Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Ugly Bead Necklace Finished

I did it! I got thorough my self-imposed challenge to create something useful out of the ugliest beads I have. There were even some very nice compliments on photos I posted in my Flickr group. One person said it looked like "a party on a chain." ...Love that idea, and as the chain grew, the party got more carefree. It became a friend rather than an opponent. My ugly friend encouraged permissiveness, anything goes approach. After all, there was absolutely nothing to be lost, I was starting at the bottom of the barrel with this. All I was contributing was a little effort, and that was of value in itself because I was getting more practice. .

Starting at the Bottom

As I was creating this piece, I found myself going through an incredible thought process. Every so often, I would question the validity of
spending time on creating something worthwhile with such a sorry-looking batch of components: ugly, misshapen, unmatched, left-over cheap glass beads bought in bulk when I first got interested in beading, and crazy, imperfect forged metal practice pieces I had crafted of copper wire as learned in the BuildZone jewelry making course.

The Process

As the necklace grew, it took me through some interesting thoughts. Beginning with a lot of self-doubts (those Gremlins I blogged about a few posts back), I was not at all sure of why I took this challenge on. Why would anyone in their right mind start creating with a bunch of stuff that seemed to say "just put me in the trash!" Isn't is much nicer to think about having gorgeous materials and what the end result of silver and gemstones could be? What was driving me? ...stubbornness? ...a sense of frugality? ...a "way out" excuse for defeat? I am really not sure.

Yet the ugly bead necklace grew, and as it grew, I felt a sense of acceptance. It allowed me to free myself of any constraints that might have held me back. I gave myself over to the spirit of freedom, and creative energy flowed through my braincells and into my fingertips. I ceased to think so much and just did what felt right with each added link. It didn't have to be anything but ugly, and yet with each link I started to like it more and more. A strange sort of beauty was unfolding in my hands and although I knew each imperfection well, I felt like I was forging a life. Out of ugliness and pain came joy and freedom, and a thing of carefree beauty. It doesn't matter if it is of the basest materials because it has a spirit of the highest nature. Maybe it has a "face" that only a mother can love, but this is one child I love to look at.

The Sweet Finish

I may add a few more ribbon tails, and a random dangle here and there, but this child is birthed. As I look at this piece, I am thinking many thoughts so different than those that weighed me down at the start. It reminds me that beauty is only skin deep, but also that just because something isn't always beautiful by most standards, doesn't mean that it has no beauty or value in and of itself. It reminds me that beauty can be found wherever we look for it, and that we should do what we love never separating ourselves from the Creator within. In all things there is purpose, and that our intent and openness can lead us to a beauty that we are not always aware of. I feel a real sense of serenity in that.

May you find beauty and serenity in your day.


  1. Thank you for this "banquet for thought" -- much more than just food for thought. An amazing artist and human being. you inspire by being your authentic self. Bravo for being generous enough to share yourSelf with others! Shine on, Mardi.

  2. Thank you so much Lucinda! A real challenge of life is to be authentic. So often it goes against the grain of family, friends and culture. However, I do believe that those who become the "shining stars" for the rest of us are those who dare to be different.