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Bead artist Elena Gladneva
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1. How did you start beading?

It so happened that as a child I didn't pay attention at the beads (even though I've seen beaded trinkets on people around me) as good material for creativity. It may be that dull and peeling beads didn't impress me, or maybe just I haven't had a chance to see a truly beautiful items. Finally, I came to beading after the birth of my son, less than three years ago, while I've been on leave to care for my child.

2. And yet, what was the first "push"?

At that time I was fascinated by belly dancers. When I looked at the original performances, I was always shocked by the colorful glittering costumes studded with rhinestones, beads and sequins. Naturally, I wanted to sew myself a costume and decorate it, partly because what I saw in stores was too expensive.

Bead artwork by Elena Gladneva
click to see gallery

When I bought a few pounds of rough Chinese beads and began to weave the first things I suddenly came across on the Internet at beadworks by Sherri Serafini and Heidi Kummli. Then I was like thunder struck, I realized this is what I want to do! I thought, "If is it possible to buy all these magical materials?" Then I found beadlovers' forums and was advised that the desired materials for creative work can be ordered online, and online classes can be taken, and there are many bead artists in the world who create beauty and almost impossible things.

In the beginning I was supported by my friend and godfather of my son - both morally and financially; I was not able to create even half of what I have done without his help during my hard times and would not win Fashion Colorworks. Thanks to my husband who makes pictures of my beadworks and of course, to my son, which indirectly led me to the world of beads!

3. Where do you find your inspiration?

Absolutely everywhere and in everything. These can be images from the books watched movies, photographs of nature, music, some color combinations, and sometimes the other artists' works that give me a "magic kick" to do something in a similar vein. Sometimes it takes a long time to design something, and then a sketch is suddenly being born within 15 minutes, as it happened with my contest entry: I picked up a pencil and paper, and drew a rough draft.

Bead artwork by Elena Gladneva
click to see gallery

4. How did you decide to take part in the Fashion Colorworks?

I've watched the contest for a few years. In 2011, I admired the talent of the finalists and did not think I could ever compete with them. In 2012, I started to think about future 10 colors the Fashion Colorworks triads were made up from. I understood that even though I had a little experience and not so much skill, but it was already possible to try my hands - even just for fun. In 2013, I finally decided to enter the contest. Moreover, there was a color combination, which I loved and have already used previously, purple-green, and it wasn't difficult to dilute those colors with yellow.

5. What attracted you to the Fashion Colorworks contest?

First of all, I like the main contest idea when colors are the primary theme. I have repeatedly said that color schemes and appearance of the colors is the most memorable and interesting in my work . I like using lots of shades of the same color to get the versatility effect of the living, vibrating colors. I can't judge how it works, but I try. There is a possibility to focus on this in the Fashion Colorworks.

Bead artwork by Elena Gladneva
click to see gallery

The rules clearly say that we are not required to use a strictly three tones, we are allowed to use the shades of them. Probably not all participants notice that when reading the conditions of the contest, but I decided to make it work in full. I really liked such experience of participation in the competition. The work on my entry has also brought a lot of fun to me because I was lucky to have fine materials.

6. Let's stop on the materials. What do you like most and use most often to work?

I guess I will not be original, saying that it is Toho and Miyuki seed beads, and in particular - Treasure, Delica and round beads 15/0. I like Czech tiny beads; fluorite, labradorite, charoite, belomorite and simbircite cabochons as well as ammonites, geodes and Swarovski crystal elements, especially the rivoli and bicones that allow visually complement beadwork.

Bead artwork by Elena Gladneva
click to see gallery

7. What are your future plans, whether will you participate in the next contest?

If possible, I plan to keep embroidery, weaving and knitting with beads to implement sketches and pans that I didn't have enough time to work on. If my main work and family allow I will take part in Fashion Colorworks of the next year, I also consider the possibility of "battles" in the "Battle of the BeadSmith". Everything is still purely theoretical now.

8. What would you like to wish the participants of the Fashion Colorworks contest?

I wish all prospective beadweavers to believe in themselves, to dream and to enjoy the process. Then, the reward will not take long, even if you don't win.

My gallery on

About author:

Elena Gladneva, Belgorod, Russia

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