a love letter

A long time ago, I used to make beads. Back then, I had a blog that I really, really liked. Maybe you liked it too. But it’s time for fresh starts and moving on and all that stuff. So here it is, a brand new blog. Welcome. Let me just say right off the bat that I’m not a fan of the design of newblog, but there are limited choices for free blog designs (no, I didn’t design it), and until Uglibeads starts turning a profit again, here we are. Maybe it will grow on me.

Dipping my toe in the beadmaking waters again after so many years feels weird, and I’m sure that’s something you’ll hear me comment on a lot. It feels a bit lonely, you know? Like, I used to have all these customers and supporters who followed my work and chatted with me regularly, and now I don’t know where to find any of them. Ok, I know where a few of them are (which is amazing, after all these years – Hi Rickie and Annette and BBF Karen)… but it’s a little bit like throwing a party and not knowing whether anybody is actually going to show up. But I know that building a community takes time, based on my previous experience making beads for a living. It took me a few years to make a name for myself back then, and I expect it will again.

Still, I’m in an unusual position. I ‘feel’ like an ‘old’ beadmaker (I did start making beads 11 years ago, after all…), but after a very long hiatus, in many ways I’m a ‘new’ beadmaker too. When I wind glass on a mandrel these days it feels familiar, but far from easy. When I look at my new beads my heart aches a little, when I note the difference between the beads I used to make and the beads I’m making now. It’s hard to start over. I’m not an absolute beginner, but I’m more beginner than I am ‘old pro’. Wanting to fast forward to the part where things get easy and my beads look like I want them to look is probably not a big surprise, but I know that it doesn’t work that way.

I occasionally pop on to the lampwork forums (like www.lampworketc.com) to see what’s afoot in the beadmaking world, and one thing is for sure – since I ‘retired’ in 2005, there’s been a constant influx of new beadmakers out there. On the one hand, it’s good for the health of the community; lots of people actively making beads, buying supplies, taking classes, sharing knowledge and techniques… But on the other, if you want to make a living selling your work, it’s kinda easy to get lost these days in a sea of people selling lampwork beads. Have you searched Etsy lately for lampwork beads? Yeah, me too. It’s a bit wild and wooly trying to find anything that really stands out. I don’t remember it being so overwhelming back in the day.

In any case, times change. Beadmakers come and go. Some of the beadmakers that I really admired stopped making beads too, and I really miss seeing their beautiful work. Kim Miles decided to retire, and now champions the Vegan lifestyle on her new blog http://www.positivelyveganlife.com. I miss Alicia Abla. She used to make the most unique and amazing things ever. I’m so glad I purchased a few of her pieces when I could. Jan Harris was around selling on Ebay back when I was, and she made the most colorful and spirited stuff. I see she has an Etsy account but it doesn’t seem to have been updated recently: http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/milagritosglassbeads. Well, as I said, times change and we change with them.

What I really wanted to say is that mostly I’m here, attempting to climb back in the saddle because of my husband. Today is our two-year wedding anniversary, and every day I look at him and realize that I love him just a little bit more. He believes in me, and he really believes in this bead thing. He keeps telling me that not many people can pursue work in the arts, and he’s right. It’s a special thing.

Thanks, sweetie, for pushing me to start over. It’s time. It’s exciting. And you are the most special person I’ve ever met. I knew the moment we stopped each other in the hallway at school to talk, that I wanted you around forever. Happy anniversary. And Happy Birthday to Uglibeads 2.0. It’s a good day.

Beads soon.

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9 thoughts on “a love letter

  1. whoa! what a treat to find this on my flipboard feed! look forward to whatever you post. I get to make beads maybe one a year at a workshop (hothead in the kitchen not such a great idea) and skipped a few years myself. it’s amazing what’s out there glass-wise. oooo, this is a cool gift for the holidays.

    • Wow, Judy! You found me on flipboard? How awesome. I checked out your blog, which I didn’t know you had… So great. You are such an amazingly creative person… which I knew already from your photography but your drawings and writings are phenomenal too. Love the figure drawings. Brings back happy memories of art school. Happy holidays!!

      Also, thanks Dad.

  2. My Dearest Julie, Congradulations on your’s & Dan’s anniversary, And the re-incarnation of Uglybeads. It’s been awhile but I believe it’s over due. You have a wonderful talent, determination and ability to introduce your artistic talent to a newer generation of appreciative followers. Looking forward to seeing your new creations as time goes on … You’ll be at the top Again, I know it!

  3. Hi Julie- happy anniversary! I’m just home from an incredibly happy and romantic dinner out for my 7th anniversary and it was sweet to see this note. After a deep and reflective conversation about love it was affirming to see your letter too – we are blessed to have spouses that see things in us that we can’t always see as clearly. Best wishes with the re-newed blog. Thinking of a beautiful Pedder bay so long ago…..
    Emily

  4. How absolutely fabulous to see you’ve returned to beadmaking!!! I am so very happy about that. I’m still plugging away at it, all these years later. There may be more beadmakers, but, like you’ve seen, there are also fewer. Welcome back and I wish you all the prosperity in the world.
    Love, Lori (loribeads)

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