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My story is a little bit different, not so common...
My name is Ella Des. I was born and grew up in Belgrade, Serbia. I graduated from the University of Economic sciences with a master's degree in Marketing Management and PR. Beside that "official part" of my life, since I remember, my hands have been always busy. I was sewing, knitting and tatting, I have embroidered tapestries, I even made some pieces of furniture for my apartment... Making things was my passion and I liked it much more than the job I was doing, but I have never had enough time to completely devote myself to creativity.
After 15 years of permanent stress and working more than 10 hours a day I left my usual environment and I chose to live on a 45-feet sail boat and to sail around the world with the Man-I-Love. Making that decision wasn't so easy to me. I remember that my brother told me, "You can't change your life when you are 42." My answer was, "You can't change your life only when you are dead." And I could do that! I stepped out from the "rat race" and went to live a totally different life.
In the beginning it was very stressful. I used to live in an apartment with all facilities in the downtown of a big city. Suddenly I found myself in totally different surroundings and I had to learn a lot of new skills. New terms of life made new habits. I have never sailed before. My first serious sailing was when crossing the Atlantic Ocean with my husband. You should be crazy or at least very brave to do such a thing! I still don't know if I was brave or crazy or both?
I'm used to work hard and when we didn't sail I didn't have so much to do, and I was thinking about my needs to create more and more often. I'm a person who has to be busy, and my husband and I both had to find out how to spend the time during free days. I had some strong knowledge from all my diplomas and work, but I couldn't use them in my new circumstances; I've already lost my creative craft skills during those 15 years in the "rate race". So, I needed a niche...
Happily, soon I met a German woman in a marina on the Gran Canaria Island and when I saw her very simple peyote stitched bracelet I realized immediately - that is something what I want to do!!! I almost screamed, "You have to show me, you have to teach me this!" I spent about hours on her boat and she showed me the even peyote stitch. You can't believe how clumsy I was at the beginning! She gave me a list of materials that I needed; it included of course Miyuki Delica and round seed beads, Nymo thread, needles size 12...
Before I placed my first order, I had practiced with plastic beads which I could find in a shop on the island. I have learned to bead with materials I had, and that was a new lesson in my life. Now when it's difficult to get something on the Caribbean Islands I'm looking for the way to make jewelry pieces using beads and parts that I have in my stock. I am not so happy about that, but I've got used to accept different situations and to find a new way, my way... I don't have a special studio where I can be alone with my beads, I even don't have enough space to store my beads, and during the sailing I have to take care about my tiny "babies".
Beading became my addiction very quickly and I have beaded all day long (and nights) when we were at anchor. During sailing - no beading! It's impossible because all is in movement but meanwhile I'm beading mentally... I've surfed the Internet looking for websites on beading and I found the web site of Eva Maria Keiser. She has great free tutorials there and I was impressed by her ideas of structural beadwork and color combinations. She was and she is still my "bead star". Even my husband knows her because of Eva's famous saying, "When I'm not beading, I'm sleeping." Once he told me, "It turns out that you have a sister somewhere in the World that you haven't met before?"
I have learned a lot, I wanted to know everything immediately exactly like a child. First I have made jewelry for my friends and they were impressed and have supported me. I'm lucky having such great friends! During my "researching phase" I realized that many people have knowledge about techniques, but they have problems to make their own designs, ideas and color combinations, and they just need a little push to unleash their creativity... A lot of people don't assume their hidden talents and how creative they are. Searching for inspiration and your own way in creativity is a process and it takes time with a lot of practice.
I thought that I can help them! I can give them a direction, I can give them samples of color combinations or maybe I can even teach them how to think about design and how to improvise. I've learned that kind of thinking from my "previous life" before beading and sailing. Personally I have a problem with understanding diagrams since I'm more visual person. I realized that a lot of people have the same problem. So, I started making my tutorials with detailed photos of each step. And here I am now with more than 100 tutorials and thousands of beading friends!
My designs are all different: different ideas, stitches, for beginners and experienced beaders, for everyone! People are learning from me and I am learning from them! I love to see their finished pieces and how they found the ways to make them more beautiful, how they looked for their own style, how they gave a personal touch to a small piece, how they expressed themselves even if they don't have awareness about that. I love to hear that my jewelry is their inspiration. What else can I want???
I find inspiration in everything! When I saw a turtle swimming around the boat I make a turtle pendant. After a dinner in a Chinese restaurant I can want to make a Fortune cookie (it must be possible with Delica beads and one day I'll give a try to that). Colorful pillows in my husband daughter's apartment in Holland was an inspiration for "Joyful bangle" last year, etc. Colors around me determine colors of my jewelry. I have a lot of blue, green and purple pieces...
I usually never know what I will be going to make. I just start to bead... And when my husband asks me, "What are you making?" I say, "How should I know?" So, it's just going on, I'm trying and trying... Taking apart and making again, then again taking apart into small pieces and designing again, etc. - until I get what I like. I don't think about the colors in that moment, I just pick up some beads and start.
I use different techniques, sometimes I combine a few of them into one piece. That is more interesting, it's like challenge or adventure. So, if you ask me what stitch I like the most, I can tell you: I love them all! When I want to make something for my heart-like I'm working bead embroidery. I usually give such pieces as a gift to my loved ones, to my friends and family members. And they love them!
I'd like to expand my knowledge. Learning every day something new is the best way to keep you alive and in the right direction. Shuttle tatting technique with beads is something what I would really like to start with. Alla Vizir's work inspires me a lot, she makes gorgeous jewelry. Beading and writing beading tutorials is my job now. If you want to get success you have to have passion for what you are doing! If you don't feel the fire in you soul, don't do what you're going to do. Passion is in your heart, it is like an engine that keeps you going. You have to love what you are doing!
|Ella Des, Belgrade, Serbia|