Friday, October 9, 2015

Inside the Studio - with Julie of Uglibeads!

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations to Alice Peterson!
You've won a $20.00 gift certificate to Mary Harding's Etsy shop
Please email Mary to claim your prize!


Hi, it's me, Julie! Happy Friday, and nice to see you again for Inside the Studio! 

There have been lots of exciting things going on lately in the world of Uglibeads! Last week there was an auction, this week a new blog post, the weekly email newsletter came out yesterday (click here to sign up to receive those in future), and of course - big Etsy update happening tomorrow (9 AM MDT, Saturday October 10) - some new smoky ivory, marsala-y, cranberry-ish beads! And whatever else I have time to photograph before then ;)

And... just... stuff! Lots of good stuff happening lately. I'm always curious to know what's behind it whenever I go through a really creatively productive time. As if there was some magic I could bottle up and put away for the next time the muse goes on vacation. Knowing my muse, she probably hasn't unpacked her bags since she got home from the last one...

Unfortunately, there is no 'muse magic'. But there is yoga. And that's kind of the same thing.

Now.... when I say 'yoga', I really mean, 'that thing I do for myself because it makes me feel joyful, and connected, and powerful, and peaceful, and grounded, and balanced, and AWESOME.' It's a shorthand. When I say 'yoga', replace it with whatever it is that does the same for you. Your joyful, connected, happy, awesome thing.

So I love yoga. A lot. It's become a vital part of my creative practice. If you asked me what the most important tool is in my studio, I might say my yoga mat. It calms me, it helps me focus so I can sit for longer and have a more productive day at the torch, it helps decrease shoulder and back pain from sitting hunched over, it helps me to keep my mind clear when I'm working on new ideas... It's a no-brainer. But even so, sometimes I really struggle to set aside even 10 minutes a day. Every morning, I think, 'Yikes... I have so much to do today... I just don't have time." If I happen to look over at my desk and see the 'to-do-list' staring at me, that's it. No yoga.

But recently, I had a revelation during - of course - an online yoga class. In the middle of some long, drawn-out pose, the teacher (Felicia Tomasko, yogaglo) was chatting about the ever-present 'to-do-list', that (frustratingly) never really gets shorter, no matter how hard you work away at it. As soon as you cross something off, you remember something else that needs doing, and it gets added to the list.

So, as she so wisely said (loosely paraphrased by me - I was too busy breathing to take notes),

the real victory is not in crossing things off your to-do list,

it is in *setting aside the to-do list*

to make time for the things that are really important to you.

Lying flat on my back on my yoga mat, taking that all in, a lot of things suddenly made a LOT of sense. Things that bring you joy, things that bring you closer to the people you love or closer to yourself... those are MUST do's. Not to-do's.

BIG difference.

Just for fun, I experimented this week, keeping a running list on a pad of yellow legal paper. All the things I needed to get to during the week to keep Uglibeads running smoothly. Usually I just sort of keep it 'up here' in my head, or on about 83 post-it-notes stuck all over my desk. But I must say, I felt a little calmer having it all in one place. I'm about 95% less likely to forget something, and there's comfort in that.

And here's how it went: even though I worked harder than usual to clear my plate this week, the list is now longer than it was when I started. Yes, longer. I'm making anti-progress! 

Do you know that feeling? It goes something like this:


It's ok. Scream into a pillow if you have to. You can borrow mine.

So that's where my head has been at the last few weeks. I've been keeping a very watchful eye on 'the list', but more and more often I set it aside. Without guilt. For yoga, and for all the other things that keep me in good physical, mental and creative shape. Because when I do that, it's so much easier to be the best version of me there is - in all aspects of my life. 

In light of that... I painted a butterfly...

I went to my beginners' metalsmithing class and sawed out little triangles and circles for hours and hours like a zen master...

I started to experiment with a new series of beads called the 'earth angel' series (full of colors and watery-sky-cloud-star inspiration that I can't wait to dive into!!) and made a new amulet necklace with the first pendant in the series...

I sat and drank this amazing latte in a coffee shop right around the corner from my house...

I picked up some beautiful new inspiration...

And... I managed to cross a few more things off the list in between. Balance.

So - no, my life is not all painting butterflies and doing yoga and drinking coffee and collecting rocks and leaves. And neither is yours. Nor should it be. It's not always realistic to take time away from the to-do's. There are a lot of things in life that need to get crossed off the list by somebody, or our world would be in a state of total chaos.

But sometimes you can take a moment. And when you do, it goes something like this: 


So, here's where the BIG GIVEAWAY comes in! And my question for you: what is the first thing you would do if you could 'set the list aside' for a few minutes, or a few hours, or... longer? Let me know in the comments below, and you'll be entered to win a special mini-pendant, made just for you, from my new 'earth angel' series (similar to the one shown in the necklace above). The winner will be announced in next Friday's ITS post.

Thanks so much for joining me - until next time!



Julie is a glass beadmaker with a passion for building community and inspiring conversation around her writing. Her best work comes from that magical place where nature meets creative flow. You will find her hanging out most days in her Uglibeads Facebook group or on Instagram, and you're invited to join in the adventure by signing up for her weekly email newsletter.


Unknown said...

I always set aside my personal interest for my family. I just walk jo matter where I'm at. When it's another love that I have which is gardening I just do it.
By the way LOVE the lampwork!

Sarajo Wentling said...

For me, a librarian and book lover, it would be just curling up somewhere comfy and totally immersing myself in a good story... maybe with a kitty curled up in my lap. But for now, I'll be going into my studio space and finishing up the necklace I've been puttering with. :) (Loving the colors in that "earth angel" bead you shared!)

Sandi Volpe said...

Love your post, exercise including yoga is a daily necessity, I am more productive and happier person when I take care of myself. Glad your muse has returned, love your beads!

sandysewin said...

Oh I know exactly what you mean about the list never getting shorter, lol. Although, I recall once upon a time emptying out a to-do list and feeling utterly at a loss. Really, having the list means I have important, purposeful things to do, and that's a good thing.

I absolutely believe it's important to take breaks, mini-vacations, I call them. I like to pour myself a favorite beverage, tea, a beer on a hot summer day, or a glass of wine and relax with something I enjoy reading. Either a magazine or, if I'm feeling especially decadent, the latest novel I've been working through.

Mary @ said...

I love working in the garden while playing with my dogs. There is something about how happy they are just to have my company. The garden always inspires new color combinations.

Yvette said...

I try to do a bit of yoga too, but I also try to run a couple of times a week. Failing that a good walk, I am lucky to live in a beautiful town with a canal running through it so there is always plenty to see.

Astra said...

Recently I received such a reply from a friend: "I would like to... but I have no time to live [I have to work]." The conversation went on for a while, and only afterwards I thought: did you yourself hear what you said? and if you heard, didn't it frighten you out of your wits? When will you live then?
So, I decided to introduce a list of another kind - at the end of the day I'll put down moments of life within this day, be it creating, writing, walking, wining, reading, listening to music, etc. And I'm pretty sure that it doesn't matter whether my to-do list becomes shorter, whereas extension of my have-lived list is of utmost importance.

Saraccino said...

Oh, I will be still at a market when your etsy update will take place so maybe I am lucky here to win some of your beads ;)

(and yes, no chance for etsy if I am even just a few minutes late...)

Actually creating is my must-to I try to fit in. I had to learn it at my work in research that there is never ever a "finished" time. Actually during my PhD I didn't go on holidays for years. Always just "after this is done"... Problem is, that there will always be something new.

There is a positive side to it: How great that it all goes on! It means work but also new research or new beads ;)

But to let go, to allow oneself not to go on, that nobody stands there judging you... that is harder than I ever could have imagine .)

fairiesmarket said...

The list is long...meditate, swim, bead, read, service. I work a lot and my health suffers as a result. Take care of me!

Denise said...

The ever present list - ugh! It is always there. I tend to take snippets of time away from my list and read a little every day. But since I have little kids ,I would love long extended times away from my list to learn some new techniques - hands on and not n ist read about all those different things.

Karen L said...

I just committed to taking a 7 week course in mindfulness. I'm hoping that it will help me make a habit of setting aside a few minutes just to be still without guild. As I age I'm becoming more aware of the importance of self-care and am trying hard to make it an everyday practice.

DG Jewelry Designs said...

Another inspirational post Julie. My daughter and I are new to yoga and enjoying it.

Looking forward to seeing some Uglibeads tomorrow.

Kristen said...

Lately I have really wanted to go for a long walk in the woods and do some leaf peeping but that takes time and there are to may things on my list. And I'm retired! But after reading this post, I will go for that hike before the leaves fall. Thanks!

Divya N said...

I have been meaning to try out etching for months now and I just want to do some meditation, chat with some friends or just sit quietly and stare into the distance. I must just "work these into my list"

Theresalbush said...

I would jump into my car with my husband and little dog, with our little camper in tow, and head off to the mountains (we live in Florida). Love your work!

Kathy Lowe said...

I love to hear the sound of running river water or waves pounding on a beach. I not only find it soothing but it takes my mind away from the "to do" list. I should do this more often!

baymoondesign said...

I try exercise an hour a day at least. Several times a week yoga is part of my exercise routine. I would like to make it a daily practice, but hasn't happened. I swim, walk, and bicycle. I have a back problem and all of these exercises help to keep it under control so I have that as a motivating factor.

I prioritize what has to get done and that helps a lot.

Your work is gorgeous!

Unknown said...

I think I would spend more creative time. I get lost when I'm creating and lose track of time, so I tend to put my list first. I love how your posts make me think of balance and whether I'm really spending my time the way I want to on the things that are most important to me.

Deb Fortin said...

my to do lists are not written down but kept in my head. so how do I ignore it? i look out my office window at the trees swaying gin the wind. I open my window and listen to the geese flying overhead on their way south (or north depending on the time of year). I pour a glass of wine and do some sketching in my ideas journal.

Twinkiedinky by Joanne Louvaine Bell said...

I would escape to the dales if i had a morning to myself. Climb my favoirite tree and sit with my back against it listening to the water. I would swim in the deep part of the river (this can be done nakey because it is soooo remote) and then wade to the shallows to find pebbles and bits of fluorspar (like fluorite native to my river and shiny galena) then when i was done i would clothe myself and go into the dark woods nearby and find pinecones and find where the squirrels like to hang out and sit totally STILL for an hour so the trees and the animals accept me as a friend and go about their business as if im not there. Ive had birds land on me this way. Like cinderella. They do not style my hair however xxx

Unknown said...

I think I would take some time for exercise. I have been restricted lately and I can't wait to get back to that kind of me time.

HeidiHey said...

Hi Julie,
Putting my to-do lists aside, I would put some music on and play with my art supplies in my art room. I need to change my priority and have creating something in my art room as number one on my to-do list! As always, so much to do and so little time, so why not have fun!! Have a healthy and creative day - Heidi

Deb Stewart said...

I find that if I don't write things down I have all those "to do" things rambling around in my head and it stresses me out more than the written list does. I love crossing things off too!

I would love a peaceful day of learning a new technique in a class room setting. I create alone so being able to be with other artistic types would be fun.

Shai Williams said...

I am really trying to get in the habit of maintaining a todo list on my phone so that I have to try to remember everything. I tried with a pad but I never seemed to have it handy so I ended up with twenty lists.

To recharge my batteries I love to curl up with a good book and a great cuppa tea. A cat or dog on the lap is a bonus.

TesoriTrovati said...

Such a mindful, wonder-filled post, Miss Juli! I am finding myself entwined more and more in the busy-ness of daily life. So much so that I am neglecting my art that feeds my soul. Creating anything, just creating for the joy of it. I feel pulled to make what sells at the upcoming holiday gallery shows, but not what I feel in my heart. I am branching out and trying something new and these new creative paths, distinctly separate, yet uniquely enmeshed with who I am creatively and feeding off one another, are calling to me. I have been making word art that I call Artfully Worded with a quote and an illustration that is hand colored with watercolor markers. I find it cathartic and very zen to work on them and seem them unfold. Pretty heady stuff for one who has never professed an ability to draw! They are whimsical and fun and inspiring all at the same time. And I am exploring getting some of them made into cards that will be suitable for giving and framing. And the new passion that I have is for making mixed media mosaics. This is combining my love of words (each has a message), mixed media (incorporating all those bits that I have collected over the years), surface designs (use for all those stamps and paints and powders!) and polymer clay. I have completed one, but I can feel myself coming alive in the creation of these. I am calling them Tesori Tessera, which translates to "treasure tile." So that is what I would be doing with my time should it arise! Enjoy the day! Erin

Unknown said...

I really struggle to find balance in my life with the to do list screaming at me every day. Today I find myself stuck in bed with a virus having crashed and burned and wishing I had read your blog post earlier :) As soon as I am back on my feet I will be rearranging my days and setting aside the list regularly, in fact I'm considering throwing it out of the window altogether. I will be knitting, walking on the beach, doing my yoga practice and making the beads I want to make not ones I think will sell. Thank you Julie this is a wonderful reminder to actually live and love life.