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.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Battle of the Beadsmith 2013

Today is the first day in two months time, that I don't have an obvious answer, what to do with my free time. My battle piece is finished, photos submitted. Now I am waiting impatiently to see all the entries: last year it was a great adventure to browse all the beautiful designs, and I am sure, that it will be even better this time. 

Earlier we spent a month in Sri Lanka, and I was thinking more and more about the upcoming challenge. We stayed some days in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, in a nice little guesthouse next to the lake. Every day in the morning I used to sit on the pier, admiring the water lilies and listening to the birds. That is the place where the idea was born. I bet, the owners of the Lake Wave Guesthouse doesn't even know, how important thinking was going on, while I was just staring at the water and doing nothing :)

My battle is actually over, I managed to design and make something bigger than ever before, and I am really happy with it. In the future, I would like to focus more on my beadwork, so here, I present you my new brand, La Peregrina, and my new logo. La Peregrina means 'wonderer', and it is reflecting on my other great obsession: traveling. It is very important for me to stay open-minded about foreign people and civilizations, and to maintain a free spirit. 

Meeting different cultures has a deep impact on me, and therefore my jewelry, too. This was the case with my still secret battle-project also. It's called Serendib, what is the ancient Arabic name of Sri Lanka. It will remind me forever of this little island, its friendly people, the tea plantations and the mountains, the sunny beaches and the Buddha-statues. I hope you will like it :)