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Bead artist Orna Voloh

My name is Orna Voloh; I was born in a small town in the Urals, Russia. I first learned beads when I was 20 years old, when I was taught RAW stitch weaving. In the ninetieth there was no Internet and beads in the shops, too, but my friends discovered that I "knew how to weave beads" and carried me already torn and useless beaded necklaces, one could bring a little bit, another - a bit more! I was happy to each such a thing as to a heap of countless treasures, and enthusiastically wove. Tiny beads had an incredible ability to form a pattern, each of which received a special meaning in my eyes and the eyes of my friends - in fact, beads still returned to my "sponsors" - as unpretentious trinkets.

I did not know then how to weave according to the "bead science," I couldn't learn from anyone because there were not teachers and any classes. I invented everything by myself - stitches, patterns, etc. I dealt with what can be called "reinventing the wheel", and now I use my developments of that period, which lasted eight years. I dedicated five years to work with children teaching them what was already known to me and what I could make, and then I had a big break.

Beadwork by Orna Voloh
click to see gallery

Fate decreed that I live in Israel, in the city of Petah-Tikva. Here I got married, and while "expecting" my daughter, I regained inspiration. I saw how much Internet allows for new beading ideas, and realized that I needed to go back to my youthful enthusiasm, especially because buying good materials in Israel was much easier than in Russia. I found out an entirely new world of beads, not what I had known about it before, moreover bead craft was on the rise. Over Internet, I met with beadworks of many great weavers who create masterpieces, and it was an additional impulse for me!

I wanted to be just a little closer to their level! Though just a little! And then I found myself in almost complete inability to repeat someone else's work and most importantly to work according stranger's patterns! Perhaps, this is good as a whole, although the independent development of the already known techniques takes more time. Suddenly, from nowhere, in my mind the ideas of my fifteen years ago began to float, and they began to take a completely new form! This primarily affected the traditional techniques I owned and my old designs.

Beadwork by Orna Voloh
click to see gallery

I understand that there are no limits in use of beads for creative people, and if there is some kind of an interesting idea, I will sooner or later find a way to implement it. When an idea of another beadwork takes me completely, I sit down and begin to draw a sketch and select materials thinking about embodiments of it and do not stop for a moment. Even in my sleep, I continue to work on the plan. Sometimes the end result is being hatched for months, and sometimes embodied within an hour from the moment an interesting thought flashed through my mind. And I do not know what it depends on!

Many patterns when they appear in my mind are very technical and require precise calculation, and I cannot put them on paper. I can draw a sketch, and the calculation is usually formed by chance, it's like the feeling that the hands themselves know how many beads you need to thread, and I create tutorials on such ideas - just for myself. That which can be explained or can be easily replicated, I try to note on paper or make photos, though there are many items that I forget how to make immediately after. Sometimes even the finished work cannot be repeated and I wonder - how is it I got it?

Beadwork by Orna Voloh
click to see gallery

I'm a pretty emotional person. Maybe that's why I do not have any predictable style. It is true that lately I've been trying to experiment with decisions I found successful, and implement the various options using one or another technique, which came into my head. Sometimes I myself wonder what motivates me to create jewelry because I do not sell my jewelry, nor my patterns or tutorials; beading is still my hobby.

When I create something completely new, I sometimes start from the problem that is why Internet bead contests are so attractive to me. I noticed that when I have a task such as it occurs in the Fashion Colorworks Contest I go to my goal and create a piece of much higher level. Since I'm an amateur beadweaver and not often commissioned, participation in such contests stimulates the growth of my skills. But I know and am convinced again and again that the peak is still far, I have never reached the final of the Fashion Colorworks though I've submitted twice.

Beadwork by Orna Voloh
click to see gallery

The rules of the Fashion Colorworks 2012 are already announced, and now once again I go back to setting new colors for this contest. Eyes snatched the colors of everyday life. There is a feverish search for ideas and materials. Inspiration keeps me in a good mood. So, I would highly recommend anyone who can bead even a little, give a try to your hands in competitions and you make for yourself lots of discoveries and will be surprised that you can much more than you think.

I design my pieces jewelry and present them; I wear jewelry very, very rare. I do not know why I'm beading, I just madly in love with beads and my work with them. I like to share what I can do with people close to me in spirit - with the same crazy people who are infected with the disease - beading. I like taking part in online contests as well as summing up each of them, though I understand that to the top is most likely not achievable at all. Who knows, maybe it will pour out my hobby into something more practical. One thing is for sure the world has still a lot of themes and ideas that are waiting to be translated into beads, it remains only to "see" or to find it.

I would like to express my gratitude to my family: my little daughter, my inspirer Yanochka, to my beloved and loving husband, who is the first and most important critic and connoisseur. Over time, I am convinced more and more that his opinion of my work is really to be trusted. I am grateful to my son, Lazarus, who also always has his own opinion about my ideas. For me, it is important to receive their approval, and I can completely trust their opinion!

My gallery on

About author:

Orna Voloh, Petah-Tikva, Israel

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