Saturday, 1 November 2008

Define: Fugly

I was just in the process of cleaning a whole load of beads to list on Ebay later. They are mostly focals, some roses, an early orchid, but also some traditional beads like silvered ivory, and quite a few double helix experiments. I'm not sure I'd describe them all as fuglies, but to me, they're certainly seconds. This might be because the colour didn't turn out the way I wanted, or the shape wasn't what I had imagined (I'm discovering that I'm getting quite anal about shapes - oh dear!) There's a double helix rose that overstruck and now looks more terracotta than glass - but somehow I'm not happy to list her on my website. Then there's the shape that's not quite a tube and not quite a *could* be deliberate, but it wasn't, so I'm not happy with it. Why is it that these 'accidents' are so often classed as 'mishaps', and only once in a blue moon as 'happy coincidences'? This summer, a lovely, fantastic beadmaker let me rummage through her odds and ends box, and if I had produced any one of them, I would have been ecstatic. When I asked to buy some, she wouldn't take any money. I have carried the beads around with me, in my handbag, and I do usually take them out at least 3-4 times a week, just to fondle and stroke them. So there are differences in perception - your fugly is my 'pretty', but there is also a trajectory of personal development (ooooh err! Big words!) - last month's treasure is next month's reject pile. As we get better, we start seeing flaws that we were happy to overlook a few weeks/months before, or that we simply never noticed.

Poor beads, they can't win, can they? So much going against them, so many opportunities to be sorted out and end up forever in a fugly jar, or worse, the bin! Maybe, rather than listing them on Ebay, I should start a 'seconds' round robin. :o)


  1. Step away from these beads! Do not, I repeat DO NOT do anything to them until a jewellery maker has had a look at them! It always amazes me that what you glass artists (yes you too Sabine, don't be shy!)term as fugly, to us jewellery makers could be absolutely beautiful and spot on for a design. If I can use this bead in a creative way, then it IS beautiful. I can go all big headed here and say, I can make it beautiful. So don't give up on them and let us see them (I like the sound of the terracota one!)

    What is an ugly bead for me? Perhaps one that is totally unusable and unloved.

  2. Thanks Mary.....some of these are unloved, I have to say! By your definition, at least listing them on ebay to give somebody else the chance to decide if they're fuglies or not is better than letting them languish. And so, they're up for far, with one bid, for 99p :o))

  3. I just stumbled on your blog and was already "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" in my head at your beads in this post. Then I wandered over to your website and Flickr gallery. You have gorgeous work! And that includes this post -which are "seconds" to you. They aren't seconds to me.

    Also, this is the thought that prompted me to comment, "As we get better, we start seeing flaws that we were happy to overlook a few weeks/months before, or that we simply never noticed." I know exactly what you mean. I feel like it's a case of, "I don't know what I don't know." When I look back at some of my early work, I cringe. I was so pleased at the time, but a little more practice, a refined skill, and previous work becomes a shadow of current work. I've been very pleased with some of my latest work...I'm gaining more consistency and higher percentages of beads turning out...but, I'm wondering what I will think in a year?

  4. Hi Jenn, thanks for popping over. Yes, I agree, there is a switch being flicked at some point from 'I don't know that I don't know' to 'I know what I don't know' - maybe even to Socrattes' 'I know that I know nothing'? Lol! You guys aren't helping keeping this blog nice and shallow :o))) When I look back over the beads I proudly announced on my website when I started selling a year ago, I want to hide under the sofa. But interestingly, the pile above still includes some of these, because as I moved forward, I started looking at them and was able to move beyond my original perception (first thought: 'woohoo, they're great', second thought (about 4 months later) 'oh my God, what was I thinking' now to 'okay, I don't like them, but I don't have to use them - let somebody else decide'. I don't know whether this is a new level of maturity or lack of integrity (I know plenty of artists who will only let go what *they* are happy with), but - until I change my mind again, that great right of the human race - I'm happy to let other people judge if they want them or not :o)

  5. Having sold 2 pots of fugleys and orphans yesterday I am acutely aware of what i perceive as fugley is no where near what others think!!! Honest Sabine when you do a show take your fugleys along and let people rummage your fugleys are gold to another person and will be used and loved!!!!! I think as lampworkers we get quite critical of our work if a pucker is not quite right or that colour combination does not look good to us or that line is a bit crooked etc both my pots were full and i have come home with about 6 beads that are destined for the bead release pot!!!:-)