Interview with Anneta Valious

August 13, 2011, 06:28 am  Posted by Nathalie Mornu

When I attended Bead&Button, I was absolutely bowled over by the pieces on display in the Bead Dreams showcases. One necklace that really wowed me was Helen of Troy, by French beader Anneta Valious. Not only is it luxe and gorgeous, but it uses a technique I’d never seen before.

Helen of Troy, by Anneta Valious

Back at home, I found Anneta’s website, clicked through it, and discovered she describes her designs as being soutache jewelry. That still didn’t tell me much. I resolved to find out more and emailed the artist, proposing to share this technique with all of you. She accepted. Here’s a translation of our Q & A. All photos in this blog are by permission of the artist, and any errors in explaining what she said are mine!

Anneta in Barcelona. Photo by James Brosseau

What is soutache?

Soutache is a type of trim or gimp, and more specifically a flat braid with a groove down the center. Soutache began to be embroidered onto garments beginning in fifteenth-century France, becoming quite popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [Think of the military uniforms of that era, festooned in braid. --NM]  Soutache enjoyed a brief resurgence during the macramé craze of the 1970s. Today, it’s used mostly to embellish lampshades. It’s less well known for making jewelry.

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By now, you’ve undoubtedly read one of Lark Jewelry & Beading’s posts talking up Jeri Warhaftig’s très interesting book, Creating Glass Beads. I asked Jeri to contribute a blog post for us, and she wrote a fact-filled article about how to turn artist-made beads into jewelry in one easy step. Read on.

Photo by Steve Mann

By Jeri Warhaftig

If you like beads as much as I do, there’s been a time when you see a handmade artist bead at a bead show, craft fair, or on the web, and you HAVE to own it! After all, beads are more affordable than gemstones, smaller and lighter than most books, and easier to hide than a new handbag (so you don’t have to explain it to your significant other). Most importantly, buying a bead enables you to own a work of art and carry it around with you! So you buy the bead, thinking “I wonder what I’ll do with this?” or “Maybe I’ll give this to Mom” or “Now I’ll really have to learn how to make jewelry”.

There are many great ways to enjoy that new bead (besides just putting it on your windowsill on a pretty Lucite stand). Using readymade interchangeable findings, you can turn your bead into instant jewelry or accessories. In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the options available on the web. Although the world is caught up in the craze for Pandora/Biagi/Chamilia-brand big-holed beads (many call these European style beads), there are many other creative ways to temporarily string one or more beads so they can be quickly worn or put to good use. Typically, all of the options here require a bead hole of about 3/32 inch (2 mm).

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