"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison
|The very first bead I ever made, made into the first every ring I ever attempted. It's not an attractive ring or a particularly stable design.|
As someone who learned the basics of lampworking by reading websites, books, and watching a couple DVD's, and then spent the time making ugly beads, I am sometimes surprised. Surprised that others want to know how something is done. And they want to know it now. See, here's the thing. Unless you put in the time making mistakes, you can have the information handed to you in a gorgeous full color, hand bound book on a silver platter, and still not learn much.
|Some other first time beads I ever made.)|
Fact #1: If you make ugly beads or ugly jewelry, no one will die. It may FEEL like it, but really, that's just having a flair for the dramatic.
Fact #2: Instant results would be awesome. Like losing weight. Or learning a new technique. But people don't become "experts" the first time they are shown a technique.
|Another ugly bead, and one of my first attempts at florals.|
Fact #3: Take classes to learn specific new techniques for the sake of learning and taking that home and assimilating it into your suitcase of knowledge. But don't expect your class samples to be perfection. Or be like one person I met, completely shaken to the core about humanity because someone "stole" a class bead they made that was special because it was heart shaped and this person was positive they could never replicate a heart shape again. Class bead are usually butt ugly. Ask me how I know. I've made loads of those things.
Let's use lampworking as an example. I was/am happy to give tips. While I was at Bead Fest, I had people ask me how I get such great results with the glass color called Dark Silver Plum (it likes oxygen). Another lamented that they can't use murrini because it smears so badly (turn the heat down and melt it gently, tapping between hits of heat with a marver). These are all tips I share freely and with joy to help my fellow lampworker.
But a person really cannot fully understand how the glass behaves if they don't use it and make mistakes. For example, other than the flame, gravity is the most important tool a lampworker has. If you don't understand how gravity works on molton glass, you will have a blob of glass on the bench rather than on the mandrel. And the best way to understand it is to work with the flame and with gravity to see what happens.
It's like anything else. How about making jewelry. Have all your pieces turned out perfectly the first time you laid out the components? Or all your wirework been flawless? What's the worst that could happen if it doesn't turn out perfectly? Maybe you have some silver scraps that can be recycled for $ or credit. Maybe you feel like you wasted time? But any time "wasted" is also time spent learning what doesn't work. But I do encourage practicing with copper before you get out the silver.
I've been sprinkling this post with some of the first (ugly) beads I ever made...about 8 years ago...beads that are actually some of the best of the worst. Now I'm going to show you something more recent.
I dreamed up a new technique one night. Here was my first try.
The glass is horribly scorched, the red and the white didn't like being reduced, it just had all kinds of problems. It took me an hour to create this hot mess of a bead. An hour of my life gone, with only this ugly bead to show for that hour.
But as I practiced and practiced the technique, it morphed into something like this:
Have a great week!