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My name is Maria Konoshenko; I was born and now live in the city of Novosibirsk, Russia. I am a biologist by education, and soon I plan to defend my Ph.D. thesis. Nevertheless, an important part of my life belongs to my creative work and crafting. At different times, I was involved in many crafts from cross-stitching to knitting, but I was more captured by making jewelry. When I work with beads the process of turning together disparate materials into the finished work with an idea and aesthetics fascinates me.
I've always been attracted to the development of new techniques to create jewelry: different types of weaving, knitting, embroidery, soutache and felt techniques, but I was more fascinated tatting with beads. This technique of weaving creates elegant, airy and delicate jewelry that simply could not leave me indifferent. I learned about it in 2010, and could not resist learning the basics of frivolite using the information found on the Internet. I wove my first item in this technique by a pattern from the book of E. Stepnaya, and... put my shuttles aside because I decided to learn other types of beading. However, the dream of gentle lace adornments didn't leave me completely, and at the end of last year I went back to frivolite with beads and immediately began to create my own jewelry designs. Now I'd like to continue to improve in this direction.
Last year I learned about the Fashion Colorworks contest and I was particularly interested in the main task to make jewelry or an object in the specified color combinations. Of course, I immediately decided to give it a try, but I also had doubt since I've never been involved in such a prestigious competition with such a high level of work. What was my joy when I found out that my L'Oiseau Bleu Necklace not only reached the final, but also finished second in its category! Participation in Fashion Colorworks gave me the creative impulse, and now my goal is not to lose it and to implement.
Maria Konoshenko answers the questions of Anria Opperman
1. When did you discover your love of working with beads? And what was the first beaded project that you ever made?
My first steps in beading I did when I was 14, those were the most unpretentious beaded bracelets, which are still intact and are stored to remind me about beginning of my bead career. The second step was weaving netted necklaces, and then - flowers and leaves using peyote stitch.
2. Which type of beads is your favorite to work with, and why?
I prefer to work with small beads and Toho 15/0 is my favorite. I also like Charlotte Czech beads with exquisite glow on the only facet, and the smallest Czech beads. I think that is the best material for fine work.
3. When creating a new piece, do you plan the entire design from start to finish, or do you start out with an idea and let your mood influence the design?
I always draw a sketch for a new project and usually a finished piece of jewelry repeats it almost completely. Though, if a new idea comes in the process of making, I follow it.
4. Where do you draw your inspiration from; what influences your choice of beads and use of color?
Lots of things inspires me: landscapes, architecture, wildlife, literary and movie characters, a variety of other jewelry, not necessarily beaded jewelry, and, of course, people for which jewelry are being done. Very often inspiration comes from material: gemstones, crystal elements, and beads. Sometimes materials themselves "dictate" what to do with them, but these are an idea and an image I want to create that primarily influence the choice of colors and materials.
5. Have you participated in other beading competitions? And how has it influenced you as an artist?
Before the Fashion Colorworks I took part only in small local contests and it was always a challenge. I try to create something really special and new for each competition, something never done before. I like contests with limitations by color, materials or with interesting theme. Participation in such contests is a way to improve skills, to reach new heights and to expand creative boundaries. And how victory inspires!
6. Which beading technique is your favorite? And are there any techniques that you would still like to learn/master?
Currently, my favorite technique is frivolite with beads. Very interesting is to try to micro-macrame.
7. Do you prefer to make a collection of items featuring the same theme, or do you prefer making single pieces?
I'm doing single items and sets; I've never been able to create a collection. I have a whole bunch of ideas on this subject and I hope to make at least one collection soon.
8. Do you make beaded jewelry for personal use, or do you sell your items?
First of all I make jewelry for fun, this is my outlet, my way into the world of beauty. I also sell my beadworks on the Internet and make commissioned jewelry. Just today one of my customers for which I specifically designed and made wedding jewelry, send me her photos, it was very nice. I always feel a joy seeing how jewelry made by my hands please its owners.
9. Is there a fellow beader, or perhaps a mentor, whose work has inspired or influenced your own beading?
Unfortunately, I do not have such a close friend; I'm just watching beadworks of other artists on the Internet. In addition, our Novosibirsk beadweavers regularly meet to share experiences and discuss hot issues. It is always a joyous and inspiring event.
10. What is the most useful beading tip/advice that you would give to someone who wants to start beading?
Try different and don't copy entire beadworks, look for exactly what brings you joy and pleasure. Also, if there is a flaw in the work, alter it even if it's visible only to you, and enjoy the work being done to "excellent."
|Maria Konoshenko, Novosibirsk, Russia|