This month’s featured jewelry artist, Ravit Stoltz, is a bead weaving expert and instructor.
I met Ravit through a jewelry artist Face Book group. Her beadwork is so beautiful, as you see here, how would you not notice it. I was so impressed with the work she produces and how she shares it, something in me was saying ‘reach out’.
My instincts did not fail me. As I found out through our interview, Ravit is also an instructor plus a stay at home mom. We will learn this and much more as she shares her talents and her knowledge with us.
Now I honestly feel as I see Ravit’s work that this is way beyond what I feel I could accomplish.
But the truth is – which is what I continuously share with you as well as remind myself – if one applies themselves then it can be achieved, just as Ravit has done.
Ravit started with the looping technique, linking beads together then took it to the next level as her thirst for more jewelry making knowledge directed her.
Let’s meet Ravit and see more of her bead-utiful beadwork and the steps she took to achieve her beading skill set…After all, everyone starts at the beginning.
Hi Ravit, Welcome to Bead At Home and thank you for spending time with us today. My heart leaps with joy with having you here and sharing your work with us. We want to learn more about you so please…
Tell us a little bit about your bead-ginnings…
My name is Ravit Stoltz, and I’m a jewelry maker and designer based in the Chicagoland area.
I’ve been doing this type of work for a little over eight years now. It all started in the summer of 2007 when my family (my husband, three boys and I) moved to the U.S. from Israel due to my mother-in-law’s illness. I was a typist/secretary at Deloitte Israel, a large accounting firm in Tel Aviv, for many years.
Growing up in Israel, my mother was the true artist. She knitted and sewed all her life, though she never had a chance to sell her things. My father had a lot of handicraft hobbies as well. I was clearly raised in a home with a love for the handmade. I was always fascinated by it, but didn’t do much beyond that.
When we relocated to the U.S., my options were somewhat limited since I had to wait for my residency and green card. Meanwhile, I helped the children adjust to their new lives in American and became a stay-at-home mother for the first time, all the while looking for something to help me deal with being away from my family and friends.
My passion for beading (some say obsession) started one weekend when we went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Dubuque, IA.
My sister-in-law was working on a necklace with beads bought from Galena Beads, located in Galena, IL.
She was using wire and beads and I was fascinated by it. The same day, we went to that store and I fell in love.
I bought some beads and wiring, and we made a necklace together. This was my first piece ever and you can see it pictured here. At that point, I was hooked!!
Like any obsession when your’re looking for materials you need, I started looking for bead stores. I bought more beads and wire and made a few more pieces.
I also looked on-line and found a television show called Beads, Baubles & Jewels. I learned about Peyote stitch and started to research it. YouTube was an amazing tool and resource for my first Peyote stitch piece.
One thing you have to know – the more you bead, the more you’ll be able to perfect your work. It takes practice and time to maintain the tension in your beadwork.
One day, my husband went to a bakery in a nearby village. When he came back, he told me about a bead store called Studio Beads (the owners are Jessica Kaplan Lundevall and Donna Zaidenberg). Studio Beads was not on my GPS at the time so I was really lucky to have found it.
When I went to the store and met with Donna, I was offered to put my pieces up for consignment. She also told me about the classes they were running – ranging from beginners to advance, as well as workshops. Studio Beads brings very talented teachers such as Met Innmon and Leslee Frumin to the store to give full or half-day workshops.
I didn’t think I was a beginner, so I signed up for Donna’s advanced class.
I remember calling the day of the class, asking what I should bring and what are we doing. When I was told we were doing Peyote, I remember thinking – Peyote? I know it already.
Needless to say, I didn’t know how many different things you can do using Peyote stitch.
Now that I think about it, I can’t help but smile. I was such a beginner.
When I went to class and Donna showed me what we were about to make, I was blown away.
It was a stuffed triangle necklace using Peyote stitch for the triangles and plastic sandwich bag strips to stuff it. It was just amazing in my eyes.
The girls in Donna’s class have been beading with her for years, even before she opened the store.
Taking that class was and still is an amazing journey, not only in teaching me projects, but also opening my eyes to a lot of other things such as:
- participating in local art fairs
- listening to stories from long-time beading artist
- hearing about other well-known beading professionals
Even now, with all I know, I still continue to learn new tips in this class.
As an artist, it’s the greatest tool you’ll have, meeting and reading about long-time beaders, going to art fairs, seeing what others create and keeping ears open to any advice.
All of this has helped turn me into what I am today.
At first, when I started taking beading classes, I stayed very close to the colors that I was comfortable with – black, silver and gold. I never thought that one day I will move to other colors.
Now, I love every color and use a wide variety in my work.
Don’t be worried if you start with very limited colors in the beginning, staying in your comfort zone, I promise you it will change.
Tell us what you are doing now…
Soon after…I opened my own on-line store on Etsy, a wonderful e-commerce web site that focuses on hand-made and vintage items and supplies.
Sales were slow at the beginning. I learned in time that it’s important to update, add items frequently and share your creations using Facebook, Twitter and other social media options. There are many people who will be inspired by you, just by seeing your work and your creativity.
In 2011, I was presented with the opportunity of teaching at Studio Beads.
Initially, I had one class a week. I was so excited to be able to share my love of beading with other people.
Now, five years later, I’m teaching three classes a week and loving every minute of it.
I bring in one project a month, and we all work on it. Some of my students make the whole piece, and others will make it their own.
My goal is to teach my students the stitches, how to use them and how to combine them. Like I always say, there are only so many stitches in the beading world. It all depends on what you do with them.
I always start new students with the Peyote stitch. As I mentioned earlier, it was my very first stitch and I believe it’s the basic stitch everyone should learn at first. After that, I move into Herringbone, Netting, Square and Brick, and then save the Right Angle Weave for last.
Over the years, I found that tubular Right Angle Weave is the hardest stitch to teach. Beads are shared unlike the other stitches and not everyone seems to understand it. As my teacher, Donna, once told me when teaching the stitch, you’re either going to love it or hate it. Luckily, I love it, and it’s a stitch I go to more often than others.
I love working with seed beads and crystals the most.
The thread I recommend to use is FireLine, either 6 or 8LB for the most part. I love FireLine since it doesn’t break, shred and rarely gets knotted. With regard to needles, I use mostly size 11, due in large part to the fact that it goes through most beads.
I find beading relaxing. It can be expensive but it’s the best therapy.
I used to think, like every new student, that I would use only the tube of seed beads I bought at the beginning until I finish it and only then buy some new beads. It didn’t take me long to realize that it’s not going to happen. Even though I have a lot of seed beads, there is always a new color or shape that I HAVE to have.
Occasionally, I still take a workshop at Studio Beads.
It’s important to experience how other people work and learn new methods.
Sometimes it’s great just to sit back and make someone else design. It helps clear the head.
I’ve also been participating in art fairs in the Chicagoland area.
In time, I’ve learned which art fairs are a good fit for me and which ones aren’t. It’s been my experience that it’s a learning process.
I love participating in art fairs. You can see so much art and creativity that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
You learn to accept good remarks, as well as criticism. It also helps me listen better to my clientele, what they want to see more of and what else they are looking for.
Some points you take or accept, others you don’t. Again it’s always a learning experience.
Words of wisdom for our beginners just getting started…
To sum things up – here are my best tips that you need to know about making jewelry and bead weaving:
- Beading is an addiction (albeit a very good one).
- The more you do, the more you will perfect your work.
- You will definitely use more than one tube of beads.
- You will probably use more than one needle in every piece (not many people went through a whole piece with their needle staying straight).
- Seeing is very important – a good set of glasses or magnifiers are recommended.
- You will be able to thread the needle (it’s a challenge, but it can be done).
- You might find some stitches easier than others. Open your mind to learning all of them. The more stitches you mix and use, the more options you will have.
- Consider taking workshops, classes, subscribe to bead magazines such as BeadWork and Bead&Button, read beading books and go, at least once, to the Bead&Button show in Milwaukee (held every June). It’s a wonderful experience.
- Go to art fairs and see what other beaders are doing.
- And always remember that you’re among many friends that share your love for beading.
In conclusion, you can find my work on my web site, there, you can see all my creations and also some finished pieces from other bead artists that I’ve taken workshops from over the years. I have also recently added instructions to few of my designs as well, they are fun and easy to follow. Venture over and give one a try.
You can also find me via Facebook if you would like to contact me or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would enjoy hearing from you.
all photos published with permission from Ravit Stoltz©
Thank you Ravit for sharing so much with us today.
Can’t you just hear the excitement and passion in these words from Ravit. Sounds like a road trip time for a beading class with Ravit, who’s with me?
As a jewelry instructor listening to another instructor share of her experiences, the passion that seeps through her words is what we thrive on with our classes. It drives us to repeatedly promote the classes that are working and create new class projects to share.
I hope you enjoyed our time together today with Ravit and learning yet another story of a bead-thusiast. I repeated say we all learn in different ways but starting with the basics, building that foundation is where it all starts since…
Everyone Starts At the Beginning.
If you have an aching desire to become a jewelry instructor or just want to connect with other instructors then Ravit and I are here to help. Feel free to reach out, ask your questions. A teacher’s heart loves to inspire and that’s just what we want to do for you, inspire that creativity and that instructor that may be in you.
Share your thoughts and comments below. Tell us something new you learned for our visit with Ravit.
Join the conversation, we’ll be waiting.
In the meantime thank you again for visiting with us.