I love to dream about what Future Julie’s beads look like. I mean, I have nothing against Present Julie’s beads, but it’s fun to imagine what my work will look like in 5 years… 8 years… 10 years… Will I still be making things in 30 years? I hope so.
When I come across photos of work that an artist created many years ago (which is easy, now that you can find photos of people’s stuff online on various forums, blogs, Pinterest pages, etc.), I get excited when I see how much their work has changed. Sometimes there is a dramatic difference… And I mean DRAMATIC. I always feel like I’ve discovered hidden treasure, because in the difference there lies a reason to be optimistic about Future Julie’s beads.
There is nothing I find more encouraging than seeing the evolution that takes place when someone dedicates themselves to creating things, year after year. When I come across an artist I like on Etsy, one of the first things I do is dive into the archive of their ‘sold’ items. First, I look through some of their recently sold stuff, and then, (and this is the best part), I click on the very LAST page. Where you find the first items they ever sold on Etsy. Usually I’m amazed because the quality, intricacy, and originality of their work has improved so much over time. Seeing this makes you feel like if you stick with it, anything is possible.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time collecting amazing photographs that illustrate my point, and I refer to them constantly to remind myself that if you put in the hours, good things happen. These photos are ‘before and afters’ of beads made by some very well-respected beadmakers who have been working in glass at least as far back as 2005. In these cases, you can see that the artist obviously had a natural talent for making beads right from the beginning, but I’ll wager that a large part of their success has had to do with hard work and perseverance.
If you click on the name of the artist, the link will take you to the page they most actively update – Facebook, blog or website.
Here we go!
1) Trey Cornette (from the United States) is known for very intricate stringer work with dots and lines. I think he’s now mainly making beautiful marbles and pendants with borosilicate glass. Here’s the before, from 2005:
And the after:
2) Lydia Muell (from the United States ) makes absolutely heart-stopping beads that evoke the Renaissance, Victoriana… ornate, and ultra-romantic. Here’s the before, from 2007:
And the after, from 2009:
That’s 2 years, people! 2 years!!
3) Manuela Wutschke (from Germany) makes incredible, whimsical beads full of life and character. Her beads are so recognizable, and each one tells a story. Here’s the before, from 2007:
And the after, a recent one:
4) Anastasia (from Germany) makes very unusual, creative designs. She has such a unique style. Here’s the before, from 2005:
And the after – (of all the beads she’s made, these are my favorite) from 2012:
5) Astrid Riedel (from South Africa) is one of the most innovative beadmakers currently working in glass – no doubt about it. Every time she unveils a new series of beads, they blow your mind because they’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and usually unlike anything she’s done before. Her technical skill is so advanced that I find it impossible to even speculate on how she executes many of her designs. She is a very popular teacher on the international beadmaking circuit, and rightly so. Here’s the before, from 2005:
And the after… PREPARE to have your mind blown….
Really? Are you ready?
And this, my personal favorite:
I don’t use the word ‘genius’ loosely, but this might be a good time to bust it out. Every one of her beads is an incredible work of art. Do yourself a favor and search for ‘Astrid Riedel’ on Pinterest to look at many of the things she’s made (or click here, the link should take you there).
So on those bad beadmaking days, there’s always the inspiration that other artists are leaving behind them as they move forward. Proof that things can only get better, as long as you keep showing up (and getting to work).
p.s. I’ve been working hard on a series of BRIGHT beads… watch for them on Etsy next week!