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Katharina Eder, born on 31.1.1964, lives and works in Mödling near Vienna amongst a big collection of old and new glass beads.
    I almost solely work with glass beads that were produced during the Biedermeier period in Gablonz and are thus hardly available for purchase. My sources are leftover beads and pieces of textile owned by mothers, aunts or grandmothers of my customers, sometimes I manage to find old beads on flea markets around the world. Persistent collection and bargaining have resulted in a considerable accumulation of equipment. I work with beads of different sizes and forms which have thin walls and are very irregular due to their ways of being produced. The hues of antiquarian beads are much more subtle and diverse than those of new, freshly manufactured beads. The use of transparent glass beads and the specific arrangement of threads allow me to accurately emphasize the textile structure of my works. This way, precise tints and nuances of colour, which cannot be achieved by “new” bead material, can be created.
    Since the work with glass beads is rarely taught in Austria I have arduously acquired my knowledge about beads and their processing techniques all by myself. It demands a lot of patience and ultimately toil to work with extremely thin needles, fringing threads and fragile, sharp-edged beads. After thorough study of relevant literature and occupation with processing techniques of glass beads I have decided to mainly use two techniques: Work with needle and thread – I use a square stitch to sew the beads over a wooden model. The square stitch connects the beads from below, the centre and from above. I enjoy using this technique because I have always been mesmerised by patterns and this way I am able to realise them. The peyote stitch and the brick stitch are techniques that I use once in a while, but due to askew patterns they are not as efficient as the square stitch. Work with crochet needle – The beads are crocheted to form tubes which I knot together or simply let their structure bring themselves into effect. My work with old, transparent beads often brings along new opportunities to integrate the thread. That is, I often deliberately use the thread, which is usually concealed, to let it have its very own impact on the pieces I create. Hundreds of years old beads are a substantial element of my work. With their unmatched forms and colouring they constitute to the special appeal of my jewellery.
    The work with colours and forms fascinates me and always offers me input for new creations. Jewellery has to be versatile and should embody an appealing, witty idea. You have to be able to elongate or change the structure of a necklace in order to play with the work pieces. A necklace turns into a brooch, a ring into a part of a necklace which can also be used as an earring. When I deal with a piece of work I try to stick to the material which is why I develop new solutions for jewellery. For instance, I try to create fasteners which are made of the same material as used for the work piece to maintain the best possible unity. The work with “unfamiliar” material, such as wood, felt or fabric, inspires me every year to create different small-scale series. The satisfaction of my clients with my work and the enjoyment of my innovative ideas are proof for the interest in my jewellery.