Ceramic beads, interview with bead and jewelry artist Jana Bližňáková

Happy Fish Things, handmade ceramic pendant

My guest this month is the very talented Czech bead and jewelry artist Jana Bližňáková from Happy Fish Things. She makes just the most whimsical ceramic and polymer clay beads you can imagine. And her jewelry is stunning. Meet Jana.

Jana Bližňáková from Happy Fish Things at work


Q: Can you tell us a bit of the beginning of your career as a bead artist?
I never thought I would become a bead artist, although I have always been into arts and crafts in my teens, be it needlework, sewing, or making paper and leather beads and

Handmade earrings by Happy Fish ThingsIt never crossed my mind that one day I could actually become a bead or jewelry maker and seller. Life’s circumstances have led my path in an entirely non-artistic way and after graduating at the University of Economics I was all set to spend my productive years in an office job of some kind. Meeting my hubby at my age of 34 changed my life. He reset my mind and made me believe in myself. I put away all my fears and started to make beads and jewelry again. Soon I discovered Etsy and it did not take long to open my own small shop.






Handmade ceramic beads by Happy Fish Things

Q: Do you work full time as an artist?
No, I have a daily job in a telecommunications company, and bead making is my escape from the stressful office into a place where I can do things that let me express myself.  Recently I have cut my working hours at the company to three days a week, which allows me to spend more time in my studio. Bliss!

Handmade ceramic earring drops by Happy Fish Things

Q:  If I’m correct you started making your beads with polymer clay, but the focus is now more on ceramic. Can you tell us why you switched to ceramics? Are you planning to explore other materials as well in the future, like glass or metal?
From the first pack of polymer clay that I held in my hands I knew it was a temporary solution. Not that I don’t like polymer, on the contrary, it is a material with awesome qualities and I love wearing polymer clay necklaces and bracelets, but it is just not enough...ceramic clay is a living thing, natural, unlike polymer, and this “life of clay” is what speaks to me most.

Happy Fish Things, polymer clay beads and bracelet

The craving for clay started long ago when I was a little child and visited a pottery maker in our town. I was amazed when I saw all the things he was making. I was stunned. My life took a different direction soon after that, so I never visited him again, but the craving stayed deep inside me, waiting for the right time to crawl out.
I also like using metal, and I have already explored this material a little bit, just not enough yet to come up with my own designs.

Handmade ceramic earring charms by Happy Fish Things

Q: Are you self-taught?
With regards to polymer clay yes, I am self-taught, I read many books about polymer clay and purchased tutorials from various artists, but I never visited any classes. However, with ceramic it is different. I am attending courses at a ceramic school in Kohoutov. The lessons are given by Czech ceramic artists, and each lesson is such a wonderful gathering of like-minded people that I always come home energized and happy at heart. There is so much to learn in ceramics and I am only at the beginning!

Handmade ceramic pottery by Happy Fish Things 

Q: What inspires you in your work?
Silence. Small rivers, murmuring when stroking pebbles and tickling fishes on their bellies. Side wind that makes everyone bend. Tree roots that have found their way through pavement and people keep tripping over them. Fire. The process of living, growing, shining, then decay, decomposition… and rebirth, all happening again and again. Nature and its powers.

Handmade earrings by Happy Fish Things

Ceramic beads by Happy Fish Things
Q: Your business name is Happy Fish Things. Could you tell us a bit more why you choose that name?

Fish comes from my Zodiac sign, Pisces.
Happy, because that is what I aim for – to make people happy by delivering them something that made me happy in the process of creating... Multiplied happiness . You may call it naivety. But what would the world be like if naive people did not exist?  


Art by Happy Fish Things

Q: What does a typical day in the life of Jana looks like?
Well, my typical day is my work day: around 5:45am wake up, 6:45am go to work, 6pm arrive home from work, walk the dog, 7pm dinner, 8pm trying not to fall asleep, catching up on Etsy convos and Facebook messages… falling asleep over the first page of my book around 9ish... It does not sound like fun, but I actually really like my job at the company I work for, if only the daily commuting to and from work did not take several hours.
My non-typical day is much more relaxed, having no rigid pattern, it involves long sleep (at least till 8am), slow and nice breakfast, then going to my studio and then - forgetting the time...... oh, and playing with the dog .

Ceramic art by Happy Fish Things

Q: Is there a particular bead and/or jewelry artist you admire or whom you consider a role model?
There are many artists that I adore or admire, for example Sona Grigoryan, but I cannot pick one as a role model. I wish to follow my own path and I have not yet found my place in ceramics, I am still very much just playing and learning, exploring the possibilities of clay… not sure where this will take me. I keep my mind open to whatever may come.

Ceramic bead set by Happy Fish Things

Q: If you were not a bead artist, what would you be doing?
If I could choose, then a scenic dancer, in my dreams at least. In reality, it would most probably be an architect or a math teacher.

Handmade earrings by Happy Fish Things

Q: Do you have a life motto and if so, would you like to share this with us?
There are many mottos or quotes that speak to me and it is difficult to pick one of them as my only life motto... But here’s one for all: Be positive. A simple one, but very powerful if you really live by it.

Handmade ceramic pendant by Happy Fish Things

Handmade earrings by Happy Fish Things

Q: Do you have tips, tricks or advise you like to share with us?
I do not feel confident as to be giving advice to others... but this is what I ‘advise’ to myself: Work hard. Work harder. Learn. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is an opportunity to learn and to move forward. And whatever you do, be yourself. Don’t try to be like someone else.

Happy Fish Things

Jana, thank you so much for this wonderful interview. I am certain you make a lot of people very very happy with your creations. And I can't wait to see where your artistic journey will lead you.

Do you want to own a beautiful piece of art from Jana? Just go to her website or her etsy shop.

She also has a Facebook page were you can find the latest news.

And of course this interview would not be complete without a give-away.

Give-away one, your pick: necklace or earrings

I have made a necklace and a pair of earrings with some of Jana's wonderful beads. The winner of this price can pick its favorite.

This bohemian style, long necklace  made with a beautiful ceramic pendant from Jana, combined with sponge coral, Czech glass, (silver plated) brass, vintage lucite, a faux suede tassel and ball chain. The pendant has two sides.

Handmade necklace by Janine Lucas from Esfera Jewelry

Handmade necklace by Janine Lucas from Esfera Jewelry

Handmade bohemian necklace by Esfera Jewelry, Janine Lucas

The long earrings are made with lovely handmade ceramic charms and beads from Jana in her signature colors orange and blue, complemented with lampwork glass beads from Amy Hall, some silverplated brass, vintage lucite and handmade copper earwires from Faerystones.

Handmade earrings in blue and orange by Janine Lucas from Esfera Jewelry

Handmade earrings by Janine Lucas from Esfera Jewelry 

Give-away 2, suprise kit

The second price is a surprise kit, containing some of Jana's lovely beads and a couple of coordinating (art) beads. You will not be disappointed. Jana was so kind to gift me some beads and it goes without saying that I pass these on.
If you are not a jewelry maker and you have won this price, I'm more than willing to work together with you to make the perfect piece of jewelry with the beads.

 Surprise bag

How can you enter this give-away?

If you are a regular reader of my interviews you know the drill by now.

If you are here for the first time: entering is very simple, all you have to do is comment on this post, to get a change to win one of these give-aways.

There are lots of ways you can increase your chances of winning too...

Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one:

·    Share this give-away on your own blog
·    Share this give-away on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
·    Subscribe to my newsletter (see top of page, to the right hand side)
.    Subscribe to the newsletter from Happy Fish Things
·    Subscribe to my email-list (to receive special promotions)
·    Become a follower of my facebook page
·    Become a follower of the facebook page of Happy Fish Things
·    Follow me on Pinterest
.    Follow me on google+
·    Like my Etsy shop
.    Like the Etsy shop of Happy Fish Things
·    Anything else you can think of to spread the word.

Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximize your chances though!
Don't worry if you don't see your comments appear immediately. I need to approve them first, otherwise spamrobots will be able to enter the give-away as well.

The draw will close at 10am GMT on Sunday August 23, 2015 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later that day.

The next artist in this series of interviews with Bead Artists is Janice Everett from J-lynn Jewels.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you next time.


Lovely giveaways

Liken your FB page :-) some times ago :-)!!!

Lovely giveaways

Liked Janas etsy shop!!

Lovely giveaways

Faved your etsy shop!!!

BTW: love this Interview :-)

Facebook share

I shared this on Facebook.

Love your jewelry and have

Love your jewelry and have already favorited you on Etsy.


This was a great interview! I love her work and already follow her facebook page so it was great to kind of see into her creative process.


I already like your page!! (VERY MUCH!!)

Love this interview - big fan

Love this interview - big fan of Jana's and your work, Janine!


Subscribed to this blog

Posted a link on FB

Posted a link to this interview on my fb page

Loved the interview, love the jewelry, beads and components

Jana's work is very inspiring, and I loved reading about her artistic journey. I hope to add some of her items to my stash very soon.

Thank you for a great interview!


Love your earrings...colors are wonderful!!

Fantastic interview! Am a

Fantastic interview!

Am a HUGE admirer & patron of Jana's work. Would love a chance to win the earrings & the kit x

liked happy fish etsy

liked happy fish etsy

I am already a liker of Happy

I am already a liker of Happy Fish Facebook Page

liked your etsy

liked your etsy

Signed up for your

Signed up for your promotions!

subscribed to happy fish

subscribed to happy fish

Is there a way to only enter

Is there a way to only enter for the ready made prize? I don't want to mess it up if I win the kit.

Daria, ready made prize

Hi Daria,

Thank you so much for entering the give-away.
If you like I can only enter your name into the drawing of the ready made prizes, no problem.
Or I can always make you a design with the kit to no extra costs. So you will have a piece of jewelry custom made for you.

Wishing you a wonderful day,

This necklace and ear ring

This necklace and ear ring are fantastic

Happy Fish Etsy

I favorited Happy Fish on Etsy

Esfera Etsy

I like your etsy!

Google+ Follow

I follow you on Google+


I follow you on Pinterest

Follow Happy Fish on Facebook

I am following Happy Fish on Facebook.

Follow Happy Fish on Facebook

I am following Happy Fish on Facebook.

Follow Esfera on facebook

I follow you on facebook.

Happy Fish newsletter

Subscribed to the newsletter from Happy Fish Things


Shared on google+


Shared on twitter!


Shared on my facebook


Shared on my blog :)

I shared on

I shared on FB.


I love the chance to learn

I love the chance to learn about artisans that are new to me. Thank you!

Jana's Interview

Liked Happy Fish Things Etsy shop.

Jana's interview

Am a new follower of Happy Fish Things Facebook page.

Jana's interview

Subscribed to Happy Fish Things newsletter

Jana's interview

Already am a liker of your Etsy shop.

Jana's interview

Already follow you on Pinterest

Jana's interview

Already follow you on Facebook.

Jana's intervier

Already subscribe to your e-mail list.

Jana's interview

Already subscribe to your newsletter.

Jana's Interview

Very interesting interview. Really enjoy reading them.

Jana's choice of clay vs polymer

Love the rustic quality of Jana's work. I was struck by her comments about working with clay vs polymer clay. I work with glass beads, sea glass, shells...all from the earth. Although polymer art can be beautiful it just doesn't resonate with my soul. I haven't used much ceramic but after seeing Jana's beads I am inspired to try hers. Thanks for a great interview.

Happy Fish

Signed up for your email list (possibly again)

Happy Fish

Long ago followed you on pinterest, so I shared a few of your pins

Happy Fish

Long ago faved Happy Fish Things shop, so I faved some items in her shop. (yours too)

Happy Fish

Long ago faved your etsy shop

Happy Fish

Liked Happy Fish things facebook page

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