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Bead artist Uliana Volkhovskaya

Interview with bead artist Uliana Volkhovskaya

1. Uliana, have you ever crafted before you started beadweaving? If yes, what type of crafts did you like?

I have tried a lot, but a little at a time. To be more exact, if I had a chance I would try everything that could be made by hands. That's my necessity; my hands should be busy all the time. So, I was always knitting, sewing, drawing, sculpturing, etc.

2. When and why did you start beading? What inspired you?

It began as it often can happen. My daughter brought home a gift made by her friend; it was a trinket with a beaded crocodile. I got interested in how this critter was made. Internet is a great thing! Surfing websites I found the forum for the bead lovers, keenness is also great. So, I started learning different bead techniques.

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

I liked peyote stitch best of all. Beads are very tight to each other, the thread is almost not visible, and the beaded surface is pretty solid and flexible. Then I learned how to change shape of beaded canvas according design, and began my mini-sculptures!

So, the main technique applied in my work is peyote stitch; but I use other stitches, too. That allows making beadwork more complicated and interesting. On my way I have learned that many types of beads exist, and beads differ by material, transparency, color, shape, size, hole, and so on. Possibilities for beadwork are unlimited!

3. How have you learned beadweaving? Who were your teachers?

No one, just Internet. I'm a self-taught beadweaver, nobody taught me and I have never taken any classes.

4. Which bead designers inspire you in creativity and why?

I cannot name the designers whose works could be samples for my beadwork, but in general I like seeing different items to look for inspiration.

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

5. Have you had favorite designers? If yes, who they are and why?

Of course, there are a lot of eye-catching beadworks that amaze me and give me aesthetic pleasure. They can be works by well known beaders as well as by beginners; some beadworks can excite very strong feelings. Sometimes an interesting color combination, unusual shape and design can inspire me; sometimes that's the story behind an item creation.

6. Uliana, your beadworks are not simple toys, they are compositions and even beaded 3-D pictures. Why did you choose that type of beadwork?

I make what I can understand best of all. My mini-sculptures - I can see them, I can feel them, and I can understand them.

7. What stages of the creative process do you went through your work? Which one satisfies you most?

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

I don't plan the result in advance; I don't draw sketches and patterns, though sometimes I create my beadworks inspired by an overseen picture. As a rule, my work starts with a question, "What will happen, if..." My mini-sculptured compositions can begin with a small element like a shoe or a wing, or something like that. Then my work acquires some more elements, I assemble and arrange them; the work is growing up and can already feature a recognizable image.

The creative process itself gives me the most satisfaction. Though when I have a look at the finished work, I can feel admiration, but just for a few seconds. Then... then I switch to another work.

8. How much time does it take you to create a sculpture, particularly making it, not designing?

It depends. The bigger work the more time it takes me of course. For instance, Mouse King Sculpture including picking up and buying beads and findings took me about two months.

9. Do you like to work alone with any distraction, or do you prefer working in a collective?

I get tired in crowd places quickly; I'd rather work alone.

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

10. How do you like any background noise when you work (TV, music)?

I'm a person who likes sound. Usually when I work I watch old Soviet movies or listen to the quiet music without any words.

11. Have you had any minutes of disappointment when you finished work doesn't satisfy you?

I don't allow that!

12. What do you do when you feel the result would be negative? Do you give up the project or remake?

If I feel I don't get success I'm looking for another way to create a work. I've tried a hundred times, but never give up, that my nature.

13. Do you have your favorite mini-sculpture? If yes, which one and why?

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

I love my every latest beadwork - for a few moments after I finished it.

14. Who are you by education? Do you work anywhere or beading is your only business?

My first education had nothing in common with creativity. My second education of web design is useful for my friends and me, but I don't work as a web designer. Beading became a part of my life, I'd say, a very important part, that is what I'm doing now.

15. How much time (hours) do you dedicate to beadwork?

All the time I have without time for sleeping and other immediate and undelayable things.

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

16. What do your relatives and friends think about your passion?

Oh, all of them support me, and this is very important. They are always glad to see my works, and sometimes they inspire me and push me forward! I couldn't create anything without them, and I'd like to thank them all for that!

17. What do you think is your greatest achievement?

Likely, that I cannot only create beaded sculptures, but to tell how to create them. Now I write tutorials on that, and it's a step forward for me.

18. Wouldn't you like to try another type of beadwork?

I've tried a little. Once I created a Christmas tree using beads and wire, I also make pieces of jewelry for my daughter, but that's not mine...

19. Do you have any followers?

Bead mini-sculptures by Uliana Volkhovskaya
click to see gallery

Not many people like beaded toys and creatures, and treat them seriously. Probably that's the reason why the most beaders prefer other types of beadwork. As to me, I like returning to my childhood and presenting a lovely toy to my loved ones! When somebody tries to create a sculpture and gets stuck, I'm often asked for advice, and I'm happy to help if I can of course, because I'm still learning, too, and experimenting a lot.

20. What do you plan for the nearest future?

I'd like to launch English versions of my website and tutorials. I also plan to experiment with cabochons, crystal beads and polymer clay when creating my sculptures. Maybe some more interesting ideas will come to me! I'm not going to participate in any exhibitions and to write a book, that's vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

My gallery on

About author:

Uliana Volkhovskaya, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

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