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5 questions with Challenge winner Sarah Toussaint

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For her lovely RAINBOW KALEIDOCYCLE BANGLESarah Toussaint was a winner of the December 2016 Facet Design Challenge, KALEIDOSCOPE. She describes her piece:  "I made 40 triangles in peyote with Miyuki delicas 11/0 and joined them together to form a bangle. Like a kaleidoscope, you have symmetrical patterns, and there are four sides."

Sarah lives in Brussels, Belgium, with her two children (Théo, 20 and Iris, 18).The idea for this project came from the growing community project Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators. The project has also spawned several books of beading designs. 

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HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING?

To me, beading is a hobby. I discovered the beading world in 2004. As far back as I can remember, I have always liked handcrafts:, cross stitch, knitting. It all began in my childhood already. Surrounded by dressmakers – my mother and my grandmother – I guess I’ve been influenced, but I was always fascinated! Beading was obviously the next step for me.

HOW DID YOU LEARN JEWELRY-MAKING? DID ANYONE EVER GIVE YOU GREAT ADVICE?

I mostly like peyote stitch and bead embroidery. I discovered a beading forum in 2004 and I bought “Cristaligne” (the magazine of Marielle Eloy, a Belgian artist) by which I learned to bead. Thereafter, mainly on the internet, Bead&Button magazine, books by authors like Jean Power and Jean Campbell.

In 2008, I was taking class with Jean Power for a wonderful geometric beadwork weekend and I’ve learned from her that “it’s all about experimenting, never be afraid to try something out.”

WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN ESTHETIC AND FAVORITE MATERIALS?

I am very attracted by modern, contemporary, refined, and geometric shapes. I like the contrast between brilliant and matte. I like symmetry and structure, everything that is in order and tidy. I’m meticulous and perfectionist. As long as it is not perfect, I start it again.

My favorite materials are delicas beads and seed beads. The range of colors is very wide, this allows you to play on incredible shades and tones.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BEAD? 

I have unfortunately no room only dedicated to beading. I work mainly in my living-room, when I start, I occupy the whole table ! All my material is stored in a little cabinet.

NAME THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR STUDIO OR WORKSPACE. 

Does it matter if I say a dog? He always wants to come on my knees when I bead! Beyond that, though, my glasses and a glass of Pepsi Cola.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?

Nature inspires me a lot, although it’s not quite original. And of course art. I’ve always loved all forms of art in general (by example, Haute Couture, jewelry, painting (E. Hopper, D. Hockney), architecture). I find master beaders like Jean Power, Betty Stephan, Valerie Hector, Kate McKinnon and so many others very inspiring. Contemporary Geometric Beadwork was a revelation for me.

My biggest dream is to take a class with the great artist David Chatt and to follow a bead embroidery workshop at “Maison Lesage” (the company founded an embroidery school in 1992 that welcomes those who are passionate about embroidery all over the world). Lesage became part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art in 2002 in Paris.

FIND MORE: peyote

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