10 ways to share your creativity

10 ways to share your creativity

I found an article that’s really kinda good. It’s useful advice for people who share/sell their work, but there are some gems in there for anyone who battles with the creative process… I take a look at it from time to time when I need some direction.

“Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” – Bobby Solomon

Find it here: 10 ways to Share your Work and Get Discovered


Raise your hand if you watch your mailbox/letter carrier with a little too much intensity…


My Dad bought me a very special bead for my birthday. It’s coming from Germany. The anticipation is killing me!

In the bead department, I have more bright beads coming this week on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/uglibeads), and so many cool things for next week too!

no more excuses

I’m halfway through my 30 day challenge. If you missed the original post, you can read it here. It’s been a really interesting journey so far. I’m learning a lot about myself, and the barriers to creativity and productivity that were preventing me from being the artist I want to be are starting to crumble, day by day.

Before I started the challenge, it seemed SO hard to get to work. I hadn’t really thought about the reasons… there was always just some kind of invisible force working against me. When I thought about it, I realized that I must be making actual excuses, even if they were subconscious. You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know what you’re up against, so I took out a piece of paper, and I made a note of the ‘reasons not to make beads’ during the first week of the challenge.

Day 1: My arm hurts.
Day 2: I feel tired and achy.
Day 3: I had a busy day and I should probably be cleaning the house instead.
Day 4: I don’t feel like it.
Day 5: It’s too late in the day.
Day 6: I’m out of propane!
Day 7: My neck hurts.

When I looked at the excuses I was making, in writing, I couldn’t believe how pathetic they sounded. I’m a little embarrassed to share them with you, actually. THIS was what was keeping me from expressing myself, from doing something I love to do? I felt so silly. And I was so mad at myself. All those wasted hours.

After the first week, something interesting started to happen. I realized that the excuses were becoming fewer and fewer, and the work was just happening. The mental anguish was kind of slipping away. It just seemed normal that I was going to get to the torch at some point during the day, even if it was at 10 PM, even if I was tired, even if I didn’t feel like it.

Once I made the commitment to working every day (except the weekends!), and I pressed on, no matter what the ‘excuse of the day’ happened to be, I started to feel like I was doing something important. Something worthwhile. Every day was a gift to myself, and practicing self-discipline, as hard as it’s been, has been invaluable. I feel better about  my work, I feel better about myself, and most importantly, I’m having FUN. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

What excuses are preventing you from following your passions?

don’t stop believing

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:
Trey Cornette beads 2005
And the after:
Trey Cornette Beads

Amazing, huh?

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:
Lydia Muell Beads
And the after, from 2009:
Lydia Muell bead

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:
Manuela Wutschke beads
And the after, a recent one:
Manuela Wutschke bead

4) Anastasia (from Germany) makes very unusual, creative designs. She has such a unique style. Here’s the before, from 2005:
Anastasia Lampwork beads
And the after – (of all the beads she’s made, these are my favorite) from 2012:
Anastasia Lampwork beads

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:
Astrid Riedel beads 2005

And the after… PREPARE to have your mind blown….

Really? Are you ready?



Astrid Riedel Mokume Gane bead
And this:
Astrid Riedel Lampwork Bead
And this, my personal favorite:

Astrid Riedel Murrine bead
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!

a gift

I got the BEST message just now, on a day when I’ve been feeling very slumpy indeed. You know when you just get in a ‘mood’, and you kind of wallow there longer than is really necessary? Grey day, go away. Thankfully, the universe usually delivers a pick-me-up, sooner or later, just to remind you that everything is gonna be ok. Here’s my gift from the universe for today:

“I got the bird beads!!!

Not to freak you out with enthusiasm, but they are maybe the cutest beads ever in the history of beads. I am so excited about them…I was crazy about them from your posting and they are even better in person…all the detail and the little faces!! Gah!

I think I need a blog- maybe I can start an Uglibeads fan club blog?!?”

Isn’t that the BEST? I am so lucky that I get to do what I do, with people like you.

out and about friday

When you work at home, alone, and most of what you do is on the internet, you start to feel like a bear in a cave. I have to be prodded with a stick to come out. A big stick. Yes, I am fully aware that this isn’t super healthy, but what can I say? I’m reclusive. Especially in the winter, when it seems like such a drag to get all bundled up to trudge through the snow.

I felt inspired today to emerge for a little outing, and I’ve been meaning to visit the Alberta Craft Council Gallery Shop, which is only a few blocks from my house, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. No time like the present!

Alberta Craft Council Gallery shopThey have a lot of beautiful fine craft items, all handmade by Alberta Craft Council members. There is no mass produced anything. TONS of ceramics, which, I’ll admit, isn’t really my thing. Not the large pieces, anyway. (I quite like ceramic beads). They also have a lot of blown glass, displayed in the windows all around the shop. One of the best, and I think, most beautiful things about glass is the way it transmits light, and they really show that off. I got one shot of a few pieces by Darren Petersen of Red Deer (I think), though it’s a terrible picture. I was trying to be sneaky; I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take photos.

Darren Peterson blown glass vasesGorgeous, aren’t they? They have a really wide price range of glass items, from $130 to about $2500, so there are lots of things that are affordable. There were many display cases of beautiful jewelry, mostly very expensive high-end silver and gold things. I could only find two artists who made jewelry with lampwork beads, though they had nice stuff. I always love to see beads in person – it’s so different from seeing photos online!

Next stop was my favorite hangout in Edmonton, Remedy Café on Jasper Ave. They have the best chai anywhere. When you take a sip, your body just settles, and says, ‘ahhh, let’s just relax here for a while’…. They make a special blend of chai, with 20 secret ingredients or something. It’s amazing. We discovered that they sell their chai syrup in big jugs so you can take it home… I love making frozen chai with blended ice and lots of milk.

Remedy Cafe Edmonton chaiThey also have great Indian food with lots of gluten free options. I had tandoori chicken with rice. Mmmmm. Our regular standby is the masala dosa, but I wasn’t quite that hungry today. If you’ve never had a dosa, which is a South Indian thing, you simply MUST track one down. You won’t regret it!

Remedy Cafe Edmonton tandoori chickenIt was soothing just to sit and listen to the buzz of people chatting and working, and to enjoy the music in the background. Now I’m full, happy, and ready to work. Or nap. Ahhh, Friday.

I added new beads to Etsy every day this week. Did you see? Click here.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!


I’ve been in a bead-buying dry spell. Making jewelry is not my main thing anymore, so there’s really no need to stock up the way I used to. You know, like the apocalypse was upon us and the very survival of our species depended entirely on beads.

However, a few weeks ago, I found an artist who makes ceramic components for jewelry. Just look at these long, glazed, dangle things. I’m so freaking obsessed with them. So unique, so earthy, so modern. I’m seeing one on a long necklace with a sea glass bead and a beach pebble.


They’re made by Petra Carpreau, an artist from the UK, and her shop is ScorchedEarthonEtsy.

I had to order a pair. Or two. You know, to justify the overseas shipping cost.

Oh my.

p.s. the 30 day challenge is going swimmingly. Days 5-9 this week, hooray! Want to see new beads? Check in every day this week for a new Etsy listing! Click here to see what’s new in my store, or use the ‘buy beads’ link at the top of the page.