Petra Hergarden is a female artist from the Netherlands. She was born in Utrecht in the year 1964 and now resides in Oostelbeers, North Brabant, a small town approximately 100km south of Amsterdam.
Her journey into bead and jewelry making started a couple of years ago, after she had attended a workshop at a family-wife-day. She found out that she really liked it, so she started buying some equipment for jewelry making at a local shop right after that workshop. Just a short time later, she attended two five-day courses which were held by a jewelry bead shop in Eindhoven, a town nearby. She started arranging a workspace in her living room, for she had already equipped herself well with all sorts of materials. The jewelry she made back then was made of polymer clay, known as “Fimo children’s clay”.
As Petra developed her hobby further, she found out that this polymer clay had limits, namely, not being possible to make transparent beads out of it. So she searched the internet for “transparent beads”. That was when she first explored a great variety of beautiful glass beads in all styles and sizes, with flowers inside, etc. She also found out that those beautiful beads could be made by her own self.
She became so inspired that it wasn’t long until she bought her first propane torch, the tool needed and used to fuse glass. The lady from whom she bought that device instructed her on how to use it safely. That was where Petra’s addiction to making the most beautiful glass beads began.
As her jewelry making grew, the amount of equipment and torches with oxygen generators started growing and she needed more room to work in. Her husband nicely restored a former sheep shed for her to have her own workshop, with enough room to do her artwork, and even a small kitchen and bathroom section. Petra told us with a smile that even this roomy workshop already starts feeling too small. There are a lot of glass rods of different kinds and colors and also a lot of “frit”, small crumbles of glass of different colors and color mixes that Petra really loves to work with, since it is always a surprise how the beads turn out in the end.
Petra loves making beads with flowers in them although they are still difficult to make for her so when she gets one done, she is very proud of herself. What Petra also loves making are “remembrance-beads”. She told us that people come to her with a small amount of the ashes of a loved one who passed away to work the ashes into a glass bead. This way they can always have their beloved ones with them in a bracelet, necklace or even in a glass ring.
Petra takes classes and workshops from time to time to learn a new technique and she also learns from internet sources. She gets her inspiration for her artwork from things that surround her and she is very obsessed with colors of nature, fabrics or flowers. Even if she had scheduled her day in the workshop to practice a technique she hasn’t yet perfected, she very often gets side-tracked by all the colors and materials, and often the result of her work turns out to be completely different than what she had in mind before. That is exactly what Petra likes in her art – free expression and exploration of the material.