Name: Ileana Munteanu
Website Link: www.enchanted-beads.com
Where are you from? Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a jewelry designer specializing in hand made bead woven jewelry. I am also a linguist, a proud mother and grandmother.
When and why did you begin designing jewelry/art? I was always very creative and I used my free time for making 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. I sold them in galleries as a part-time job. 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 developing new techniques as my jewelry evolved. My decision to concentrate only on the embellishments was how I started my jewelry collection about 12 years ago.
What do you make? I make brooches, necklaces, earring, bracelets, and beaded boxes.
What materials and methods do you use? I love semiprecious stones and pearls, therefore I use them all the time. I combine them with seed beads and I use the tiniest of Japanese seed beads, the size 15. The scale, shape, and variety of color of the material help me to mold my pieces. I would use my seed beads much like a painter uses colors and brush strokes to convey his version of imagery. The main method I use is bead weaving and my favorite techniques are modified peyote and netting/lace.
Where do your design inspirations come from? 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. After completing this most important first step, I find the right time for the beading process.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? My studio is in my apartment. It is a small room, organized in a way that would always help me find the materials I need. I like to listen to classical music while working.
Where can your products be seen? There are a few Galleries on the East Coast currently selling my jewelry: One in Brooklyn, two in Chicago, one in Annapolis, MD, and one in New Hampshire.
My products can be seen online as well: The Enchanted Beads Website, Etsy Shop, My Portfolio can be seen on Talent Database and Myspace
Crafts at the Cathedral
Dec 5, 6 & 7, 2008
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
New York, NY
Magazine articles or press:
Bead & Button Magazine:
* Issue # 14, December 1996
* Issue # 42, April 2001
The Crafts Report – May 2001
* INSIGHT section featuring Jewelry
The Crafts Report January 2007 issue
Ileana Munteanu: Ambassador of Jewelry by Darcel Rockett
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: I created the Ladybug Pin when my granddaughter was very little. She was fascinated by ladybugs so I decided to make for her a bead woven ladybug. I participated with this Brooch in the 2004 FIRE MOUNTAIN Gems and Beads Beading Contest and it was a FINALIST. It was featured in the Fire Mountains Gems and Beads 2004-2005 Catalog, page 439 and the 2005-2006 Catalog, page 397
Anything else you wish to add? The permanent connection with the arts and the artists is beneficial for my evolution as an artist. Visiting museums and galleries, staying in touch with a community of creators online gives me support and fuels my inspiration.
Congratulations on all of your well-deserved recognition!