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My name is Eva Dobos, I was born in Hungary, and I still live there right next to Budapest, the capital city of the country, with my family: my husband and two my daughters. I don't really remember the first time when I touched beads. I grew up in a "crafty" family. My dad can build/fix/construct almost anything; and my mum have always had some kind of needles around - back then women in Hungary could stay on maternity leave for three years, so she needed some relaxing hobby after taking care of three girls all day long.
She taught me (mostly because I insisted to "help" her) these techniques very early: embroidery, knitting, crochet, macrame, cross-stitching, sewing. I was only 6-8 yrs old when I learned how to operate on the sewing machine. During summer holidays when we the kids were at home, we could sit as long as we wanted with the best friends and make clothes for our dolls - and for all the neighbor kids' dolls.
Let's not talk about "illegally" used beautiful materials we could find in our mums' wardrobes (including very glittery ones gotten from wedding dresses)! Of course we made accessories too: hats, bags, jewelry, even leather shoes and sandals! I wish I still had those big boxes full of treasures, my kids would really love that now.
I think the first time I learned Czech glass beads was around 1980 when we got a big bag of seeds beads, bugles and drops. My dad gave me some fishing line and together we made a necklace for me. It was simple stringing but had a loop in the middle as a pendant. It was in 1992 when I turned toward making jewelry. There was a fair in our village and I saw a lady selling beautiful wire jewelry with semiprecious stones.
It was really hard to choose only one pair of earrings, but my "pocket money" was enough only for that. But when I showed my "treasure" at home, my dad gave me a pile of copper wire, some pliers, a hammer and a vise with anvil. He showed me how to shape and hammer the wire and how to make nice loops. I just needed to find some sparkly stuff to add. So the "raids to my mum's drawer" continued. I think I had spent all that summer hammering in the garage. After a while it became a bit boring, so I started exploring other materials, techniques, anything I could find on my own. I've made jewelry out of everything.
When I entered the university (I went to the technical university and studied biomechanical engineering and fine mechanics/optics) I could spend a very little time at home, so I couldn't make wire jewelry very often. I had to find other materials that wouldn't need many tools and space and make big mess in our small room in the dorm, so slowly the beads took over all other media. Yup back then I was so naive I thought beads wouldn't take much space. Looking at my work area today those thoughts seem quite silly!
At the university Internet was finally available for me (unlimited and very fast) so a brand new world was in front of me. Until that point no books, magazines or any other bead-related information was available here (just a few on traditional, folk jewelry but that was never interesting to me as I wanted to make wearable jewelry, I meant wearable is something I would wear). So, everything I learned was the result of my own experiments. First pages I found were Japanese bead sites with 3-D beaded jewelry and other objects, and I was immediately hooked on that. My experiments started again since I had to figure out how can they make those beautiful hollow but stiff shapes.
When I was expecting Lili and after delivery I had more time for beading and the beading world discovery. I made my first website, first just to entertain myself, but soon I've gotten more and more attention, comments, requests. More and more people asked me where I learned how to make beaded jewelry. At that time there weren't any bead courses for modern beaded jewelry here. In 2004 via Internet I was introduced to a publisher who asked me to write a book. Of course I couldn't say "no".
It was not easy for me to put it together without any writing/drawing/teaching experience, so parallel to the designing and writing - and learning to make the graphics - I started to organize my classes. I think that was the point when I realized this wouldn't be only a hobby anymore. I so enjoyed teaching and drawing my own designs, and my students were happy to test them! And it makes me the proudest teacher that some of those beaders from my first groups are very well known artists throughout the international beading community now!
Right after the book ("Beaded Rings") I was asked to write an instruction for a magazine. As there are no bead magazines here in Hungary, it was a magazine for cross-stitchers. I got very positive feedback, so since 2006 I still publish in every other issue - eighty-and-something instructions so far. I love working with them, I wish every beader was such a nice publisher! When I started my blog, I'm receiving more and more requests for instructions in English too, and I opened a shop and an Etsy shop.
In the recent years I was suddenly asked to join a lot of projects for which I am extremely grateful. Not only they are great opportunities to show my work to many people, but these made me more and more to step out of my comfort zones, my standards I set for myself before, plus I met a lot of lovely people I really treasure in my heart.
Two of my bracelets were accepted into the 500 Beaded Jewelry book by Ray Hemachandra (Lark Publishing). In 2012 I was invited to enter the first Battle of the BeadSmith supported by the BeadSmith company with Steven Weiss. It was a great experience and a big challenge; I have a job which allows me only a few late evening/night hours to play with my beads daily, so to make something time-consuming is quite stressful.
Last year my BOTB necklace received very good feedback from other beaders, it went up to the 6th place, which for me was a huge accomplishment. Now I am a proud member of the BeadSmith Inspiration Squad. I also received an invitation from Perlen Poesie to create a project for the magazine and I was accepted to teach at their Bead Fair in Hamburg. This August I'm going to teach in Hamburg, too! The other ongoing secret projects I cannot share yet.
I'm often asked the questions, "What inspires you?" and "What is your design process?" My inspiration is the beads and materials themselves, they tell me what to do. When I buy new materials - a new shape, a new color, coating, etc., I just start playing with them. Sometimes at the first glance they scream at me, "Hey, I'm the focal for your new ring," sometimes they have just been sitting in a box for a few moths/years before I found the best "side dish" for them. I love how inventive the factories became last few years, it's really hard to keep up with all the new products.
Of course, I have my favorites among the shapes and colors too. If you saw my item photos, you could notice that my absolute favorites are firepolished beads and rivolis. I tend to replace as many seed beads with firepolished ones as possible. Usually I use seeds only as supplementary beads. And if it comes to Swarovski crystals, rivolis are the elements that can be used anywhere. I love the color and size range. They are perfect for any kind of bezel! And all the two-hole beads - so many cool ways to use them - they are perfect for dimensional pieces which I like to make the most.
My color comfort zone includes all metallics, light and turquoise blues, pinks/roses, olives, lilacs. It is very hard for me to make exceptions and let other colors into my designs, but more often my curious side defeats my "let's play safe" side. Beside bead shops my other lovely spots are fabric shops. I love to use laces, ribbons, fabrics, or textile ornaments and elements in my jewelry.
I use various techniques combined most of the time, but my favorite is absolutely RAW and CRAW with two needles (which drives most of my students crazy of course). And to the question, "What do you like to make the most?" - my answer would be, "Rings and beaded beads!" I love not just to make them, but I wear my rings all the time. The bigger - the better!
And one of the most important side effects of being part of the beading world is that I got to know so many lovely people, I gained so many very good friends! Most of them I haven't even met in person yet. Two of them I'd like to mention became my best friends. One of them is Rita Kozar. I met her during my classes ages ago. If you check out her works you can see it's not easy to decide who influences each other more because our tastes is so alike and not just in beading, I think this is why we got so well from our second meeting!
And Battle of the BeadSmith helped me make my another best friend, Miriam Shimon who is my big sister from another mother. As much as we share the same likes/dislikes in almost everything we are very different beadwise, so we continuously push each other toward new things we probably wouldn't try being alone. Since none of us likes to sit and bead in silence buried in out thoughts it became a ritual that when all kids, husbands go to sleep or just let us be(ad) in the evening we turn on Skype and bead together! Lots of fun!
I just wish there were at least 36 hours a day for beading!
|Eva Dobos, Budapest, Hungary|