September 25, 2010

"Quitting My Day Job to Sell on Etsy" by Hagar Arnon Elbaz

Beadwork evolved into making beads out of neckties

When I decided to go study textile design my father claimed right away that it was not a profession. In a way he was right, but I never regretted for a second choosing this path.

A found door was tirned into a miror
 I have worked to earn a living in all kinds of jobs. Some of them had nothing to do with textiles or design but made me gain other important qualifications. For many years I was a handbags buyer for Israeli companies and the design part of my soul was satisfied.  As a buyer, I had to look for materials, follow the world of design, find ways to discover what the next fashionable line was going to be, amend items in order to suit the Israeli taste and go to international exhibitions. 
Through it all, I never stopped designing different things; I made the children's clothing (when they were young enough to wear what I told them to), designed furniture for our home and redecorated furniture and items we found in the streets and in people's storage rooms.

Giving tired furniture a new look.

Three and a half years ago I started making experiments in designing with glass beads and wanted to find a way to create my own beads.  As a great fan of second hand and reused items, I decided to join my brother-in-law on his trip to Brussels in the search of such merchandise.

The market on Place du Jeu de Balle was a paradise and great inspiration for me. We went there every morning for two weeks and I felt like Alice in Wonderland. At one point, I found a huge bundle of neckties and right away I knew that this was what I was looking for. I had no idea of how I would use them, but ten kilos of neckties were packed and traveled home with me. The journey started there.

Place du Jeu de Balle-Brussels

After washing and taking the neckties apart, I started looking for the system that will make a bead out of these wonderful materials. It took me a year and a half to come up with something I was happy with. For the first time in years I just let myself do something for the pleasure of doing it. What a fantastic experience!  I rejected any remarks from the people around me trying to push me into selling the items accumulating in my drawers. I felt I wanted to remind myself of the pleasure of doing something freely only for the sake of doing it. Two years later I actually put my first items for sale on ETSY but still went on working a day job.
It is only now that I decided to make a full time job out this hobby of mine. Wish me luck!


  1. what a super idea...I also love ties, often the best quality fabric, intense, intricate and tactile.

  2. Thanks for your story, Hagar! I love that you too are a 'treasure hunter' like I am - I suppose most designers are. It's so great to create for pleasure, not for trends - though perhaps your work will start one.

  3. I love this story Hagar! And it makes it come to life to see the photos too. It brings the reader right to where you are, no matter where we live. Thank you!


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