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My name is Julia Turova, and I live in Siberia, Krasnoyarsk. My flirting with beads began about 30 years ago. Yes, it was then, in the late seventies, when I was 5 years old and my mother's treasure box with her beaded jewelry made from the amazing Czech beads fell into my hands. I still remember this blue-bronze-silver bead strand of Jablonex. When it finally broke, my mother gave it to me, and at this moment a child, showing promise in the field of tree-climbing, downhill on the roofs and skinning knees, finally disappeared as a future tomboy. I had spent hours with a thin needle, stringing these beads on a string.
Years passed. There wasn't bead shop in my hometown of Krasnoyarsk, and my interest in beading shifted to more practical sewing and knitting (highly acclaimed by my loved craftswomen, mother and grandmother), intricately interwoven with the interest in technology (the influence of my dad). And I was still dreaming of beads, weaving something out of... segments of the plastic wire insulation, which replaced bugle beads for me!
And here in the late eighties, when the first ugly and shapeless beads appeared in the market, and favorite magazines Make Yourself and Science and Life published excerpts from the book Fairy Ornaments by Engelisa Litvinets, I went back to the old, methodically studied uncomplicated scheme. Frankly, I remained dissatisfied with the result. Ugly beads of acid colors and primitive weaving - it was so far from what I remembered from childhood! But my enthusiasm was encouraged, because a child at the difficult age, sitting at home, like Cinderella, and poking with a homemade needle made out of twisted nichrome wire in a handful of beads, was happiness for the parents!
I was given fragments, scraps and bits of beaded jewelry, discarded every self-respecting women, and among them crumbs luxurious Czech beads appeared. Using those "treasures" I have already begun making more serious pieces of jewelry that my mom was happy to wear to work. Material was scarce, so I tried to use all the crumbs, "inventing" embroidery with beads, making pendants on scraps of cloth left over from sewing of my grandfather's military officer greatcoat.
If, however, I could manage to get some strands of tiny Czech beads, I was just so happy and did beaded flowers quite similar to real ones. The rose from the dark red Bohemian faceted beads even went abroad. And once, when the "Iron Curtain" has finally stood up, I received a package, and in it... This was most likely a Japanese seed beads, 10 colors, packed by 5 grams in tiny plastic bags. Perhaps, from now on I fell in love in miniature works made from luxurious materials.
My works of the late 90's were noticed; some of them are still stored in the Krasnoyarsk regional museum of history of vocational education. There were some regional exhibitions, fairs, I led the bead studio "Levsha", published tutorials, but I did not think that beads - this was very serious. Moreover, a Russian graduate student in biology had no time....
Due to my old illness, that put an end to my academic career and put me in bed for years, had to leave work. Hospital operation... And then my only tested beads came to the rescue, allowing survive and even earn extra money. I bought my first computer, got the Internet, and I found the first remote work to design websites, create advertisement and restore old photographs, then I started my present work in the field of distance education.
Beading as a source of revenue lost its relevance and acquired the status of a hobby again; it was pretty expensive and not profitable. I have done a completely crazy things, realistic critters: spiders, frogs, scorpions, the town residents from the TV show "South Park", as well as beaded around computer parts and so on. It's a pity I couldn't save photographs, so repeating those feats is unlikely possible.
And in 2006, my love affair with beads erupted with renewed force. I stumbled upon one of the Russian websites for bead lovers and disappeared completely. I spent a year there as dumb delight guests, and at last I signed up and began to create an album for myself, not relying on recognition. But, being seen that almost every my work exhibited met very warm feedbacks, I thought: why did I stop beading as my home business?
Since beadwork was consuming 99% of my two hours, remaining more or less free from the main job, it is the most important for me, came in first place and took up almost all of my thoughts. This was not surprising - you can find an inspiration everywhere around you, the main thing is to implement it, and the most ingenious designer of all is nature.
I can be inspired by the ideas of jewelers, I love a renowned glass and jewelry designer Rene Lalique. And I can listen to what the stone whispers. Sometimes the "kick" for the muse can be a single bead, the remainder of the order, sometimes I shovel online stores in search of a single color beads. And one of my favorite works, a pendant in the form of an orchid, Cymbidium, was born by accident when the online shop put in a gift bag of amazing green beads...
When making my jewelry, I use different materials, sometimes non-traditional for beadwork: computer parts, coins, and so on. I don't risk putting such pieces on sale or exhibiting somewhere, sometimes I wear them myself shocking amazed public, or give to those to whom such a gift would be a joy. Jewelry, which was originally intended for sale or for free, is made using the highest quality materials such as Japanese seed beads and expensive findings, but for myself I can easily attach a lonely broken 40 years old earring, or give new life to gemstones with defects.
I can work anywhere, in any situation: I came early to work, I bead at lunchtime, in queues, standing, lying down, sitting; my pack with beads is always with me. Even in a crowded bus I draw sketches with the sharp stylus on the screen putting on it my thoughts unexpectedly came into my head. If I can find an hour or two, I run to my working place of 2 square meters, covered with beads and photo accessories, entangled with wires, plug my headphones and disappear. I can fall out of the astral plane only late at night...
My beadworks can be worn with simple turtlenecks and office suits, jeans and t-shirts, but not eveningwear. They are not expensive. I work for those who have not so many holidays in life, but rather for those who has holiday in the soul, and who makes a holiday for others. And here, building on the image and self-perception of a woman, for which the intended item, I begin to look for ideas and forms, colors and images.
I can include non-standard materials in my simple beadwork, or play with bizarre forms and paradoxical combination of colors. But most I still try to follow my love for minimalism and subdued colors. My ambitious plans are not to follow fashion, and cancel its diktat. Joke!
Once I wanted to see a copy of my beadwork as evidence that people like it. This dream has been performed more than once, but my every new item was never a precise replica and rethinking of copyrighted somebody else's work. When I see how my work helps someone climb up a notch, I start to love beads even more, it adds experience and delivers no less pleasure than the recognition of these masters and exhibition diplomas. I am pleased to share my experiences with the same bead lovers. Bead designers in Krasnoyarsk created a good tradition to meet regularly to give classes to each other and just be friends!
People often ask me why I need such hobby that actually is more than simple hobby, because revenue is not comparable to the cost of labor. The answer is simple: I sell not jewelry, not beads and not gemstones. Made of quality materials, beads and natural stones one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry is price comparable to the mass-produced jewelry, but the effect on the surrounding is quite different.
People wearing beaded jewelry are always in the spotlight of interesting kind - people just notice you and not your wealth. Once I was told that my work gives a state of mind, when there is no need for someone to prove something, as well as confidence in their abilities. I want to believe it, again and again to take up a needle! Although I really do not have enough the confidence...
Beads gave me much more than being able to stand on of the denim-gray mass, and earn extra money. Finding friends and associates from around the world I understand, that the means of many of life's adversities are in my hands. And whatever happens in life, I know: if I have a corner with cherished boxes and jars full of beads, eyes, hands and the Internet, I overcome all difficulties and survive together with my beads!
|Julia Turova, Krasnoyarks, Russia|