Face to Face: Meet Sara Lilja
We got to the end of the month and that’s the time for the Face to Face interviews with our fellow beaders and designers!
The Beadingschool Club has many great beaders who are coming from Sweden and are simply fantastic in their unique style and signature under every single piece.
Yes. She’s one of them – amazing, talented, focused on perfection in every detail that inspire the rest of us. We love to laugh together about the number of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and bead mats she helps us to reduce, but while beading with the rest of “Erika’s gang” the number of her UFOs and beadmats slightly increased ;).
Meet the super-organized and inspiring beader and designer, Sara Lilja!
Please tell us about yourself a bit! When and how did you start to create? How did you learn to bead?
My name is Sara Lilja and I live in Ängelholm, which is in the south of Sweden, together with my boyfriend Mattias and our 3 cats of the Exotic Shorthair breed. I started making jewelry in 2015 when I could no longer work due to my illness, EDS (Ehler Danlos Syndrome). I loved my job as a medical secretary and it was a great sadness to not be able to continue. I had to keep busy during the day to keep me from going crazy so that’s when the beads came into my life. I am completely self-taught but checked a lot on the internet.
Is beadwork your hobby or profession? How does your average day look like? When do you have time to create?
It’s a hobby but would have liked it to be professional.
My day starts around 10 am when I get up and do my routines. I usually have quite a lot of pain in the morning so I take it easy. Towards the afternoon/evening, I take out my beads and watch TV while I bead and of course cuddle with my cats. Sometimes I go and rest for a while if I’m in a lot of pain. Then my boyfriend and I cook together and eat. Sometimes we take a drive and sometimes a walk in the forest that is close to us. I am a night person and I’m often awake until 2-3 am. I love the silence at night, it’s the time when I’m most creative.
Tell us about the piece of jewelry you are the most proud of!
I recently made a pendant of my own design in bead embroidery that I was pleased and proud of. I have understood that many people sketch and plan before how the design should look. I can’t do that, can’t draw a straight line or plan ahead. I start somewhere, usually in the middle, and then let the beads show me the way step by step. Are there more like me?
Where do you like to create? Do you have a designated area in your home where you keep your beads? Can you show it to us? (You can share your best practice/tip on how to keep things organized as we know you’re real master 🙂 )
I am lucky to have a room for all my beads which I share with my boyfriend, he have like 20 % of the room for his hobbies and the rest of it is mine.
I think most people know me by now. I like to keep my beads and accessories organized. It’s key to have a good overview when selecting beads for a project, then I use my time with beading, not looking for beads and components. I know where I have every single bead! It’s almost a little sick 😂 I love sorting and organizing. The latest storage that I’m happy with is a plexiglass drawer where all my Czech special beads have been placed. Looks like candy!
The truth is, I have this lovely organized room but most of the time I bead in the sofa in front of the TV and in summer at my balcony!
What is your favourite stitch? Which colours do you like the most? On the other hand, is there any colour or colour combination you try to avoid?
I like so many! Peyote if I just can say one but I also like RAW, CRAW, PRAW because there are so many possibilities. Bead embroidery is my love!
Turquoise and green is my absolute favourite colors but I like many. I have a hard time working with yellow and red. I love black but I think it’s boring to bead in black.
Do you follow instructions or do you like to develop your own designs? How would you define your style?
I do both. Do I have a style? Maybe a bit romantic because I often use soft colors.
You joined and succeeded many challenges and beading competitions. Which win (personal or awarded by jury) do you treasure the most?
I treasure all of them that has won prizes of course because then I have pushed and challenged myself. The first bead embroidery I became very proud of and love is the one with the heart and tassel that I won second prize with in the Beadingschool competition a couple of years ago. The last Beadingschool competition where I won prizes in all 3 categories I am also very proud of, it is so incredibly difficult to take in, 2 first prizes and 1 second prize! I am so very grateful.
Another is a keychain I won first prize with in the big Swedish competition at Beadalong. The theme was “Home Sweet Home”. The key stands for my home that I love and feel safe in, the cat for my lovely cats, the heart for my loved ones and the beaded bead for my hobby that I love, BEADING! 🙂
Who are your favorite designers? Why?
Of course Erika because all that she does for the beading community and she have great patterns. She also let us play a lot and come up with our own ideas. I also like Sabine Lippert and the gurus of Bead embroidery, Heidi Kummli, Jamie Cloud Eakin and Sherry Serafini. I also like BéKata, Heatherworks and so many more!
Do you have a favorite design by Erika? Tell us about it!
Wow, there are so many but I have to say Estrella, I have made 3 pendants and so many bracelets. Really love that pattern and it’s so fun to do! Can I please say one more? Lemonade! Love that one too!
Which is the bead / component in your stash which you treasure the most? Do you already have plans on how to use it?
I have some vintage Swarovski cabochons that I love. I also love my special Czech beads like all the different flower beads, origami flower bead, dragonfly beads, table cut beads. I try to use them in bead embroidery.
If you could design something for a well-known person or maybe a fictional character from a film or book, who would it be, and why?
I would love to design jewelry for like a movie or serie, maybe Bridgerton or Downtown Abby. Game of Thrones would be awesome, actually I made the necklace of the Red Lady in beads.
What are your plans for the future as a beader? Is there something you would really like to learn?
Right now I’m working on a piece of jewelry that I will compete with in The Battle of the Beadsmith, it will be my first time. I was a bit persuaded to join now even though I said that I want to join someday 🙂 but I think it’s going to be a fun experience.
A technique I would like to learn is Soutage. Zuzi was so kind and sent me a book she no longer needed about Soutage and some cord and I will try it for sure. I also want to try making my own clay cabochons.
Where can we see and buy your designs?
I have my Facebook page, Lilycats Designs and Instagram with the same name. I used to sell peyote patterns at Etsy but I closed it as my inspiration for new patterns was momentarily gone. I may come back, who knows.
I also sell my jewelry at a Christmas fair every year.
Thank you for answering my questions, Sara!
We all are happy you are such a strong inspiration and that you are beading with us
Please, use the comment section if you have more questions you would like to ask, or greet Sara.
Stay tuned for more interviews for Beadingschool.com by Erika Sándor!