• 1. Who is Svetlana Kossman, could you please tell us? How did you start your crafting passion and foremost - how did you start creating with beads?
First and foremost I am an artist. I am also a mom, a wife and a professional designer. I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with an award for the best portfolio in 2009. I worked as a graphic artist from 2008 to 2012. Corporate life was not for my free spirited artistic nature and I left it in hopes to find myself elsewhere.
I have been crafty all my life. Since early childhood I had tried different forms of craft: cross stitching, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, macramé, drawing, painting, sculpting, glass blowing, and computer graphics. In the not so distant future, I hope to try my hand at welding, wood carving and jewelry making with precious metals. Even though I have tried so many mediums I could never find the perfect way to express myself. Not until 2014, when my husband decided to show our son how to make a beaded alligator - a craft he had learned at a summer camp when he was a child. I was curiously looking over his shoulder thinking “what an interesting material, why have I never tried it myself?!” And that marks the beginning of my beading journey.
I remember thinking of the popular simple wrap bracelets which contain beads and a leather cord, and wondered if anybody took this concept any further. I researched and found nothing, which was surprising to me because it seemed so obvious to me that more complex things should be created with leather cords and beads. And that is why I started to create large pieces right away, I was anxious to explore the possibilities of beads in combination with leather cords. And that is how my personal technique was developed, which I named Evelict. “Phoenix” & “Bowlicious” were some of my very first creations using this technique.
• 2. Creating - is it your hobby or daily job? How do you think about it?
Creating is my life. I have been creating all my life and I do not talk only about things I have made with my hands. I think of the word “creating” on a larger scale. We all create something: relationships, our lives, children, communities, feelings, etc. I think of my son as my best creation. I have created my home, our house was designed by me, I create meals, etc. I apply my creative abilities to every aspect of my life.
Creating with beads is my way to express myself. I do not think of it as a job, it is a way to dive deep into my fantasies and show my inner self to the world through a created piece of art. As one wise person said “Do what you love and you will never work in your life”.
• 3. Tell us what inspires you? Is it color, texture, shape of figures, beads or maybe something else?
I am always at a loss for words when I get asked this question. I feel like people expect some standard answer - nature or something specific. But in reality - nothing specific inspires me. All my experiences, things I have seen and felt get stored in the deep layers of memory and sub-consciousness and get triggered at the right time by a thought or an idea. A complete image is built in my head in seconds based on all the knowledge I have collected over the years and then it develops into a design and then a complete piece of art.
• 4. What do you like / love in beading? Do you have a favorite technique - tell us what do you like about this chosen one (or if you don't have just one - tell us what do you like about techniques that you use most often)?
I love how versatile beads are as a medium. The idea that a complex piece of art starts with just one tiny bead blows my mind when I think of it. Beads are like pieces of a puzzle that the brain uses to create a complex image.
I do not follow patterns, I create with my own imagination. I use only a few well known basic stitches in all of my works: Peyote, Ndebele, right angle weave. The rest I create myself depending on a design. For example, I developed a couple techniques while trying to achieve certain results in my work. The first technique I call “Evelict” - intricate designs with leather cords and beads (pic. Naccara, Phoenix, Bowlicious, Diablo, Spiky Nature, Halcyon, Guardians of the treasure). The uniqueness of the pieces made with this technique is not only flexibility of a piece but also it’s back side, it is as intricate and pretty as the front side.
The second technique I call Sculptural Beading. I developed this method of beading to achieve sculpted features in a jewelry piece. I basically mold shapes with beads. (pic. The Last Day of Pompeii, Free Element)
• 5. What do you like to do apart from beads? Do you have any other passions? Tell us about it!
I like everything that involves art and creation with hands. But right now most of my time is occupied by teaching online courses. I do not teach how to create a specific piece following instructions of my design (by the way, I do not teach how to make anything I create to express myself. I create a special piece for a special class, that would combine all necessary teachings as examples). I realized how much people are missing in their work by not having basic knowledge of design, composition, and color combination. My passion and goal at this point is to develop beading as an art form and not just a hobby. I would like people looking at beaded creations as they are expensive pieces of art containing not only complicated design and a thoughtful idea, but a soul of an artist. I would like people to appreciate this art form and admire artists who create them. And that is why I teach people to develop their own style and art. All together we make the world more beautiful one beaded piece at a time.
• 6. How do you see yourself in creative future? Do you have any beading plans / special projects on mind?
I have a plethora of projects in my head. I will share just one - I am planning to make leather/beaded purses all from scratch. I want to develop my own line of high-end handmade purses. Currently I am widening my horizons in preparation for such a huge stage of my creative career: I take classes on creating leather purses from an idea to a finished product, I collect exotic materials, and take classes on couture embroidery.
• 7. What is the most important lesson that you have learned about beading and maybe would like to share with our Readers? What would you like to advise to our Readers?
Not until 2014 had I looked at beads with respect. I learned what an incredible medium it is to express my thoughts, I truly found myself in beading.
What I would like to tell the readers is that knowing different techniques in beading is great but it is not a key to develop as a bead artist. My advice is to understand your goals and act accordingly. If one wishes to bead for pleasure of just keeping her/his hands busy, than enjoying creating a piece following somebody’s instructions step-by-step is perfect for that person. But more often I see beaders who want to make a business out of their hobby, and create their own unique pieces in their personal artistic style. And for those beaders I suggest to study not only different techniques but the theory of styles and design, composition and how to combine colors in harmonious way. Train your imagination, draw your designs on paper. Beading techniques are only tools for realizing your unique idea into a physical piece, but the idea and a unique design is what makes one to stand out.
Complete portfolio of work could be viewed at svetlanakossman.com
KNIGHT OF THE SEA - The Employee’s Choice Award in Seed Bead Contest, FMG 2017
MONARCH - Finalist in Finished Jewelry category, Bead Dreams 2016
GUARDIANS OF THE TREASURE - 2nd Place in Crystal Jewelry category, Bead Dreams 2015. Finalist in Wearable Expressions 2017 (International contest of wearable art)
HALCYON - 1st Place in Crystal Jewelry category, Bead Dreams 2016. 3rd place in Wearable Expressions 2017
SHAPITO - Trendsetter Award in Seed Bead Contest, FMG 2015