Some interesting facts about stuff I work with


For my objects and jewelry, I use a plethora of materials and basic elements. Over the years I collected a sizable stock of glass bottles, boxes, jewelry findings, beads, and mirrors. I bought stock lots of yarn and fabrics and I built up a diverse collection of tools and instruments so I can tackle any assembly challenge imaginable.

Every bit and piece has, of course, a story connected to it. But that’s not what this post is about. Here I will try to give some insight into the typical do’s and don’ts that come with some of the most important materials I work with, or which may be best suited for the job you have in mind.

Polymer clay

Polymer clay holds a special place in my collection. Not so much for the characteristics of the material, but for more sentimental reasons. It was the medium that first set me off in my creative journey and which made me discover all those other things I could create just by my hands, other than knitting, crocheting, or sewing.

One great and typical trait of polymer clay is its versatility. You can (re)create basically any object or texture you could possibly have in mind. And you can imitate an endless variety of stuff, whether it’s ivory, sea glass, aged metallic or natural stone like jade or turquoise, in a much less costly manner, and sometimes also more environmental-friendly.

Beware, however, to keep your clay out of direct sunlight and excessive heat. It may dry out and lose its nice softness. A cool, dark, and dry place and placing each package in resealable bags will be the ideal way to store it.

Used bottles

Everyone uses glass bottles. Even the Romans used them (although less frequent I guess). And you may not be aware of the enormous variety they come in until you decide to do something more with them than to thrash them or bring them in for recycling.

When you look for small bottles with a particular shape, sauces and (olive) oils appear to be a rich hunting ground. Something is there for everyone’s taste. Cleaning some of them can be a nuisance but no quick and dirty jobs here; the smell can spoil all the fun.

Glass beads

Beads are one of those items you never can have enough of. I especially have a weak spot for glass beads. More specifically even, Czech glass beads. They are the product of an old craft that dates back to the earliest days of European glassmaking in Bohemia and they come in an unbelievably rich variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. And no, most of these beauties you can’t imitate in polymer clay.

Reused silk

When it comes to holding things together, we start talking about the soft stuff, the ribbons, and yarn that give an extra nice touch and feel to the skin, for example for bracelets. I discovered reused silk, made from old sari’s, that both provides the deep and rich colors of the orient, combined with the softness that makes you wish to wear a piece forever.

Banana yarn

To complete the nature-friendly set of favorite indispensables for my jewelry-making there is the banana yarn, a unique chunky hand-spun fiber, which provides both the natural structure, the elegant softness, pearly sheen as well as the strength that is needed to hold a set of decorative elements together in a necklace or bracelet.

Of course, these are but a few of the many resources I collected and which are precious to me. However, all of them contribute both to my pleasure to create, and hopefully to yours to wear Yohari jewelry.

A short introduction to Yohari

This website and the collection of creations and jewelry that became Yohari are the result of many years of unexpected developments and surprises that life sometimes offers. But most and for all, they represent the outcome of early acquired skills and growing love for natural textures, living colors, and authentic materials that breathe the tradition of the many cultures that represent our human heritage.

When I started my creative work in 2010, it was merely a distraction from a stressed occupation as a scientist. And very soon what started as just a hobby became a true passion. Since then I have experimented with different mediums, tried out and mastered various techniques, followed international art workshops, met amazing people, and learned a lot about the world of crafts and its community.

From my early childhood on I could find much pleasure in knitting and crocheting. In those days girls were usually taught those skills at a quite early age and the feeling of soft wool sliding through your fingers and the pleasure of seeing a garment grow from your needles forever stays in your memory. That same pleasure emerged from working with other materials I discovered, that produce similar tantalizing tactile sensations. I’m still surprised to find what can be created by just using your fingers.


An evening walk at the lakeside

Living close to nature reminds me every moment of the beauty, but also of the vulnerability of our world. In my small way, I try to take care by using and re-using items and materials from fair, organic, and natural sources as much as I can. Sometimes, those materials, their origins, or their stories, can be a source of inspiration by themselves, adding to ideas for Yohari projects or objects that cross my mind.


Simple things can lead to unexpected pleasure, like waste bottles that turn into colorful artifacts or used mirrors from a flea market that get a second life as an artistic decoration rather than a mere utensil. Or pieces of scrap sari silk that almost spontaneously turn into exotic bracelets.

And then there always is polymer clay, that plastic malleable mass that allows you to create any shape or mimic any material you like and that challenges you to stretch your imagination a bit further every time again.

As a result, Yohari is a mix of media and materials, of ideas and expressions, of crafts and skills that mingle into an artistic adventure, which outcomes fill this website.

Jana van Vliet Ostaptchouk from YohariHere, I would like to share with you the insights, experiences, inspirations, and discoveries from my journey into the world of craft. On Yohari, you also will find short stories and tutorials on how some of my pieces have been created as well as lots of useful and interesting information and links I came across over the last few years.

I hope you enjoy it

Yours, Jana