Lidija Fairbanks is a talented artist residing in California. She creates beaded dolls (Light of My Life, Winner LandOfOdds All Dolled Up Beaded Art Doll Competition 2005) and jewelry, and also works in ceramics, clay and painting. Ms. Fairbanks is originally from a northern province of Yugoslavia, and many of her works reflect her heritage.
How long have you been making jewelry and beaded works of art? Tell me about your start.
I’ve been beading for over 5 years. One day at Chuck E Cheeses I was watching my kids play. I looked over and saw a lady at a table making a necklace. I went over and told her how beautiful her necklace was. I asked her if she was willing to teach me how to make necklaces and jewelry. I called her and took a couple classes. We became really good friends. My friend is Donna Palmer who is a well known beader from San Diego.
Your beadwork is incredibly detailed and original. How long did it take to plan and construct “Light of My Life”?
It took me 6 months to put together all the pieces and construct it. I had some already done pieces before that which I used in the construction. Probably 9 months all told.
On your website, you post photos of fellow artist’s beadwork using your ceramic faces. How do you feel when someone shares these pieces with you?
It is very fulfilling to see that a piece of me has inspired another artist. It is very interesting to see people use the faces in ways that are completely different than I see them, yet the pieces are very beautiful and inspiring.
Where do you get your inspirations or ideas?
I pull my inspiration from my childhood. As a child I would go look at the Fresco paintings in the monasteries around my homeland. At times as I go through life, things that I see, touch or smell will bring a flood of inspiration into my mind and I will know what my next project is.
What advice would you have for someone who is just starting out beading or making jewelry?
Well, there are certain drawbacks. For instance, if you like your husband buying jewelry for you then this is not a good profession to get into. Now I just wear my own creations. Another couple quirky things that happened to me along these lines. I’m allergic to flowers since moving to Southern California and I also embraced healthy eating. In fact, my husband isn’t allowed to buy me flowers, jewelry, or chocolate!
But seriously, I would tell them that learning the stitches and techniques are critically important. As you master all the stitches and they become a second nature you are able to relax and create in a pure, flowing manner.
There is a lot of inspiration and help on the internet. Entire beading communities exist as resources. The last thing is to be patient. It takes time just like any other skill. As I look my pieces throughout the years I can see the improvement in style and technique.
What other hobbies or activities do you use to fill your spare time?
I have a 5, 7, and 30 years old, so I get very limited time for my hobbies. I like to volunteer in church, school and as a translator. Also, I like gardening, walking, and playing the board game Settlers of Catan.
– L. Kvigne