Name: Ira Zelickman
Website Link: www.fleur-de-irk.com
Where are you located? Maale Adumim, Israel
Tell us a bit about yourself: I was born in Moscow to a sculptor father and a scientist mother. I never fancied drawing and painting, but liked sculpting and gravitated to miniatures even in my early childhood. I was born left-handed and my grandmother taught me all kinds of feminine handcrafts like knitting, crocheting and embroidery in an effort to put right this “unnaturalness.” I didn’t become right-handed but now can effectively use both hands which is very helpful in my current line of art. I studied mathematics and computer science in high school and Moscow University but never finished the university. I married very young and devoted 12 years to bring up my 5 children. During the next 8 years I helped my husband in his business and only in the end of 2004 decided to go on and make my hobby a full time occupation. We moved to Israel in 1988 and now I live and work in the beautiful town of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem.
When did you begin designing jewelry/art? My first seed beads came from a broken Czech necklace. The beads were black and white and I made an ornamental bracelet with wire. I was 7 at that time. It is hard to imagine this now but there were no beading books in 1970 in Moscow, so I invented different methods of beadwork myself. I use these methods to this day. It turns out many of these stitches well-known and have a name. In much later years, I discovered internet shops with all the different materials and incorporated natural stones and pearls in my beadwork.
What made you choose this type of art? The art of beadwork brings together fine mathematical and engineering calculations with endless color possibilities. I think it just speaks to both my parts – technical and artistic.
What do you make? I make jewelry. All kinds, but the most satisfaction I get is from creating necklaces.
What materials and methods do you use? In addition to hundreds of types and colors of seed beads, I use natural stones, freshwater pearls, glass and crystal beads, wood, coral, shell… I don’t like synthetics and all kinds of simulations like artificial pearls and glass “stones”. As for the methods – I use many different bead weaving techniques, some of them well known and some of my own invention.
Where do your design inspirations come from? From literally everywhere… Plants, wisps of smoke, water marks on the sand, art, films… I love looking through antique jewelry sites and pictures from fashion shows.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? I have a tiny work room in my house. It is packed with materials and finished jewelry, and is the best place in the world.
Are you a fan of any jewelry artisans? I want to introduce two artists. One of them is an Israeli artist who works with leather. Her name is Julia Goland [also one of our World Artisan Gems]. The other one is my recent find on Etsy. I know nothing about this person but that her work with stones and seed beads is astonishing.
Price range: $15-$250
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: This is one of those necklaces with no known beadwork techniques that would give the effect I wanted so I had to invent a new stitch. I doubt I will be able to reproduce it as I can’t remember exactly how it was made.
Anything else you wish to add? When I make a necklace, I think about the person that will wear it. I keep in mind a certain type of woman and envision how beautiful she will look in it. That is my ultimate goal – to make the world around us a bit more beautiful.