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!


11 thoughts on “don’t stop believing

  1. Thank you for the reminder. Growth happens, step by step, day by day. Enjoy the journey. You never know what your daily efforts will lead to.

  2. Mind: Blown wide open!! I had an emotional response to seeing the creative evolution of these artists and love the thoughtful way you presented it for us. This is such a gift for your readers — I’m excited by the possibilities that dedicated work may bring. Creativity seems to be more of an afterthought for me. Something I get to indulge in when everything else is done — but when exactly is everything else done? I am joining you and the countless other artists who put the time in day after day to let their evolution flow. Thanks, Julie!!

    • Yayyyy Lisa, I’m glad you found some inspiration in this… I did too. So amazing to see what people have done with work… and time…. The 30 day challenge has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Even if it was only 10 minutes a day it would still be worth it. Just making that time for yourself is so important. So, do I get to see some of your creations soon? 😉

  3. Wow, that is so amazing to see! Thanks for linking to this from Facebook. 🙂 What a fantastic reminder of how much we can grow with our art through practice!!

  4. Love and dedication can really make a difference. I need to think about that myself. Thanks for the food for thought . . . and, hopefully, action!

    • You are welcome! I think it’s all about commitment… amazing what people have done after many years of practicing their creativity. I’m working on that too!

  5. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who checks out artists’ past work to see their evolving style and skill development! It’s just fun to see people’s growth and development through their chosen artistic pursuit. I’ve discovered that my favourite designers & artists just happen to be those who go through phases, try new things and do not produce similar work from one year to the next. Such as your own work Julie, I really enjoyed perusing through all of your FB pics from past to present. There’s not enough art in everyday normal life especially for creatives not connected with any local network, thank goodness for online and social media.

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