Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The beginning of something new :)

The Battle Of The Beadsmith started, and after some whining about too much work and no spare time I decided, I will give it a go. And so far I am really happy with the decision. As you can see from the previous posts, travelling to far-away places and experiencing different cultures drive me to new ideas in jewelry-making. In 2013 after visiting Sri Lanka the bead-embroidered vest, Serendib was born. Earlier this year I visited the island of Borneo, and well, it gave me and idea or two :) 

So far I would like to show some pictures, so you can get the hang of it: the rich, wild vegetation, the deep, blue sea, and, of course, the tradition of headhunting.

And a sneak peak of the jewel itself:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Team :)

Before I move on to something new, I would like to share with you some last (but very important) thoughts about "Project Serendib": I would like to introduce you the great team behind the scenes, who helped me to present the vest, and would like to say a big, loud THANK YOU to all of them!

First of all, my model, who is also a very good friend (and a teacher in my bead shop :), Zuzi Hake from Zzuzzi Handmade. I first  met her husband, who came to the shop, I think, four years ago, to enroll Zuzi in our workshops as a surprise. Well, she came, and stuck around from that time :)
Zuzi's main focus is on steampunk jewelry, made from Swarovski Elements and vintage clock parts. I have a whole collection from her, and I love every one of them! However, if I have to choose, my most favourite is her The Beatles Collection:

Zuzi also loves beadweaving and bead embroidery. She is really patient with tiny seed beads, but also likes to work with shiny crystals. Lately she started to experiment with Shibori ribbons, and I must say, it turned out more than well :) 

You can admire her creations here:

This year she participates in the Battle of the Beadsmith. I had the chance to see a detail from her work, and I am really looking forward to see the finished piece! Please don't forget to check it out after 6th of June!

The headpiece Zuzi was wearing was made by Slávka from HogoFogo. Her dreamy headpieces, full of flowers make you feel like a feary, even on a gloomy day.

Check out Slávka's creations on Facebook or in her SaShE-store!

The photos were taken by my friend, Orhan, who is the husband of my former classmate from high school, Szilvia. With Szilvia we have a long and funny history together (even sharing a flat for a time), and I am really glad, that the four of us together with my Adam get along so well. It's a shame we don't see each other so often any more!
Orhan presents his pictures on his FB page OrhanCa Photography. There are everyday objects between his favourite theemes, and on Orhan's pictures they allways seem to be more then what they are - sometimes filled with an affection you don't expect from a cable, sometimes showing an unexpected or funny side.

Portraits are also quiete regular between his pictures: the happy and content face of a child, the wiseful, warm eyes of an elderly woman have the same message: life can be beautiful!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The very beginning :)

1st of April was a big day for beaders all over the world: the Battle of The Beadsmith '14 started. Shame on me, it is already time to create something new, and I still haven't told you everything about my last year's entry either (not to mention other stuff I managed to design AND finish during the past months). First thing first, here and now I would like to show you some sketches which later evolved into Serendib.

The notebook is a simple A5 I picked up at the local convenience store in Anuradhapura. It was made specifically for Sri Lankan children learning to read and write: the hard cover shows the Sinhala, English and the Tamil alphabet. Tamil is a minority in Sri Lanka, they make up about 11-12 percent of the entire populatin. The civil war between the two ethnic groups ended just five years ago, in 2009, after getting rid of the separatist group LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). After the long-lasting massacre spotted with suicidal attacks, the government realised, that the best way to bring closer Sinhalese and Tamil people is to get to know each other's culture. Not only the Sinhala language is teached in the minority schools, but Tamil is also mandatory for every child in the country. The reality is unfortunately a bit stuck up after this nice thought, but it is a good beginning at least. 

It still seems so unrealistic, how easily the idea came and changed to the final stage. Sure, I had to simplify it because of the pressing time-limit, but everything, the colours, the shapes, the materials came to me without stress and frustration. 
Unfortunately, this year's BOTB is quiete different...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New pictures, new e'lan

I really wanted to write a new post here regularly, but somehow I ended up with just four of them so far, the last one dating from June 2013. That doesn't mean I wasn't around beads any more, or that I didn't make anything new in the meantime. On the contrary, a big change in my work-environment helped me to dedicate more time to beading, and quiete a few designs were born. However, before showing you the newborns, I would like to continue with my good ol' vest Serendib, because there are so many stories untold about it.

I must confess, that against the fact, that all the previous posts are about the Big Battle, I don't really like competitions. Working on a tight schedule is definitely not for me, and even worse is, that I tend to work simultaneously on more projects (and then from time to time even finish one :), and I couldn't do that this time, because I wouldn't finish my battle piece until the deadline. 
Against the above mentioned, I am really happy I participated. I was forced to leave my comfort zone, hence mostly I make jewelry which is suitable for every casual day. Serendib is different: even I say it is for special occasions only, and believe me, my borderline between wearable and not has somehow shifted over the last years. The other thing I had to overcome was the pure hatred to make something monotonous, to repeat a simple task again and again. Sometimes I struggle even when I make earrings. Now, that the battle is over, even I can't believe, I bezeled 191 + 12 + 6 + 12 cabochons with peyote, using only two colors of Miyuki beads, sewed more than 2 m of cupchain on ultra suede, and used I don't dare to count how many fire-polished beads in the same color and same size.
Before applying for a possibility to participate, I told myself, I'm gonna be happy, if my name appears on the list. It did indeed, and I was jumping all over our house at six o'clock in the morning. (Hb was really happy about it, too. Especially about the jumping...) Then after calming down, I was hoping I will get past at least of the first round, but when the pairings were made, I knew I will fly in the first round. It seemed so easy to say and understand, but then it definitely wasn't the happiest moment in my life when it came true. Anyway, congratulations to the incredibly creative Csilla Papp, she really deserved to move forward with her magnificent soutache neckpiece, and it was an honour to meet her at least virtually.

Fortunately the "mourning time" happened to be quiete short, and I was up to a new beginning. What started with my new brand La Peregrina and my new logo, continued with finding a professional photographer. So I contacted my ex-classmate from university, Matej Hutta, who after our studies of Aesthetics started to work as a freelance-photographer. He shoots mostly jewellry (lucky me!), and some portraits occasionally. He was up to the job, and we are nicely cooperating from that time :)

So now I would like to show you some pictures he took about Serendib.
Please make sure to check out his pictures on FB: Matej Hutta photography.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The train is rollin'...

The train is rollin', and I got behind. However, after one or two days of whimpering, I got back on my own journey, on my own path, in my own speed. Which, I have to admit, is not the speed of light, but yesterday, while sitting and beading on the patio, I managed to make some really interesting stuff. Nothing big, but at least there will be a tutorial from the ring and the half-finished earring someday, and maybe a workshop, too. I still need some components to make them right, so I don't want to show them yet. But anyway, I still wanted to tell you some more about my Serendib.
As I wrote earlier, in the spring we spent a month in Sri Lanka. Hence the name of the vest- in the ancient times, Arabic traders called this beautiful little island Serendib. It is a great travel destination: just a little more than 65 000 km2, but fully packed with stuff to do and things to see. A bit to the north-east from the capital, Colombo, is the area called The Cultural Triangle. Early Lankan history is pretty simple: the Sinhala majority sets up a capital, than after some peaceful years, the invaders force them to abandon the city, flee to a safer place, and establish a new political and cultural center. One of these early capitals (Actually, the third in line, and than 15 more followed.) was Anuradhapura - still a flourishing city with great tradition. It is a Unesco World Heritage site, and attracts tourists from all over the world because of the very well preserved antique Buddhist ruins.
There is a wide range of accommodation available in Anuradhapura: on our trips mostly we go for some laid-back guesthouse friendly to our limited budget, but not lacking atmosphere. Actually, this time we got to the Lake Wave Guesthouse by mistake: our driver misunderstood us, while talking about where to go. After checking out the place, we were quite happy about this error. In addition to the really nice family running the place and the great food they provided, there was a special little place above the lake for me to sit in the morning, and think about what to make for the battle.

Fortunately usually I get up pretty early, so there is time to pet the dogs, do some beading and my homework from Spanish, or in this case, to look for the water monitor living in the lake and to draw up some sketches for the vest. (I really want to show you, how it evolved on paper, but I just can't find the booklet I used.) The nature around me and the treats for breakfast really helped the creative process. And of course, all the artwork we saw while sightseeing, especially the moonstones - the special doorsteps carved out from stones, decorating the entrance of various buildings. It is not connected directly with my design, but the concentric half-rounds you see in the moonstone are waving back from the motive on the back side of the vest.

Anuradhapura and all Sri Lanka was a great experience. We are fully packed with memories: climbing up to the sacred mountain Sri Pada at two o'clock in the night to reach the top at sunrise, walking thigh-up in the river in the Sinharaja rainforest and swimming in a waterfall, all the magnificent animals we saw: elephants running across the road, peacocks showing their colorful feathers, huge spiders hanging above our heads. And I am a 100 percent sure, that there are some more Sri Lanka-inspired designs to come :)

For some more photos and stories about Sri Lanka, you can visit my travel blog ( (text in Hungarian), or my page on Facebook ( I hope you will like it :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Battle-results

After seemingly very long days of waiting, the results of the Battle of The Beadsmith '13 were published yesterday. Not so good news for me - my vest Serendib didn't make it to the next round.
Nearly a year ago, when I applied for a slot to participate, I told myself, I will be happy if I get accepted. Than it happened: my name appeared on the list, and I was literally jumping up and down. Being part of something so huge was really inspiring: I started to collect stones and beads from all over the world (Oh yes, my collection was pretty big before that, too.), and really focus on improving my skills. In my own therms, I succeeded: after nearly a year without beads, I found my way back to creativity, and made something a lot more complicated and bigger than ever before. 
Serendib isn't just a nice little piece of clothing for me. Beside of two months time of work, I really put my heart and soul into it. So after a bit of whining and whimpering I got rid of self-pity, and started to appreciate it again: yes, it really was a pleasure to make it, and it moved me to a different level. Now it tries to teach me one more thing: to move on, and get back all the enthusiasm after something, what seems to be a failure at first, but is a lot more, if you check closely. 

I feel it to be true especially, when I read all the kind responses. Thank you very much for you all, who left a comment or liked my photos. It really means a lot to me!

Catherine Chinoy: "Gorgeous composition and a timeless design, could be from any era and many cultures. Beautiful!"

Ingalill Claire Massiani: "It looks like it existed for ever and now is in a museum. Congrats on making such a timeless piece. What an enormous job too..."

Sarah Louise Gordon:  "It does look like a priceless antique - you should be very proud!"

Betty Stephan: "This is a lovely vest- so well done. I love all the little cabochons around the edge- but oh, I must have taken so long! But the result is worth it- a very beautiul piece!!"

Bianca Velder: "I loved the design, and now that I know the story behind the garment, I am even more impressed. The motif has that Moghul/Persian look you see in parts of India and Sri Lanka, ornate, rich, deep colours. It is beautifully stitched and created. Quite beautiful."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Serendib - not a secret any more :)

The Battle of the Beadsmith '13 has started, there are new designs published every day. The humble me beside the 191 great bead artists was waiting eagerly for the appearence of the photos, so I can finally show them here, too.
You can follow the competition (and maybe vote if you have the time on Facebook:

My battle piece Serendib (which is Sri Lanka's ancient Arabic name) is a vest sewn by me, embellished with literally hundreds of cabochons bezeled with peyote, sewn one by one on the ultra suede base, and further decorated with my favourite technique: bead embroidery. The inside is completely covered with soft leather to protect and hide the stitches.

I used the following material:
Silver-grey Ultra Suede for the west.
191 pcs of limited edition Swarovski Elements round stones: 10 mm Pacific Opal rivolis.
12 pcs of white opal pear-shaped Swarovski Elements fancy stones.
6 pcs of 18 x 25 mm turquoise cabochons.
12 pcs of magenta colored regalite beads.
Japanese seed beads: mat silver and light metallic bronze Miyuki Delica 11/0 and round 15/0. Color codes: 457 and 321.
Czech fire-polished beads: 3 mm dark bronze round ones.
Antique bronze focal component.
Nearly 2,5 m (2,8 yards) of cupchain: mat white in antique bronze base.
Bordeaux colored leather from Morocco as backing. It is glued and also hand-sewn all around by little stitches.
The idea was born while sitting next to a lake in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka - hence the name. The realisation took approx. 120 hours.
Size: the back is 38x30 cm, the front parts are 18x30 cm big.

I am really grateful for the following people:
Orhan Can from OrhanCa Photography for taking the pictures.
Zuzi Hake from Zzuzzi Handmade for being the model.
Slávka from Hogo Fogo for the beautiful headpiece Zuzi is wearing.
Ganesh Utsav, the best Indian restaurant in Bratislava, Slovakia for letting us take the pictures with their beautiful oriental furniture in the background.