Introduction
 

My name is Maria Decsi-Kiss, I am a bead stitching folk craft artist living in Tolna County Hungary.

I got to the Sárköz in 1970 into a family where folk arts were always loved and familiar, since they were part of the everyday life. First I was attracted to folk songs and dances because in Zalaegerszeg in Ferenc Liszt Musical Elementary School my headmaster and violin teacher was József Vajda widely known folk song gatherer. Later in Decs the traditional pieces of clothing, folk weaves, embroidery impressed me. I found myself bead stitching accidentally, having learnt some simple patterns from my daughter, who was attending bead stitching classes to late Aunt Eva Berekai and her daughter Aunt Eva Oláh.

In 1992 my husband and I founded a summer art camp in Szálka, where among professional programs we volunteered to introduce and teach our visitors the basic steps of the folk crafts of the neighbouring villages. I have been teaching bead stitching since 1993 which encouraged me to improve my knowledge and collect all the old patterns available. For this job I submitted a tender to Pro Renovanda Cultura Hungariae Foundation which was a success and my work was financially supported.

In 1997-98 I learnt to be a folk game-house teacher at a course organised by the Hungarian Heritage House and Bonyhád Cultural House, at the end of which I wrote my thesis on Sárköz bead collars. In his evaluation, Dr Gabor Tarján ethnographer wrote about this work: "Undeniably valuable piece of work. Very good literature adaptation and the collection work is of high value as well. The photo collection is also excellent. This work is worth publishing!"

Until 1997 I did not dare to be judged by the jury. Because the president and secretary of the reformed Tolna County Folk Art Association encouraged me to submit my works to the jury of the Folk Art Council. I have asked for their guidance and professional opinion every year since that time.

I have been a member of Tolna County Folk Art Association since 1996, I was chosen president of control committee in 1999 and secretary of association in 2000. Since 1996 I have participated in folk art exhibitions and tenders.

Since for my works I received A and B categories from the jury and as a result of my participation in countrywide tenders, I obtained the Folk Craft Artist title.

Since 2001 with the association I have been organising bead stitching camps, where we teach how to stitch the Sárköz bead collar to those adults who are interested in learning traditional Hungarian techniques.

Since 2002 every third year the association announces the National Folk Jewel Tender connected to the Danube Folk Festival in Szekszárd. At the tender wooden, bone, horn, leather, horse-hair and goldsmith jewels are also welcome beside beads.

In 2004 due to the appeal of the Alliance of Folk Art Associations, the Hungarian Heritage House and Hungarian bead stitchers, I became member of the "Miscellaneous" (bead, horse-hair, goldsmith, egg, honey-cake) Professional Committee, then after its division, member of the Folk Jewel Professional Committee. See the members.

Since November 2004 I am also a member of the jewel section jury for the request of Hungarian Heritage House Folk Craft Arts Division.

 

Awards, acknowledgements, exhibitions
   
1999.
First Prize at Living Folk Art regional tender. Four of my works were presented at the national exhibition.
 
2000.
Prize at Handicraft Masterpieces in the Museum of Applied Arts. Third prize at 4th Folk Craft Art tender, Kecskemét. I received the Folk Craft Artist title.
 
2001.
Awarded at Millenium Arts and Crafts tender. Common exhibition in Csurgó together with Márta Oláh.
 
2002.
Awarded at Hungarian Arts and Crafts 2002 tender. Special award of Tolna County Chamber of Commers and Industry.
 
2003.
My works were presented at the exhibition of Handicraft Masterpieces in the Museum of Applied Arts. I received the shared second prize at the 7th National Folk Craft Arts tender.
 
2004.
Awarded at Hungarian Arts and Crafts 2004 tender. "My craft, you beautiful..." common exhibition with Zsuzsa Szalai dress designer and Márta Oláh bead stitching folk craft artist in the gallery of the National Coursebook Publishing Company.
 
2005.
"My craft, you beautiful..." common exhibition with Zsuzsa Szalai dress designer and Márta Oláh bead stitching folk craft artist in Limes Gallery in Révkomárom. Awarded at Hungarian Arts and Crafts 2005 tender.
 
2006.
"My craft, you beautiful..." common exhibition with Zsuzsa Szalai dress designer and Eszter Kerti jeweller folk craft artist in Tamási Gallery. My works were presented at Hungarian Arts and Crafts tender exhibition. My works were presented at the 7th National Folk Craft Art tender exhibition.
 
2007.
I received the special award of Pro Renovanda Cultura Hungariae Pro Folk Art Special Foundation at Hungarian Arts and Crafts 2007 tender.
 
2008.
I received the special Creator's award of the Prime Minister's Office at Hungarian Arts and Crafts 2008 tender. See the pictures.