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Bead artist Julia Turova

Julia Turova answers questions of Luba Dragun

1. I'm always happy to watch your beadwork; small details made with special care amaze me. How do you take the idea and what principles are your jewelry based on?

Luba, thank you for your kind words. Figuratively speaking, the ideas grow under my feet, chirp and buzz behind the window, and jump in the grass. They come from books illustrations. I've read a lot all my life imaging myself living in book world. Far from being romantic, I used to make strange things from car models to military motifs. Then, the demand began to form the offer, and my craftwork became less wild.

As to the attention to details, there are two sides. One part of the work is being made under the motto "I can do that and even better," beyond the bounds of common sense and with the risk to the health, and the other, minimalist one focuses on quality. And let it be an inexpensive thing, the quality and detailing should be seen. Otherwise, it is better not to bead.

A shape of a jewelry piece is the result of calculations. I rarely make beadworks symmetrical, and it is important to create them well balanced. Ability to sew helps me; I make patterns on my computer. And sometimes a needle leads me! I put together elements of such works on a mannequin for a perfect fit, sometimes my experiments make success. Still, the calculation is very important for quality!

Bead artwork by Julia Turova
click to see gallery

2. It seems to me, bead fashion takes a higher place in Russia in comparison with other countries. What do you think, why?

Maybe it's true if it's said about capitals. Sometimes beaded jewelry glimpses on TV, but there is no culture of wearing beaded work in provinces. Our women are the two extremes, one part avoids some jewelry at all, another one likes brightness and individuality, but mostly it involves mass production jewelry brought from sales in Milan or made from precious metals and not handmade jewelry.

Factory quality - that is advertised in jewelry stores. And what could oppose glass beads with competitive price? To my taste, only a very few types of modern beadworks are suitable for everyday use and single ones during holidays. The rest has to be showcased in the museum. The majority of people doesn't want to stand out and is not willing to pay a lot for handwork, so the demand is low. But people are happy to buy a small inexpensive utilitarian items and souvenirs allowing to get rid of headache when looking for gifts.

Probably, in other countries people are not so fond of the veneer, they prefer the convenience and can properly value handwork. I cannot judge, but maybe that is the reason I have a lot of foreign customers. Not expensive, easy to wear and not distracting jewelry, pleasant on the body, that's my formula for the modern fashion jewelry made of beads.

Bead artwork by Julia Turova
click to see gallery

3. What do you think, can the priorities change in the selection of jewelry from the gold and silver items in favor of the use of beaded jewelry?

Priorities haven't changed even once in the history of its existence in the direction of beaded jewelry. I would not have illusions. Their place in the jewelry boxes is controversial. "Grand Soir" clothes requires expensive jewelry, a strong dress code directly deletes beads from the list of permissible jewelry. Based on many years of experience, I can say that my main customer is a creative person, and exhibitions and museums are the right place for bead pieces where people admire complexity of beadwork, but don't see it as adornment. However, I'm optimistic, the number of the orders doesn't reduce.

4. Who are your favorite artists in bead design?

From local artists they are Olga Shumilova and Alla Maslennikova. Their work is the quintessence of all that I love beads for: the wealth of exquisite texture, colors and work with even mild humor in Alla's jewelry. I still learn the art of foreign artists; many new names appear in addition to world famous Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli. I like Tatiana Van Iten's designs, her living, moving, gently "hugging the neck" necklaces. I like Natalia Pedersen's jewelry minimalism and modernism. And I have a special, almost daughter's feelings to Zoya Gutina, who gave me self-confidence.

Bead artwork by Julia Turova
click to see gallery

5. How does your professional activities get on with your beadwork?

Too late is to ask me that! My hobby won a biologist and a programmer in me, bead design is my main job now. I work in front of visitors; in fact, it is a sort of an attraction for tourists. If you don't forget about the Internet you can make money for living with help of beadwork. The main thing is to find your customer, the price niche and the right place to sell your jewelry. I'm lucky since I have the first, second and third.

6. How do you react to the neglect of beaded handicrafts? Do you try to explain to the offender the benefits of custom jewelry or dissuade him?

As a rule, I leave it to the person entitled to his opinion. I do not want my work fell to the man scornfully relating to other people's work. But there have been cases of turning the jewelry store owners to bead lovers. Handmade jewelry is such a specific thing that either goes directly to the heart or leaves a person indifferent. And why to explain it is beautiful?

7. If it happened, how have you overcome crisis in creativity?

Bead artwork by Julia Turova
click to see gallery

Honestly, I do not remember exactly creative crises. I bead anywhere, anytime. But I treat personal crises only by beads. Hence, I have a number of "abnormal" labor-intensive works. When the head is occupied by thoughts of how to thread beads 22/0 the bad thoughts go away. When your hands are busy, the soul does not hurt!

8. How and when the beads appeared in your life? What has changed since that?

As far as I can remember, seed beads have always been in my life. Many self-respecting fashionistas had strands of Czech beads in the 70's, and the crumbs of them fell to my hands. I "invented" all sorts of trinkets, and gifted them all in a row. I returned to beads on a more serious level in the 90's, when the first customers began to appear from my mother's colleagues and friends. Despite low quality beads I could buy at that time my mother and customers worn my handmade jewelry. And when Czech beads came to the market the number or orders increased, and I have worked while studying in the postgraduate school. I didn't have much time but I wasn't short of ideas for inspiration!

Why cannot I quit this business? Beads for me replace a pain reliever that treats mental and bodily pain. Beadwork gives the ability to achieve results patient because any problem can be divided into small problems - like beads, and a result in a cute little thing. And most importantly, I got a favorite work, which brings the joy of creativity and peace of mind.

Bead artwork by Julia Turova
click to see gallery

9. Your beadworks win awards in competitions. Can you easily part with them or treat them sentimental and unable to part with them?

I cherish the originals forever. They work as "bait" for the potential customers, they just lie on the table at which I work, people can touch and try them on. But the replicas and variations are usually better than the originals and they find their owners. So I sold two sets "Premonition Of Spring Set" and a few replicas of Harlequin Beetle Necklace.

10. What influenced on your choice of the triad to create the winner?

I was wondering if I could make something interesting in all triads. Last year as well as this year I've created three works. The triad of my this year winning necklace didn't make me suffer for a long time, it is ready summer landscape, the usual landscape for Siberian eye, I pass these beauties going to the country every weekend. In general, my recipe for contest works is simple: find which object existing in nature reminds you a contest combination, and it becomes a source of inspiration!

My gallery on

About author:

Julia Turova, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

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