Monday, February 22, 2016

Interview with Solar System Challenge Team Winner: Cira Troilo of Cira Design!

See all the beautiful original submissions:

Make sure to also visit these links!
Cira Troilo's Etsy shop:

Greetings Ms.Troilo,

Allow me to introduce myself; I am Patti, a fellow member of the Etsy Beadweaving Team.
Congratulations on winning the February EBWC, The Solar System. Your necklace is beautiful; I loved your interpretation of the planets and their orbits.

I'm flattered that you have contacted me following the challenge of winning the February EBW team, a victory that is unexpected for me.
With pleasure I answer the questions that you ask me, which will allow me to get to know better the group and followers.

Your soutache work is beautiful. I must admit I am not that familiar with the technique. How long have you been doing soutache work?

I have realized soutache jewelry for about 3 years now.

Where were you introduced to soutache? Have you taken classes? Do you teach classes or write tutorials?

I started to approach the soutaches self-teaching, I have never taken courses or read books about it. The techniques three years ago were not as widespread as now. One day, browsing the web, I saw pictures of these, such "strange things", I wanted to understand how they were made. So I bought the material and tried. Initially I was only doing horrible things, then watching a video on Youtube in Polish, and not understanding a single word of the woman who introduced it, I began to understand how to sew braids. Between the Italian soutache workers, I have been among the few pioneers who spread this technique in my country.

Do you sell your work in galleries or at shows as well as in your Etsy shop?

I sell my soutache creations via Etsy and on my Facebook page. In Italy, artisan work is little recognized and it is hard to find boutique or people that give you the opportunity to realize the dream of an exhibition or to see my works displayed in a shop window. I am self taught also in this: I created my logo, my banner, I try to make myself known with social media and with the internet tools, looking for customers, and I intend to postulate to shops. However, Italy has not recognized the right value to the "handmade", because people prefer the chinoiserie maybe even some bigger jewelery houses known.

Do you belong to any bead groups, societies or guilds? Are there other people you know who work in soutache?

Enrolled in various groups facebook Poles and Russians especially in the beginning, I have been much help on the Soutache technique, although I must say, creative people hardly reveal their secrets. Through the rhythm of numerous errors, I can now say I have reached a level that satisfies me.

One of the memories I have from my travels to Europe is the architecture. Is that one of your inspirations in your designs? 

Living in Italy and having in my cultural background as a humanities education, I am inspired a lot by nature, landscapes and monuments geometries. Inspiration of my work in soutaches are often typical Italian regions, such as I have recently created a collection dedicated to Sicily. Other times, however, I draw inspiration from the world of fashion, referring to designers like Valentino oppuro Roberto Cavalli. Elegance and inspiration, are some of the faces of my way of being.

Your choice of colors is so vibrant. Is color the first element you look to when designing your jewelry?

The colors are the strength of my creations, I can not create anything without the use of color. Few works are monochromatic, black above is almost banned in my palette, rare are the creations in this color. But also in my daily life I play a lot with colors in clothing, furnishings, or in how to wear makeup. I use it to cheer me up!

What other types of beads, stones or materials do you like to use? 

For my work in soutaches I prefer good quality material: hard stones, crystals, beads of the Czech Republic (which I collect), hand-made items I purchase from other creative to fit them in my creations. Rarely use plastic or stuff of dipoco value.

Are there other crafts or art that you do as well? Have you combined any of them with your soutache work?

In addition to soutache I really like the bead embroidery, but I do not get the results I want. I have got beads of various shapes and colors, but my embroidery technique is not yet blossomed. Every so often, to get away from soutache, I realize works in embroidery.

How much time a week do you have to devote to your jewelry making?

I dedicate to soutaches most of my free time: it is my outlet, it brings me up when I am down; to know I can create something beautiful that will be born from my own ideas and my hands, makes me feel good. Slowly it is turning into a job and very often in the past I have completed bijoux on order for special occasions such as weddings or major holidays.

(Cira) Thanks Patti, for the opportunity you gave me.

(Patti) Thank you Cira. It was a pleasure getting to know you better and having a chance to learn more about your work. I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful soutache pieces in the future challenges. 


Patti Parker is an interviewer part of the EBW blog team! (
Want your chance to be interviewed? Participate in the monthly challenges and try your luck!
Upcomming Challenge: March 2016 - Masquerade!

February 2016 "The Solar System" Challenge Results

Congratulations to the winners of the February 2016 Challenge:

Public vote winner: Sabina Vladimirova from SabinaJewel (displayed below!)

Team vote winner: Cira Troilo from CiraDesign


1st place:
Solar System Soutache Necklace by Cira Troilo of CiraDesign (17 votes)
2nd place:
STARWAY TO HEAVEN broochlace by Kris Empting Obenland of KrisDesignFSP (11 votes)
3rd place:
Solar System Goddess Beaded Painting by Shine Sturtz of OfYourLove (10 votes)
The Solar System by Sabina Vladimirova of SabinaJewel (10 votes)


1st place:
The Solar System by Sabina Vladimirova of SabinaJewel (68 votes)
2nd place:
Solar System Goddess Beaded Painting by Shine Sturtz of OfYourLove (42 votes) 
3rd place:
STARWAY TO HEAVEN broochlace by Kris Empting Obenland of KrisDesignFSP (32 votes)


Well done to the winners and all who participated and thanks to everyone who voted!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Entries for February's "The Solar System" Challenge

Here are the entries for this month's "The Solar System" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM FEBRUARY 9TH UNTIL FEBRUARY 15.  Please choose your favorite entry from the images or links below, then select your choice in the blog poll that will appear on the right sidebar during the days that voting is open.

Click on the image mosaic or links below to learn more about each entry and see larger, detailed images of each piece. 


  Image Map

How to Avoid Crafter's Winter Blues

I'm pleased to introduce you to the Etsy Beadweavers Team's new Blog Editor and Moderator, Elyse Turcotte of HumdrumAuguries.  Elyse is committed to making our blog more active with announcements, interviews, and interesting articles about beading and art in general.  We hope you return often to see what's new! 

Here we are, the long winter months. When the weather, especially this year, frigid and sometimes dangerous, makes our world seemingly slow down.
As sellers, we notice that less shopping seems to be happening generally. People tend to keep their budget tight during these cold months, and the wait for sales to pick up again can feel like an endless struggle. 
When your regular tricks no longer feel as effective, don’t get the winter blues! Here are some things to remember to stay motivated, and keep your own personal streak of sunshine.

Don’t Hibernate! 

Crafters in past epochs typically couldn’t wait for these boring winter times! The promise of no farm work to do, with peace and quiet to do needlework by the fire as the snow storms roared outside...what a heavenly period of the year for those who itched to work with their hands!
These winter months are the best time to get working your shop in new ways, whether it’s using the quiet to multiply your inventory, or taking some time to rework your shop SEO. It’s hard to believe it, but spring really is just around the corner! Don't let the lull of falling snow put you to sleep, stay busy!

Had you made a new year resolution for your beading business back in Janurary? How is that coming along? It’s not too late! Make a plan and list what you still need to do to make it happen.

Learn Something New
Always wanted to take the time to teach yourself a new technique? Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone! Challenge yourself to master something completely different and see how this new knowledge influences your art!
Always stuck to peyote stitch? Try the never dull soustache style! More of a bead embroidery expert? Try an obscure double needle weaving pattern! :p

Stash Dive
When was the last time you perused through the depths of your bead collection? Now is a great time to explore and get revitalized with old inspiration flames.
Pick something in your stash you’ve never or rarely used and create something completely new with it. Ended up with strange pendants from a local bazaar years ago? Bought some amazing art beads you’ve never been sure what to do with? Got a weird bag of broken jewelry you’ve never properly taken apart? Even the tidiest of us have a bag of unfinished beading projects somewhere…

How about an inventory of your beading materials? Winter can also be a good time to update your logs, or if you do not keep one, to start! Inventory keeping can greatly help designers as it keeps all possibilities at your fingertips. 

Take a Break
If your beading business is driving you a little crazy, why not step away for a while? Branch out into a completely different hobby as a way to balance out your creative intuition and clear your mind.
As artistic makers, it is said we use mostly our right brain. The best way to stay fresh is to give this cranial hemisphere a break with left-brained activities. Try puzzle games, take time for reading and writing, start playing or learning a musical instrument, or play strategic board games with friends and family. 
A little bit of time away is bound to rejuvenate your business and beading trends. 

Enjoy it too!
The cold isn’t particularly terrible everywhere; though this year has been unique for some! Don’t let the snow falls and frost discourage you and venture outside to enjoy the season. Exercise is an important asset to creativity and can become a great source of inspiration. Invite some friends and family for a fun outdoor outing; don’t worry, the beading table will be waiting for your eager return!

*Image published  with CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use-No attribution required 
See Brigitte Werner's images at

Friday, February 5, 2016

Etsy Beadweavers March 2016 Challenge: "Masquerade"

Anna Cohen of AnnaCohen Beadwork Jewelry, our January "Rising Star" winner, has chosen the Challenge for March 2016:

"Masquerade" - wearing a costume with a mask.  There are many holidays all over the world that involve changing appearance - Halloween scary garbs, Jewish Purim costumes, Venice Carnival famous masks, Rio de Janeiro's amazing Carnival costumes ... It brings joy and fun, no matter what historical event lead to it.

Let's create something festive.  It doesn't have to be a mask, but a feeling of carnival. Maybe you will choose something scary for Halloween, or colorful for the Chinese New Year Lion Dance.  So many varieties of masks and reasons for joy.

Let the party begin! 

Note to team members:

Please be sure to have your entry listed in your Etsy shop by March 5, 2016 23:59 EST and remember to include EBWC in the title and tags of your entry.

Kindly refer to the Challenge rules for details on what is allowed in Challenge entries to ensure that your entry is compliant.

*Picture above is for inspiration only and does not in any way limit your interpretation of the theme!

Published with CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use-No attribution required
However, we are nice! See Anke Schofeld's images at