You’ve probably read my ‘About’ page, so you know the story behind my business name, Uglibeads. Making beautiful things is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to get through the ‘beginner’ stages, and all the work that goes along with not knowing what the heck you’re doing. Inevitably, there are some seriously ugly things just lurking in the recesses of your mind, waiting to be born.
Having recently returned to beadmaking after a pretty long absence, I believe in the ‘Uglibeads’ philosophy more than ever. But I realized that I’ve never shown actual examples of these ‘ugly’ beads I keep talking about. Since you’ve never seen them, you may think that they don’t exist. Let me reassure you that this is not the case.
For your amusement, I’ve selected a few of my fugliest Fuglibeads. The Fuglibeads Hall of Fame, if you will.
First, we have a bead that contracted some horrifying disease. Thankfully, it wasn’t contagious.
Next, an outtake from my series of wonderfully bright beads. Your eyes do not deceive you. Indeed, I made this deformed, dazzling pyramid of awesomeness.
I made this too. It’s from my ‘Dirty Earth Ball’ series.
When I look at these beads I just remind myself that it’s all part of the process. In all seriousness, it IS all about practice, and making lots and lots of ugly beads. Since I’ve been thinking about this whole practice thing, I took a photo of the very first beads I made when I got my own torch and set it up at home, on my apartment balcony (a Hothead torch – a little torch that screws on to a 1 lb canister of Mapp gas). I was practicing stringer control. If you’re new to lampworking and you want to practice stringer control, for the love of god, do not choose WHITE. It’s the softest, meltiest glass there is, and as you can see, it’s hard to handle…
If you’ve seen the stuff I’ve been making recently (click here if you haven’t), you can see that practice makes… better. The mistakes and the Fuglibeads all add up to experience, and experience makes everything possible… Eventually.
In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the next bead to induct into the Fuglibeads Hall of Fame. I know it’s coming, probably sooner rather than later.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass