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Bead artist Ibolya Barkoczi

My name is Ibolya Ingesne Barkoczi; I live with my husband, my 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter in a friendly small town called Jaszbereny, in Hungary. I can't recall the time when I started beading... it might have happened when I was a child.

I came across freeform as a style about five years ago, just when I felt I needed to renew. It wasn't simply enough for me to bead according to patterns anymore. I believed there were much more possibilities in beading than I knew about and I wanted something different, something new! I started to search the Internet for new techniques and I bumped into Lidija Fairbanks's website. I can still remember the moment very clearly when I saw her red scarabaeus collection and I got extremely excited realizing that was I had been looking for, I wanted to create jewels like those.

Bead art by Ibolya Barkoczi
click to see gallery

So the quest for descriptions, pictures (or anything that could help me) began. Yet at that time I could hardly find any help. For months I didn't dare to set myself to it because this technique was so different from anything I had ever seen before. I participated in a beading course held by Eva Dobos and practically her instructions and sketches inspired me how to try freeform. Eva's support gave me wings and since then I have been part of a fascinating creative process I can't seem to lose interest in.

I signed up a lot of Hungarian and foreign forums in the hope that I would finally find photos and descriptions about freeform, but unfortunately I wasn't lucky. It seemed to be such a special style that very few artists pursued. So I began experimenting with beads and educated myself. With the help of the Internet I have met a lot of very nice beadwork artists and it is a great pleasure to be part of such a coherent and helpful group.

Bead art by Ibolya Barkoczi
click to see gallery

I received a lot of support from them, which made me very happy, especially being the first in Hungary to try freeform I didn't have a ground for comparison. I couldn't judge whether I was doing it right or not, so I needed the eyes of experts as well. Fortunately I have followers now and I'm more than glad to help anyone who asks me.

It took me years to establish my own style. Due to the fact that there are no patterns to follow, practically each and every piece is improvisation driven by my mood, frame of mind or my feelings. I usually create a bracelet in 8-10 hours but a necklace can take me days or even weeks. Still every one of them is a fantastic challenge that I extremely enjoy.

Bead art by Ibolya Barkoczi
click to see gallery

What inspires me? Mostly, nature. After an excursion or hiking I'm always full of new ideas, whether they come from the enchanting colors of the seasons or the blue of the seas and the clouds or the spectacular palette of flowers. I love fierce, powerful, vivid warm colors and I look for harmony and balance in everything.

I never plan beforehand what I'm going to bead. I used to sketch designs but they always transformed into something completely different. Whenever I come across a beautiful mineral or a pendant that I can bead around, the exciting part begins: what can I create out of them? I like that I don't have to adapt to patterns and I like that I can complete or form a jewel. When I'm not satisfied with it, I can get back to it a week later for example. I also like that the creative process makes me think and makes me relax but what I like above all this is the infinite pleasure of completing a new, unique jewel.

Bead art by Ibolya Barkoczi
click to see gallery

My favorite techniques are peyote and brick stitch. I was inspired to try brick stitch by Beverly Choy's jewels. I was amazed by her works of art, the colors, the stones and the designs. I felt an urge to try what I can create with this style. When I put my experiments on my blog, I received a nice letter from Cindy Caraway in which she wrote that she wanted to show two of my necklaces on her blog because she found them inspiring. I was thrilled. I am exactly like children: I am motivated by positive feedback.

Since I work during the day I usually bead in the evening. If I'm in the mood, I bead till late at night, nothing else matters. Other times I can't set myself to it for months. Fortunately my family is very patient and supportive when it comes to my hobby and they let me create.

My gallery on

About author:

Ibolya Ingesne Barkoczi, Jaszbereny, Hungary

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