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Art Glass Guild Art Spot – #ArtSpark BEADS and more BEADS! as told by Gail Pulkrabek


For all of us, there have been times, when for one reason or another, the artistic muse fails.

We may try to continue, doing our usual things and hoping that at some point the spark will return.
Doing things by rote until inspiration finally hits.

For me the “ArtSpark” was gone for 5 years. I felt an increasing sense of guilt (recovering Catholic here, we can turn anything into a guilt-fest) I looked at others’ works; I read magazines and books about art. I looked at the world around me, all to no avail. It became an embarrassment when customers would constantly ask me which pieces of art were mine at the Art Glass Guild, and I had to reply, I have nothing here right now. (The “right now” stretched on for those 5 years.)

Finally one day I was wandering through a store and something caught my eye.  Jewelry makers may as well be compared to fish. (Often, things that are bright and shiny seem to lure us in.)

What attracted me was a string of filler beads. They were just so perfect; I decided I had to have them. I went home and started making room in my studio, reorganizing.     And then, I started sorting beads.   🙂                          


As a jewelry maker, I have a lot of beads. Tackle boxes full of beads. Bags full of headpins and hoops, spacers of stone and metal. I eagerly put a sheet on the floor and began sorting. Night after night I sat hunched over on my floor opening bin after bin and reorganizing. Each time I handled another section of “beads” I physically connected to them, the color, the texture, the weight of them, and I began to visualize what they would go with. How they would work as earrings, or a necklace or bracelet. How they might look as handmade rondels attached to velvet bags… A cat collar! (I was all over the place!)


Another artist asked me what I’d been doing lately, and I said “Sorting my beads.” She grinned at me and said in a conspiratorial voice, “Isn’t it fun!” She made it sound like a guilty addiction.

Yes. Yes it was fun. And I realized THAT’S what had been missing. The fun of art; the joy of creating and puttering and messing around with art; I had been miring myself in the business end of it so much, that I forgot to play. I forgot to dig in with both hands and get dirty. I realized that that’s what art is about; connecting with the part of you that still feels childlike wonder and excitement when looking at a pretty rock or a butterfly.

Or all the possibilities inspired by sorting beads.

Happy #ArtSpark ! #SortYourBeads

Gail Pulkrabek “Working with molten glass to create glass beads is like going on a treasure hunt every time I crank up the torch. Playing with FIRE is a bonus”!


Were located in beautiful Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park,  1770 Village Place, San Diego 92101

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