||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
I am living here in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Describe your artistic style.
I am still looking for my style. Here at Fire Mountain, when we have a new catalog, we are having a new style. The first one I worked on was cold connections. When we started, how I hated cold connections. Now? I am loving them. Then we started with the polymer clays. I had two left hands with polymer clays. Then Lisa Pavelka came and I learned. Now I love polymer clays. Same with the macramé. I learned it first in the schools. Now I have learned it again and it is different. Every day I am learning. So I still don’t know my style.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
All of my life, I am seeing things that are beautiful. I look at what others make and I want to make it, too. I see it on the Internet or in magazine pictures and I make it again and again and again until it is right. People may show something on a website and I see it. So now I want to make the same.
I also watch TV and see a woman wearing a bracelet. It looks very easy to make, so I make it. I love all jewelry. I had a lot of jewelry before I made jewelry. Some expensive, some plastic. But now I have two times more.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
So hard to tell. Sometimes plastic beads are beautiful--in crochet, this is true, they are perfect. Sometimes, I have an idea and I know here must be only pearls. I cannot tell you what I like most. I like all beads--except the ones with very tiny holes, maybe!
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
Swarovski® had a new shape to be working with. We needed a piece to be made and I said, ''Oh! I have an idea!'' and so I made it.
How did it come together?
Apoxie® Sculpt is the center and Swarovski beads on it. The Viking knit was with the black wire for the legs and the cones for the end of the legs. It was good for Halloween. I am proud of it.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
After I came to the United States, I had a little time, so I went to Goodwill. They had large bags of jewelry pieces. They came apart and I got them for the beads. I would take them all apart and use the beads to make things. I saw so many ideas on the Internet and I said, ''I must have time to do this!'' Now I have this job.
Who introduced you to beading?
No one. I have very many jewelry pieces. I always knew about beading.
Do you have an artistic background?
All of my life, I am seeing things that are beautiful. In Ukraine schools, we make things. We make clothes, crochet, cook and other things. So all of this time, I have been making clothes. I am like many other girls: I have no place for new clothes, but I am making them still.
I take classes every day. They are from Esther and Jude and Rose. They are so talented. And then Lisa Pavelka came and she gave me so many things to learn! I thought, ''I am a sponge!'' I wanted more and more. I learn every day. I am very lucky for that.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
My husband found it for a job. I did not know he was talking to the company about me. For a long time, I did not know. I came in for a test and they said, ''Perhaps you should be a jewelry designer'' and I am very lucky here.
What other hobbies do you have?
I like to make soap. I do not like just pieces, so I make hearts or flowers or put things inside. I also experiment with enamel on pieces. I break a number of them trying, but I am learning! I crochet. I turn on the TV and listen and make blankets and pillows. I cannot sit and do nothing. I cannot sit and wait.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I work here! But right now, with the children and the work, I do not have so much time.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I want to sell my jewelry. But right now, I make presents for family using polymer clay. I put my soaps inside. Someday I will make a page on the Internet and there is more and more I can sell.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Remember the first time will not be perfect. You must make it again and again and again and you will then have a perfect piece of jewelry. But no stopping.
And people who are not comfortable, who say they are always for learning more and more. No stopping the learning, either. Always more learning.
View all of Anna's designs in the Gallery of Designs.