lessons learned?
Designing for wholesalers and manufacturers
Roughly a year and a half ago I started to design jewellery and beading instructions for Beadsmith. Thanks to their sponsorship I got to play with many new bead shapes. Here are some of my favourites:
True2 are fire polished beads, which are exactly 2 mm big. There were beads labelled as 2 mm on the market before, however, in reality they were slightly bigger. True2s are truly tiny: you can use them instead of bigger seed beads in your jewellery, and thanks to their facets they make your beadwork shine and stand out. I quickly got fond of them, and used them in many designs, my favourite being the Pomegranate bracelet. It was inspired by the Pomegranate fruit, of course. I wanted to show not only the red, juicy seeds of it, but the thorns of the tree, too, so besides the red faceted cabochons bezelled with True2 and Miyuki seed beads, I also added some pyramid spikes, using them for the first time ever.
They are a great new addition to the family of 2-hole beads, my favourite from everything new from the past year or two. Honeycomb beads are 6 mm big and have two parallel holes. The hexagonal shape is inspired by nature. They fit together perfectly, and can be used not only to stitch up some quick bracelets with honeycomb pattern or to form beaded flowers, but also as a foundation of a cabochon bezel. They are an integral part of my Cumaira pendant and the Lúle motif, which can be used as a brooch or a pendant (and was published in Bead and Jewellery Magazine issue 75, dedicated to fairytales).
Since honeycomb beads became really popular, Beadsmith came up with a new, faceted version of it, the Honeycomb Treasure bead. It’s of the same shape and size, but the top of the bead is textured, giving it the feel of faceted precious stones. I used them in my Diwali bracelet, which brings back memories from the time I spent in India several years ago.
Not every one of the new shapes is speaking to me instantly. Some of them even stay silent, others only need more playtime. Trinity beads weren’t love at first sight. While my fellow Beadsmith Inspiration Squad members were posting one great design idea after another, I just couldn’t find a way to use these 3-holed novelties at all. Until it finally snapped. The Tessera pendant incorporates both the 6 and the 8 mm version of the Trinities. The angle of the beads can perfectly hold a cabochon in the middle. The other hole enable fitting in smaller beads in between the Trinities to hold the stone securely in place, and the third hole is perfect to build up decoration all around. One of my newer designs using Trinity beads will be soon published, and I’m a 100% sure that more Trinity-jewels are coming in the near future.
POTOMAC BEAD COMPANY
A couple of months ago I got a package from Nathan Buchman and the Potomac Bead Company. Among else it contained Potomac Crystal rivoli cabochons, round trio beads, cup buttons and AVA beads. First I started to work with the AVAs. Even if initially they seemed a bit too big, it was a pleasure to use them in my beadwork! They can be arranged in many different ways, and I can’t wait to use them in more designs.
A couple of months ago my good friend and fellow beader from Slovakia, Lenka Gondova started to manufacture her own line of art cabochons. I was lucky enough to work with them between the first beader. So far I made two designs, Sashiko (on the picture) and the Asia pendant. I can say, that the cabochons are of very high quality. There are many different designs and shapes available, and the colours are simply georgeous!!!
Thanks to the courtesy of Lenka the Asia tutorial comes with a special gift: a 20% coupon code for all of the beautiful L2Studio cabochons.
Last year I started to work with Katie Dean and the Bead and Jewellery Magazine. My work was featured in four issues: Pomegranate beaded bead (inspired by nature), Cassandre earrings (Art Deco), Nebula bracelet (winter) and Lúle (inspired by fairytales). There was also an interview with me about my beginnings in beading, and Safekeeper was featured in the article about the Battle of the Beadsmith.
Plans for 2017
In 2017 I would like to continue designing jewellery and writing articles. It’s not time to give up following my dream yet! I plan to publish at least one blog post and one new beading tutorial every week. I know it’s a tight schedule, but at least the decision forces me to improve my time management.
I would like to teach a lot more in the coming year: abroad and in The Netherlands, too. Besides the regular workshops in Den Haag it seems we can meet in Germany, Hamburg in August for something very special (details later).
Dear beader, if you like my work, please give me a helping hand!
Please send an email or talk to your local bead shop owner about the possibility of me teaching a workshop in your beading group. Thank you very much!
Three of my new projects will be published in Bead and Jewellery Magazine, and in the meanwhile I plan to reach out to some other magazines.
Keep fingers crossed for me, dear friend! 2017 will be challenging: even if it’s only a small part of this post, in reality I face the longest to do list I’ve ever had.
I am looking forward to meet you again here. Thanks for your support.