Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.



Gunilla Back from Gbkoru on Etsy is the artist of the week.  Besides creating jewelry, which she can't do 24/7, Gunilla's spends time with her husband and two young girls Ronja, 11 and Mirja, 8.  And... in addition to that, she spends time working on a favorite topic for most of us....taxes!   Maybe she can figure out ways that we can pay less ;o)

Gunilla also enjoys her time reading, taking pictures and going to the gym.  In terms of photography, I think you will be pleasantly surprised if you pop on over to her blog to enjoy her fabulous pictures.  The photographs are breathtaking and I think that you will agree so is her jewelry!  Prior to this interview, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Gunilla through networking and I feel fortunate to have met such an interesting person :O) 

With that said, let me introduce Gunilla Back...

....But....whatever you do after enjoying this, do not forget to follow Gunilla's exciting blog and then stop by her shop for some fall accessories!! 

How did you get started with your jewelry business? Was it a surplus of jewelry or did you set out to create jewelry to sell?

I started making jewelry when Mirja was little. I needed a hobby, something I could do at home while Mirja was taking a nap. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I ever would! I make most of my jewelry for myself or as gifts for friends and relatives.

When using ceramic beads/pendants, what it is that you like about them that makes them different from other beads?

I love the feel of the ceramic pieces, all the different textures and glazes. I love handmade components because no two pieces are exactly alike.

What are your thoughts about selling and buying online? Is it mostly an enjoyable experience or not such a great one? Please explain.

So far I haven’t sold anything online. Most bead stores in Finland operate online only. I often order beads from abroad because the selection is bigger. Etsy is a great place to find handmade pendants and beads as well as unusual beads and findings that I can’t get in Finland. I love that the item in the picture is the item you will receive
(most of the time anyway).

Here is a topic that has been popping up on blogs recently..."ORGANIZATION!"
How you do keep all of your jewelry supplies organized?

I wish I could keep it organized! My beads tend to take over all available spaces if I’m not careful. I try to store my beads by materials and colors. The art beads and pendants are in their own drawer, they’re easier to find that way. I haven’t really done any beading all summer. At the moment my desk is covered with the things I’ve bought during the last months.

Are there certain pieces of jewelry that you like to create more than others. For example, are you drawn more to bracelets vs. earrings? Why?

I enjoy making necklaces more than anything else. I also make a lot of earrings, but I rarely make bracelets. I love wearing beaded necklaces with matching earrings or silver bali-style earrings, but I seldom wear bracelets myself.

Do you often have a plan in mind when you sit down to create something or are you like me and just wing it, take it apart, wing it for round two, etc.?

I never have a plan when buying beads or starting to make something. I usually start with a pendant or set of beads that I want to use. I use a bead board and I add or remove beads and move things around several times until I’m happy with the piece.

While looking over your blog, I am taken aback by the GORGEOUS photographs. Do you travel often? I am also fascinated with some of your photos of flowers, etc. Could you tell us a little more about your interest with photography?

I bought my first camera for the money I made from one of my first summer jobs. I’ve always taken a lot of pictures. For the last year I’ve carried my camera with me a lot more than before: when I visit my parents in Porvoo, when I spend my lunch break walking in the Botanic Garden or when we go somewhere together. I’ve tried to capture the beauty I see around me every day. I love how easy it is nowadays to take pictures with a digital camera without having to develop the film.

Are there other venues that you sell at other than Etsy? Is so, could you tell us a little about that? If not, do you think that there might be in the future?

I’ve sold some pieces directly, I’ve made some custom pieces and I’ve done some jewelry repair too.
Right now I don’t have a lot of time for jewelry making, but you never know.

I also have seen pictures of your two beautiful little girls.
Are they interested in creating, as well?

Ronja plays football and Jorma coaches her team. Mirja’s decided to quit football, but she will be taking badminton classes this fall as well as continue swimming. They both enjoy all kinds of crafty things. They are both very interested in my beads. I’ve let the girls make bracelets with elastic cord and glass beads on birthday parties and they really loved it!

Ceramic beads and pendants used are from the following artists:  Marsha Neal Studio, Summers Studio Etc., Artisan Clay, Gaea, Chinook Designs and Mary Harding.


  1. Beautiful Work Gunilla! And beautiful photographs too!

  2. I find Gunilla's work breath taking. I love the large scale of her necklaces. I love the way she uses ceramic pendants. When I first saw a picture of one of the necklaces she made with one of my pendants, I literally gasped. I was breathless for a moment. I am so glad that you have introduced her here on the BOC blog.

  3. I am very found of Gunilla's work. It's bold and earthy and I love the colours she uses. Her blog is a treat too with so many beautiful photos of her everyday life in Finland. Thanks for letting us get to know Gunilla!

  4. Thanks for doing a feature on Gunilla, I'm always so amazed with the beautiful combinations she comes up with!

  5. So earthy and beautiful! Lovely!

  6. A great profile - Gunilla's work is so wonderful and bold - lovely to read more about her too. Vicki

  7. These pieces are really terrific! What an eye for design...you really use your clay pieces to great extent! Looking forward to seeing more!

  8. What a great post! I love your eye for design Gunilla… the materials you use for your jewelry are so perfect together! And I love seeing all the pictures of the things you see every day… Like we're going along with you on the walk! Fabulous...

  9. Beautiful jewelry, such great variety of techniques and materials. I'm inspired!


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