Debbie van Tonder
Debbie van Tonder, the newest designer at Bead Patterns Boutique says she is influenced by “everything I see. I love abstract pictures.” She has been focusing her design efforts on a series of peyote cuffs which are all listed on Bead Patterns Boutique. She says the place where she lives has “loads of flowers and trees, so maybe that is why I love flower bracelets.”
Debbie and her family live in the rural town of Paarl in Cape Town, South Africa. She and her husband, Gerhard, have been married for 22 years. They have “one wonderful daughter”, Kelly, who is in her third year at University. 20-year-old Kelly is working on her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.
Kelly and her boyfriend of four years love to wear Debbie’s creations. Kelly’s favorite piece is Liquorish Sweets. She says she “wears it all the time.” Kelly and her boyfriend fight over the fact that Kelly has three of Debbie’s pieces (Liquorish Sweets, Garden Path and a black and white square piece) and he only has two. “He wants to know where is his third one?” Kelly added.
Debbie and Gerhard have owned an antique shop named Van se Gat (Afrikaans) for 14 years. Debbie works in the shop on weekdays for about five and half hours each day. She says, “My mom and dad did furniture, I always preferred the old furniture.”
Debbie, who has been bead weaving for about a year, learned the technique “to keep me busy while I was at the shop.” She learned the stitch techniques “through reading magazines, and trial and error. I have loads of patience to sit and figure something out till I get it.”
When she is not beading or designing, Debbie “gives homework classes to kids at a school in the afternoon.” She also judges gymnastics. “I am a South African National Gymnastic Judge, so I have to judge a lot to keep my rank.” She does most of her beading in the summer because her judging schedule keeps her very busy in the winter months.
Debbie has been selling her unique, one-of-a-kind beaded pieces for about 8 month. She named her company “Debger Designs” which is a combination of the first three letters of her name and her husband’s name. Her finished pieces can be found in her antique shop and on Etsy and Dawanda. “Beading individual, one of a kind pieces are my favourite, but if I do repeat a design, I NEVER repeat the same colour. EVERYONE DESERVES TO OWN A PIECE OF JEWERLY NOBODY ELSE OWNS,” she says in her shop profile.
On October 10, 2009, Debbie joined Bead Patterns Boutique as a designer. Her first posted pattern was Black Roses. She says she designed this piece because she “loves designing flowers. This piece has arcs and circular shapes—leaves and flowers.” The pattern has been a good seller for Debbie. She has sold a number of copies to date.
Debbie’s favorite piece that she has designed is Circular Fusion. She loves to wear this piece “with my white shirt and jeans for casual wear. I have made three of them, when I sell one, I make another one. I always have one in my Etsy shop.” She added, “I love abstract designs. If I had a choice, everything would be circular. I have to stop myself from making circles or the circular shapes. I have many designs that have arcs.”
Debbie newest design is named Circles in the Sand. “It is a very feminine design,” she commented. “It is woven from the most beautiful pearl white and beige Delica beads.” It can be seen, along with her other wonderful designs, at Bead Patterns Boutique.