Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Zina and I am a jewelry designer from the Netherlands. My beading story started when I was 15 years old. I started out collecting beads and making one strand jewelry. Here is a picture of a bracelet that I made ‘back in the days’:

One of my first bracelets

I sold a few necklaces to friends and family and even took my jewelry to local markets and fairs. It paid for my beads so that I could continue to make new pieces. I also made a few projects with self-made polymer clay charms, like this one:

Polymer clay donut bracelet

Time passed and it was time for a new challenge. I got behind my computer to see if I could find some inspirations. That’s when I found a beading forum. On that forum, most people made bead embroidery. It looked like a lot of fun, so I tried it. Here is a picture of the result:

My first bead embroidery bracelet

At the time, I did not know a lot about materials or techniques. I just took a scrap of crafting leather and went for it. Although I liked the outcome, the ‘sewing every bead on’ part was not really my thing. So I asked what other techniques were out there besides bead embroidery.

Someone suggested looking on Youtube because a video made learning new techniques easy. I found an instructional video on Youtube about peyote stitch. It was made with Toho rocailles. Until then I never even heard of Japanese seed beads! Excited as I was I ordered a few bags.

My first encounter with Japanese seed beads is something that I will never forget! I ordered the least expensive colors to get more ‘value’ for my money. I opened the box, saw the tiny bags and went ‘Is that it?’ For a moment I felt ripped off but I still decided to try them.

That’s where my designing story starts.

Wow! luckely,My jewelry looked so much better with these seed beads! I followed a tutorial on Youtube and made my first bib necklace. It was a teal necklace made with the coral technique. I also made a contest piece with that technique and won the 2nd prize!

2nd place Winner!

I shared a few of my designs online. At one point I made a beaded bead that got a lot of appreciation. Other beaders asked me how I made that, and that’s where my Youtube career started. My first video was a silent video with photos and crappy English. But it got 1000 views in just a few days!

Christmas Beaded Bead

Check out my first video: Click here

Overwhelmed with all the lovely comments I started making more videos. I really enjoyed designing new things and teaching other people how to make them. After 1 year my channel had over 10.000 subscribers. I bought a camera and started making spoken tutorials.

My first time hi(gh)

In the beginning, I was a little scared to show my face, but again the lovely comments kept me going. It took a little time to get used to my camera, but over time my videos improved. And then came that special moment that Youtubers talked about. One of my video tutorials went viral:

Winterglow Earrings

Link to these Winterglow earrings: Click here

I started dreaming about a fulltime beading career. What if I could make this my fulltime job one day? Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Maybe I could travel the world and teach my patterns in other countries! Or maybe I will be featured in the Beads & Buttons!

When Google took over Youtube, that dream became a little bit harder to realize. Revenue got lower and lower and I struggled to buy beads for new projects. Luckily a lot of followers asked for written patterns, and that’s where things started on Etsy.

Etsy took off well and I didn’t struggle to buy beads anymore. So now, with my dream in the back of my mind, I started making plans. I wanted to grow as a designer by making more advanced patterns. Potomac Bead Company started sponsoring me which gave me an opportunity to try new beads.

AVAtiara’s Heart

View this necklace in my Etsy shop: Click here

Ready for the future!

Finally, the future was looking bright again! I was upping my game, for example, by making more exclusive tutorials and I got better in taking pictures and editing them. I also bought daylight lamps for better video lightning and I even purchased a computer for editing.

Everything went well and I reached a point that I was ready to make my dream a reality. But then things changed…

In 2017 my beloved cat and beading buddy ‘Happy’ died of heart failure. His heart had not grown the way it should. Therefore, he couldn’t be saved in any way. I was devastated and I still am. I miss him every day. He was always by my side, especially when I was beading.

I love you my little baby

I could not touch my beads anymore because everything reminded me of him. At the same time, I started having serious health issues. And on top of that, drastic changes happened in my life. I was tired, broken and as uncreative as can be. Needless to say, beading got on-hold.

A new start, a new live!

But finally, things are much better now! I am very happy with my partner, Thomas. He supports me and shows that he loves me every day. My health issues are as good as gone and I am finally beading again! I’m ready to make my dreams come true. This time, I am here to stay!

For an overview of my new and old work: Click here

With love, Zina

%d bloggers like this: