Eugena Topina

Eugena Topina

Fly Away
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads'
Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring
Pearls, Organic Beads and Kato Polyclay™
Silver Medal Prize Winner
Category: Holiday

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Maryland, USA

Describe your artistic style.
The highest praise for me is when people see my jewelry and exclaim: ''How did you do that?!'' I like to play with my medium, to explore its possibilities, to come up with something innovative and unusual. On the other hand, I want my pieces to be elegant and ornamental rather than edgy or provocative.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my main material, polymer clay. It has so much potential, that the new ways of using it seem to be invented on a daily basis. Style-wise, I am inspired by the beautiful lines of Art Nouveau jewelry, architecture, and decorative objects.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
As I said, my main material is polymer clay. I love mixing it with wire, resin, gems, and pearls.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Fly Away

What inspired this design?
I have another big-butterfly necklace in my signature Faux Cloisonné style called ''Spread Your Wings'' and I was repeatedly asked for a tutorial explaining how I made it. Since I did not take any in-process pictures for that necklace, and I did not want to re-create it for the tutorial, I decided to make a new necklace in a similar style. I took enough pictures this time, and now I am working on a tutorial for this piece.

How did it come together?
Since the necklace was made for the purpose of teaching, I decided to include some ideas in it that are not covered in my other tutorials yet, such as combination of metal leaf, ink, and wire to create the patterns on the butterfly wings, and using wire hinges to make the whole piece more flexible and comfortable to wear. I created a detailed life-size sketch of the focal piece (as I always do), and made the brightly-colored side of the necklace first. While working on it, I figured that the necklace can actually be made reversible, and added the same pattern on the back side. Once the butterfly was ready, the rest of the necklace just happened on its own.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started to make jewelry when I was a college student, mostly to save money (I am a chemist by education). Later, it grew into a hobby, and then into a part-time career.

Who introduced you to beading?
I started myself.

Do you have an artistic background?
No artistic background. I always liked drawing and painting, but I have no formal artistic education.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
One of my beading friends recommended this site to me about ten years ago, and I have been a happy customer ever since.

What other hobbies do you have?
Most of my hobbies seem to be household-related: sewing, knitting, gardening, cooking. I also love swimming, walking in a park, and reading.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I enjoy making jewelry for myself and my family and friends, but when I tried to turn it into a part-time career, it did not feel right for some reason. I felt that I needed to respond to the market rather than express my own interests and preferences. So, I found a happy compromise: I still make jewelry mostly for myself and a limited group of devoted customers, but I write and sell step-by-step tutorials explaining my techniques and some of my projects which proved to be quite popular with a much wider audience than my jewelry is.

If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have two web sites:

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
In my classes, I always encourage my students to work as hard as they can on two things: learn from others AND experiment on their own. I believe, it is the recipe to success for any artist.

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