It's not often that I get to meet a fellow artisan in person, but I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Ileana Munteanu of Enchanted Beads in NYC recently. What did we do you ask?? We went bead shopping of course! ;-)
Let's get to know Ileana a little better....
1. If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
2. What role does your family play in your art?
They admire what I do and, despite their busy life they help me. My son built my website years ago.
www.enchanted-beads.com. My daughter is my marketing advisor (she works as a Marketing Director at an important firm in Manhattan, NYC). My granddaughter, 11, is a permanent source of inspiration and sometimes helps me with Shows.
3. Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in a building overlooking the Verrazzano Bridge, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. The view is always wonderful, all year long. It is great to live close to the Ocean and take long walks on the shore. It is also a source of inspiration! I love my neighborhood!
4. Where did you learn to craft or are you self taught?
I am self taught. I was always passionate about making things with my own hands. Being very creative I used my free time for designing things that I could wear or I would need around the house, a mosaic table for example. Later, I started making evening dresses with beautiful appliqués (flowers, leaves, butterflies) made of pearls and tiny beads, that looked like a piece of jewelry. Little by little, I realized that what I enjoyed best in designing and making an outfit was actually the elaborate embellishment. I started to make little pieces of jewelry . My decision to concentrate only on the embellishments was how I started my jewelry collection.
5. How long have you been working at your craft?
More than 15 years.
6. Where do you receive your inspiration, in general?
Nature is my main source of inspiration. Flowers, ladybugs, butterflies are featured in my pieces. Sometimes I get inspired by the semiprecious stones I find. I put them together with pearls, gemstone beads and colorful seed beads in a specific design, carefully coordinating the colors to achieve a natural, shaded look by incorporating several nuances of beads for each color I choose.
7. What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Do your homework, search for a path that fits your style, participate in as many contests as you can and don't get discouraged even when you are rejected or when you don't make it to the finals. Keep trying, keep improving yourself,!
8. If you won a thousand dollar craft shopping spree, what would you spend it on?
Beads, beads, beads, findings, beading books.
Here are some links to where you can find Ileana's work: