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My name is Alexandra Matveenko, originally I'm from Yakutsk (Eastern Siberia), and now I live in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. As far as I remember, crafts have always been present in my life and it was only natural that I'm crafting: all my friends addicted to embroidery and knitting. Now I cannot say exactly who taught me. Something I learned in the classroom work at school, something from friends and something out of magazines. Fortunately, I easily learn and my parents were pleased to receive gifts made by the hands of his daughter.
My mother sometimes sewed on the machine, I cannot remember anything more, my parents were focused on their work, so my craft hobbies were not a family ones. I was engaged in embroidery and cros-stitching, sewing, knitting, flame paintings on wood - I loved everything, because I was getting the pleasure of creation, when a coil of thread turns blouse, and a piece of fabric - a skirt.
Beads have always attracted me; the first memory of it is connected for me with the design of bile. Bile is a traditional ornament on the footwear of the Siberian natives. When I was little I liked to watch bright patterns, so that later I often decorated knitted or sewn clothes with beads. It is ridiculous to say, but in my works I tried to imitate the Lesage designers, although now I've learned more about that school, and my efforts seem to me very naive.
My attitude to the beads changed about three years ago, when I first saw the amazing works by Huib Peterson. It was a shock. By that time I met many wonderful beadworks, but Huib's jewelry impressed me most of all, his articles are amazing and caught me with color decisions, shapes, designs and overall look. Since then I have nothing to think of except creating beaded floral jewelry.
I am sometimes asked why I'm doing only beaded jewelry with flowers instead of creating flowers out of beads and wire. The answer is simple: I like making jewelry, hence my choice. I love the process of making ornaments from material selection until finishing with the choice of packaging. It's nice to know that you're doing something that causes joy and delight of others.
I spent my childhood in the north, where snow lies from October to May, and a monochrome landscape was visible out the window most of the year. That is why I love summer and always longed for the bright colors of summer, when I lived in Yakutia. I do not remember what was my first item, I wove, but certainly it was a flower.
Berries, butterflies, insects, flowers are for me an inexhaustible source of inspiration; I'm simply copying from nature what she has already created. My favorite material are beads size 15/0 and smaller, it's amazing stuff that allows me to express my love for nature and it can be used to weave any flowers, the most similar to the real ones.
My inspiration for a new piece of jewelry can be a full-blown flower in the garden, a beautiful photo or painting of flowers, and old postcards inspire especially me. I don't draw sketches. Often the idea comes from my customers, colorfully describing their preferences, and the more complex the task, the more interesting to implement it. It seems to me that lately I have started creating nice berries.
I graduated from St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance, and until recently I was an accountant in a travel agency. Working in the office, I have not experienced such emotion, as in beading, and do not regret having gone a year ago. Now I make jewelry for sale, and I have a wonderful customers and communication with them brings a lot of positive emotions. I also sell my beadworks on Masters' Fair website.
Now I always feel a catastrophic shortage of time. I have usually beaded for 2-3 hours a day, and I can create no more than 2-3 pieces in the month. All of my time is spent on commissions, and I really want to do something to my liking and to experiment. Beading is absolutely consistent with my character, I can hard work for hours without feeling fatigue, but only if this work brings me pleasure.
When I finish a new beadwork, I feel joy that the piece is finished and now it will be possible to undertake the following order. I always pay attention at criticism and listen to the advice, an opinion that is very important to me. I myself cannot consider the right to teach someone, I'm still a beginner in beading. A year ago, I created a tutorial on a fuchsia flower and uploaded it to the bead forum, but now I would have done the flower differently, more professionally.
Participation in contests for me is secondary, but certainly important. This year I took part in the contest Bead Design - New Wave in Moscow, it was my first experience. Not everything turned out as I wanted, but in general I am more than pleased. I would love to take part in other competitions, but I've got not enough time to create special works, so now I cannot boast of my wins. Maybe next year, I'll try my luck again.
With pleasure I visit bead forums where skilled workers from around the world share their experience I have no special creative plans and goals. There is a desire to make jewelry, and that my customers like it. My family accepts my new jewelry designer position with understanding, and I'm infinitely grateful them for that. I believe that I'm in the beginning of my way, and I hope that I still have to come!
|Alexandra Matveenko, St. Petersburg, Russia|
|Blog (in Russian):||ms-pulsatilla.livejournal.com|