Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Seed Beads
Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Describe your artistic style.
I do my best to retain an elegant style through the neat combination of different techniques, elements of different cultures, and a touch of modern design and novel materials.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
There is a world of inspiration and creativity in every drop of water, blade of grass, the smallest cloud, and the most ordinary rock. In short, I am inspired by life.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
My true passion lies in combinations of material. I put together leather, glass beads, seed beads, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals, and findings to make each piece a unique and special part of my collection. It is the best, most indescribable feeling when I put together a seemingly bizarre combination of materials like shells, feathers, leaves, and other insignificant little objects and a gem arises out of them.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
The Solar Power
What inspired this design?
Why did I name it The Solar Power? The most powerful force there is in our galaxy is the Sun. It's rays nourish plants and nature. Underneath the Sun's gentle caress, true miracles of nature evolve. There is a funny story as to how this necklace came about: a mistake in leather shades. I ordered a piece of leather on Fire Mountain Gems that, according to the picture, looked a green-grey shade. However, when I got it in the mail, I was somewhat dismayed. In reality, its color was a bright salad green. At first, I was infuriated. I did not have the faintest idea how to use it. But the color was just so eye-pleasing that I had to rise to the challenge. Immediately, an idea evolved in my head.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
When my idea first began to evolve in my head, I grabbed my sketchpad and pencil and began to do a rough sketch. As the ideas kept swarming in my head, I worked on the paper to perfect and detail every line. I applied the sketch to the leather, beads, and stones. When all the separate pieces of my fantasy were finished, I started to assemble them, but I found that there was some little detail that didn't quite fit. I started playing with the fragments and worked out a few things. Yes! At last all the separate pieces connected like a puzzle.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began beading when I was seven; I made a peyote rope. I was proud beyond words… until it fell apart two days after I finished it. I found out later that I used the wrong kind of thread.
Who introduced you to beading?
I began to discover my love of beading when I saw an ancient herdan assembled by my great-grandmother Anastasia, who even though I have never met her, has inspired me beyond belief and influences what I do every day.
Do you have an artistic background?
For one year, I took classes on machine embroidery. This helps me greatly in all my hobbies and it has tremendous input in all of my designs.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
At first, I bought all my seed beads and supplies at hobby stores, and I truthfully felt like there was a large selection. However, when I finally bought all the beads I was interested in at hobby stores, I understood that the selection was too small for me. I happened to buy a copy of Bead and Button magazine, and in it I found a Fire Mountain advertisement.
What other hobbies do you have?
I have numerous different hobbies. These include: reading books, patch working, quilting, knitting, woodworking, embroidery and cooking.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I am a member of an international beading group. This is the Russian-speaking forum of beaders that live in various remote parts of the world, but all have one thing in common: a love for beading.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Currently, bead working is simply a dearly cherished hobby of mine, but I'm hoping and working hard to establish a bead working full-time career. I feel like there is not a single day that I can live through lately without beading.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I try to make jewelry for myself and for my dear friends, and occasionally I get a customer who wants to buy a necklace. I get published in various Ukrainian beading magazines. Several pieces are presented in a Santa Fe, New Mexico gallery and a bead store in Louisville, Kentucky.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I worked with a group of other Russian beaders to complete a huge project called Alice in Wonderland. The entire project was sold at the Bead and Button auction in June 2010. All profits will be donated to Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer research.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
The main thing is not to be scared to start, and always to try to express yourself in your work. Best of Luck!!
View all of Oleksandra's designs in the Gallery of Designs.