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Interview with beadwork artist Larisa Berenshtein
Larisa, exactly two years ago we featured you on MyLovelyBeads.com. It seems like it was just yesterday, but we left two years behind us, that's not a short time! You took part in Fashion Colorworks Beading Contest and your Midday Set won the Third Place. That's a great success! We'll talk about the contest, but first we'd like to ask you other questions.
1. Larisa, we have just noticed that you haven't shared your creative plans, but you had them, of course. Tell us please what made success and what didn't?
I agree, the time is flying! Yes, I didn't tell you about my plans at that time because I haven't had any particular. I bead from time to time, it depends on my inspiration and materials I've got at the moment. Beading is still hobby for me, and I work when I want to work, when I have a wish to catch and feature gemstones beauties, to make "unknown" color beads play, to get pleasure from the process of looking for the only right combination of materials, shape of an item, and its colors.
The exception is when I design jewelry for a special event and clothes. Unfortunately, not always I my dreams come true. I work slowly and don't have much spare time, and one idea follows another... I'd like to give a try to many things! For instance, I didn't have a chance to design free-form, but one day I'll come to that. Maybe, I'll learn to work faster, for now I've got a weak hope for that.
2. Larisa, what new unexpected discoveries have you made for the last two years?
Unexpected? Sooner, I think, I've made "expected" ones. I found out, that working with high quality materials is a real pleasure. If two years ago I thought that Czech beads are the best, today I work mostly with Japanese beads. I started using a lot of 15/0 size seed beads; it opened new possibilities for me. I felt that I like complicated color combinations, they allow many more interesting designs.
3. Thinking of past works, we value them differently. What can you say about your beadwork you have created 2-3 years ago?
Of course, I see my mistakes and try not to repeat them. But I'm happy to wear some of my old pieces; they become "a part of my life".
4. Have you changed the style of your beadwork? What do you think are your achievements?
I think, yes, I have. Maybe, that's because I've taken new experience and I'm more serious when designing new pieces, I try to create harmony and well balanced composition. My today's works have become more complicated, they have more elements. Nonetheless, I understand that I still have to learn the world of beauty with its own rules.
5. Have you had any disappointments for the last years? What are they associated with?
I've created a few works that I think are not good in design and technique. I've made some mistakes using not appropriate materials. I also put on those pieces, but I don't feel good, though my friends don't notice anything bad and cannot guess that they could be much better. I've got just a few of them because I'm always trying to do my best.
6. "The right" designer is always looking for the new challenge. What new techniques and materials have you found for yourself?
I've already told you about Japanese seed beads, but I wouldn't say it was my discovery; I started working with them and enjoy my work. I'm used to work with different gems, and when I tried Swarovski rivoli, they seemed to me too bright and sparkle.
Later I "understood" them and now like rivolis. As to techniques, if I need something special, I get it without stopping. It's hard to say, what I have learned, because if you got a new technique you think it's known for you for ages.
7. Have you ever entered any beading contests and why did you decide to participate in Fashion Coloworks?
Actually, I haven't participated in any contest. To be more exact, I have never designed a piece especially for contests. There is a sort of people whose reaction on the word "contest" is immediate. For me, predefined contest theme "paralyzes" me. Almost the same happened to me when I read Fashion Colorworks rules. I wasn't going to enter the contest, but it was interesting to see the entries of the others.
I have often opened the rules looking at the suggested color combinations and tried to imagine what could be done using them... Little by little, I realized, that gray-green-yellow set of colors was mine and it made sense to try it - just for myself. My decision was: I would create a piece of jewelry, and then decide to submit it or not. That is my story...
8. Your entry was one of the first. What did you feel looking at the other submitted jewelry?
I had to leave my home for awhile, and I tried to make my entry in advance, otherwise I would be late, I was back just before deadline. It was very interesting to look at my competitors' works, though it wasn't easy to imagine entire entries by icons. I found out, that some of the participants put pictures of their entries in blogs, and I could see them in details. For instance, I was completely amazed by Alexandra Sydorenko's contest beadwork!
9. Did you hope to win or the win wasn't important for you?
The win wasn't important. I was happy with what I've created and I think that is my win.
10. What did you feel when you knew that your Midday Set was juried into the final? What were your expectations after that?
Of course, I was glad to know that my set made the final, but frankly speaking I expected that. Maybe, when I designed my work I fell in love with my set. I loved it and believed that the jurors would also like it. I guess, many entrants think the same about their works; otherwise the number of contest participants would be much less.
Looking trough the gallery of the finalists, I paid attention at the work of Olga Pettersson. "It must be the winner," I thought. Honestly, I wanted to win a prize.
11. What was your reaction when the results were announced and your beadwork won the Third Place?
Quiet. But it was very nice, that my expectations and hopes have been met. And I understand that there is a goal I have to strive for.
12. Sometimes if an entrant didn't make success, his friends soothed him telling that only his work was well-deserved to win. What did your friends and loved ones told you when they heard about your win?
The first question I was often asked was, "How many entries were in the contest?" They also asked me if I myself were satisfied. Then they have taken my opinion, and I have taken their congrats.
13. What do you think about how the contest and judgment were conducted?
I liked the contest and that I had enough time for my design. It was great to have opportunity to ask any questions on contest and to receive satisfying answers. I think this type of judgment is the most objective; the system when jurors independently score entries using several criteria is quite right.
14. What do you think we need to do to make the contest more interesting and successful?
The past contest made a great success I think. Probably, to make it more interesting it makes sense to add some more categories and additional prizes. Of course, if the contest attracts more sponsors.
15. Today we won't forget to ask you about your plans! So, what new thoughts do you have? Are you going to enter our contest in 2011?
I've already said a little about my plans: learn and improve my skills; in this case my beadworks will be more interesting. I have no idea about participation in Fashion Colorworks 2011. I have to see new suggested color combinations to make my decision, I have to feel them. And then... If I could create a worthy work, I'll submit it! Anyway, I'm waiting for the future contest and will be with you!
|Larisa Berenshtein, Ramat Gan, Israel|