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I'm Josane Demuylder, a Belgian, and I live near Brussels. Thinking of my crafting roots and beginnings, I remember that in my elementary school we had handicraft classes where the teachers have mainly given us trivial knowledge of embroidery, knitting and crochet. Frankly speaking, at that time I hated those lessons, but I learned all the basic techniques. After school, I continued my education learning humanities and applied sciences, and was awarded by degree in economics at the University of Leuven (in French), and I completely forgot about craft.
I started my career in the glass industry firm as an assistant having been in charge of the computerization of accounting processes in Dutch subsidiary companies. After few years I spent some time working for an insurance company where I've always been very busy. At that time I was fond of traveling and I brought a lot of ethnic silver jewelry from my trips, I still love those pieces. Unfortunately, some of the items tended to darken that make this jewelry not convenient to wear every time you want to put them on.
My mother was passionate about knitting. When she became ill, she taught me and then I had a period when I've knitted a lot, already then I was fascinated by color works. Handicrafts allow relaxing and getting away from the cares but at the time probably I didn't need that, and after few years I stopped crafting.
My passion completely disappeared; it wasn't a passion then I think. I loved nature; all weekends my friends and I went for a long walk. We also liked mountaineering and often went to France for hiking, especially in the Ecrins National Park. As you can see, my work and private life had nothing to do either near or far with art.
One day I saw in Creatine, a store selling craft supplies located close to my home in Wavre, an advertisement about jewelry making courses. I signed up because I always loved jewelry especially matching my outfit. That was in 2002 - like something clicked. Why not to try to make my own jewelry? Now the passion was born!
Gradually, I learned different techniques. I'm completely self-taught and I have no artistic training. I started with small things: rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants. At that time I was in love with jewelry by Marie Giraud (France) and Laura McCabbe, and I realized that jewelry can be more elaborate. In October 2009 I stopped working and since then I have a lot of free time.
Finally I've got the time! The first thing I did when I found myself in early retirement was a necklace by my own design. I basically work following my "instinct." I love to choose, mix and match colors, I'm literally fascinated by the colors and the palettes given by the beads. I like to find things that can be put together into the composition of a jewel. I simply love all things beautiful.
During my first trip to Venice in 2009 I met an antiquarian who showed me three authentic beads made by Moretti. I found them so pretty that I bought them though they were very expensive. I designed the first version of a jewelry piece with them in blue. In some time I decided that these rare beads deserved better. I undid the necklace and started combining Moretti beads with beaded silver balls embellishing a simple spiral.
In Murano I also met David Penso who makes wonderful glass beads with silver leaves inserted into beads. I was so amazed by Venice (and not just because of the beads) that I went back two years later. Again, I've been to Antichita Claudia Zaggia, a famous Venetian antique shop, and I bought a beautiful old Murano bead. A new challenge arose: how to highlight that bead in a piece of jewelry. I incorporated it into a spiral rope embellished with pearls and magatamas in the main colors of the Murano bead, and I liked the result.
Some time ago my attention was attracted by bead embroidery and I decided to give it a try. I read the book "The art of bead embroidery" written by Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli and started. First, I made a bracelet as experiment. After I made a small pendant and I felt that I can work independently, I pick up colors and drawings emerge naturally! I really like gem and handmade cabochons. I've made some embroidered necklaces inspired by beadworks of well known artists and I quickly decided to make my own designs.
Sometimes after buying interesting materials I've been waiting for a long time before I start making the jewel, and when I begin working I cannot stop. Recently I worked with a fimo cabochon made by Nadia Her, a French artist. I wanted to do something very simple but the result was very different. I've also used porcelain cabochons made and hand painted by Vivianne Hardy, a Belgian artist who I met at a craft market; I like combining them with shibori silk.
I love Art Nouveau art and I made a series of pieces inspired by this style. Some jewelry such as spirals and snakes, I make with the hook, for instance, two snakes by Adele Roger Recklies patterns from her book Bead Snakes. I realized that my early age crafting experience is very useful. I like to try different techniques; recently I designed soutache pieces but I'm not really a big fan neither of it nor of macrame.
What I like best of all is embroidery which I think allows more creativity. Currently I'm working on a series of very simple and sleek necklaces with big colored beads I brought from my last trip to Venice in October 2013. I don't think on the ideas too much now, I just do what I feel, but the ideas do not fail; I always keep new projects in my mind. In 2013 I began to participate in craft markets and I often meet some great people who gave a lot to my inspiration. Of course I'm learning all the time and now I'm taking a course to draw better pictures of jewelry.
I still like hiking, to travel and discover new places. I also like sports and swim twice a week, I maintain my large garden and read a lot. But only beads is my true love, I'm like in haven with my beads. I love the peace and serenity they bring to my soul. I am fully in present and that's probably what keeps me going on!
|Josane Demuylder, Brussels, Belgium|