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


12 thoughts on “Fuglibeads

  1. And when someone decides that you are famous the public will want everything you have ever made even the ugly stuff because it tells the story of your journey. Don’t throw away the ugly stuff. Someone will cherish it someday and brag that it is in their possession!

  2. the ugly stuff isn’t that ugly by the way there are people out there who love them. We aren’t machines… the Amish work imperfections into their quilts.

    • I didn’t know that about Amish quilts… I love that! Handmade is imperfect by nature. Sometimes I have to remind myself to celebrate rather than tolerate the imperfections 🙂

  3. I actually really like the Dirty Earth Ball! I agree with the other comments – keep them! I have my first beads and they look like kidney stones ate tyrannosaurus poop, but I’m glad to be able to look back and reflect! Best of luck to you.

  4. My very first bead sits on top of my kiln. To remind me how far I have come. Its grey, mucky, wonky with seriously pointy holes. The fuglie jar sits behind it. Its filling up and its a big jar!!!
    Never get rid of them! They are your blood, sweat and tears!

    Great post Julie xx

    • Aw, thank you Elaine!! I totally agree. I could never part with my Fuglibeads!!!! 🙂 Ha! Imagine we started with pointy holes and got to where we are now. Amazing, isn’t it!

  5. Hi Julie! I love reading all that you write! So cool to see the early ‘ugli’ beads. I am smitten with the deformed, dazzling pyramid of awesomeness! Makes me think of a kaleidoscope – it’s a very energetic bead. Hang on to those babies. They are a part of you as you wonder your journey to magnificence!

    • Oh yes, that pyramid of awesomeness is truly, truly awesome. A true Fuglibeads Hall-of-Fame bead must remain in the permanent collection, of course. Only a select few can make it to the very top of the ugly heap 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s