beeauty is in the eye of the beeholder

Julie Wong Sontag - Uglibeads

One day I was doodling, and I came up with a little drawing of a bumblebee. Who doesn’t love bees? I’ve always been drawn to them. When I was little, I went to a honey farm, and the owner explained to us that a bee would rather sting itself than sting a person. He held the bee in his hand, and well, it stung him. Nonetheless, it was the start of a lifelong fascination with these industrious little creatures.

A little while ago, I finally sat down to bring my drawing to life, and the finished product came out just exactly the way I had imagined it. Except cuter, maybe. Of course, I posted a photo of my new creation on my Facebook page and in a jewelry makers’ group I belong to. People went insane for these little guys. There’s something about them that just makes people happy inside.

Sometimes I wonder about making these ‘cute’ things. When I think about my goals as a beadmaker, being the person who makes ‘cute’ things is not on my list. I think, maybe if I stopped making things with eyes on them, people would take me more seriously. I mean, don’t we all want to be taken more seriously?

Everyone who creates things probably strives to make ‘art’. I don’t hesitate to call myself an Artist, because I occasionally work in other media – drawing, painting, photography, etc. Things that are considered ‘real’ art. I went to art school, and that’s totally legit, right?  As much as beadmakers like to insist – up, down and sideways – that we’re artists, the reality is that what we do is really more like fine craft. I see the term ‘artisan’ used a lot, and that seems fitting. Everyone has their own take on the art/craft debate, and I think it’s ok that we all see ourselves at different places on that spectrum. Call yourself whatever resonates for you. It’s your identity – go ahead and claim it.

There may come a day when I decide to stop making ‘cute’ things, but today is not that day. You know what? Little glass bees make people smile.

And that’s worth something.

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6 thoughts on “beeauty is in the eye of the beeholder

  1. I know a lot of traditional artists that make cute things (children’s book illustrators for instance), and that doesn’t make them any less of an artist. 🙂 I would definitely classify what you do as art, as well. I see the art/craft thing come up a lot in quilting, although most people fall on the side of it being a craft. It’s an interesting debate and one I’m not totally sure what my stance is. I like your mom’s definition, though!

    • Great point about children’s book illustrators – how true! I think what’s interesting is that most people don’t have clearly defined criteria that they can apply and say, this is Art, or this is not Art. I think it’s something we feel. When I look at something and it moves my heart or my soul in some way, to me, that is art. It doesn’t matter what form it comes in, whether it’s glass, fabric, metal, plastic… whatever.

  2. Pingback: one for one | Uglibeads – handmade art glass beads by Julie Wong Sontag

  3. Pingback: hello september | Uglibeads – handmade art glass beads by Julie Wong Sontag

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