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Tatiana Van Iten





Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2014 featuring Seed Beads
Gold Medal Prize Winner
Meet the Designer-Artist


Where do you live?
Hanover, Indiana.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
In 2003 I heard about the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® Beading Contest, so I ordered some beads and made the necklace, which I named later in honor of Arbel Shemesh, who works for this company. My new life in the Beading World started with her phone call message informing me that I had won my first contest. A few years later my other necklace, Daughter of Genghis Khan, was the cover piece for the 2005-2006 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Best Sellers Catalog. Later my beadwork appeared in back-cover advertisements for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Harry Potter

The set consists of a necklace, bracelet and earrings.

I collected all the materials and the little things I needed for more than five years. Then I worked for an entire year on the set. So, finally, I finished my work this year.

Anyone who has read the Harry Potter books and watched the movies can easily recognize familiar characters and details.

For the upper part I soldered together two pieces of brass and then glued the embroidered pieces of felt onto them. Quidditch balls are flying on the wire above the necklace, giving the necklace a 3-D look.

Describe your artistic style.
In my work I combine various seed bead techniques (bead weaving, bead embroidery, bezeling cabochons), wire work, macramé and bead crocheting.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I use a wide variety of materials, including very small (up to size 24) seed beads, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, glass and wooden beads, leather, feathers, gemstones and fossil specimens (range from 10,000 to 400 million years old), and practically everything I can find. My friends from the Indiana Bead Society usually saying that I can incorporate in my necklaces everything plus the kitchen sink.

Share Your Background


Who introduced your to beading?
I was born and raised in Russia. I started beading a long time ago. I do not remember when exactly, but I know I was approximately six years old, because I already could read but I still did not go to school. My grandmother taught me how to make bead embroidery, and I helped her to repair small religious objects for the underground church in the former Soviet Union. The old seed beads were so small and delicate that I would have to make a stitch, unthread the needle, thread the bead onto the thread, and then rethread the needle to complete the stitch. Because my grandmother could not do this work herself -- her big fingers could not feel such tiny beads -- she just sat down next to me watching and reading to me stories from the Bible. My grandmother also taught me how to spin yarn and knit, and my mother taught me how to sew and embroider. I taught myself tatting and crocheting. For as long as I can remember I always tried to make something very special for myself and my sister. For my prom night I made a white dress with seed bead embroidery in just three days!

Do you have an artistic background?
I am a graduate of Leningrad State University with a Master of Arts degree in photojournalism.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
All my conscious life I have been a photographer. For many years I had been filling an album with interesting photographs, taken in various parts of the world during trips with my husband, Heyo Van Iten. Then I decided to strengthen the feelings that came to me as I looked at them, and I started making my beadworks based on the color combinations, textures and configuration of subjects in my photographs. I also tried to convey the fleeting impression that appeared at the moment I pressed the shutter button of my camera. A few years ago I published my first book with pictures, jewelry and stories - ''Book of Inspirations''.

What other hobbies do you have?
Photography, knitting, rock and fossil hunting and martial arts (I am an instructor with a second degree black belt in Kung Fu).

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Indiana Bead Society

Beading Success


Do you participate in any exhibits?
I have participated in many exhibits since earning recognition from the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®. Since that time my beadwork has been on runways and in shows all across the country and also in Paris (France), Hiroshima (Japan), Kiev (Ukraine) and Hamburg (Germany).

But, one exhibit I will remember forever: in 2010 I participated in the International Bead Project ''Alice in Wonderland'' with a group of 42 Russian-speaking beaders from 12 countries. The table-size beaded collage I assembled was presented at the BeadandButton Show and sold on the Silent Auction.

Today, some of my award-winning jewelry collections and photographs are also on the permanent display in the Science Museum at Hanover College.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
I always keep in mind the words of the famous Russian writer, V. Tokareva, about the three levels of creativity. At the first or lowest level, your work is very primitive, owing to insufficient imagination and poor execution. At the second level, your work is very complex because you can do a lot of things and you really want to show people what you can do. At the third or highest level, your work again is simple. But now, because your idea is pure and elegant, your execution of it is excellent. Hopefully, I will soon be working at the third level.

View all of Tatiana's designs in the Gallery of Designs.

Products sold by Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® are intended for experienced jewelry-makers and designer-artists;
children 14 years of age or younger should use these products with adult direction.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Inc. - One Fire Mountain Way, Grants Pass, OR USA 97526-2373
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