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Beady UFOs (Un-Finished Objects)

Beady UFO shadow box

The bead community is notorious for collecting Un-Finished Objects. For many, it’s a kit that they’ve purchased but could not complete because they’ve gotten bored with it. Or maybe they came up to a portion of the instructions that wasn’t clear and they got stuck. Sometimes the project was just not coming out as expected. Or sometimes, a new project was just so exciting that all work in progress needed to wait while the new project took over.

For me, most of my UFOs happen when I’m designing. Often, the first color selections I choose will not work as expected so I will redo the work with new colors. Or I may start a piece of beadwork but then find that it’s not working out well or I get bored with it. I may have tried someone else’s pattern in order to learn a new technique but did not have time or inclination to complete it. Sometimes I make more components than I need for a particular piece.. And sometimes I just experiment and play with the beads to see what would happen if I try this or that but then I don’t know what to do with the work.

As I can’t bear to rip out all my hours of work, I often save bits of beadwork in a drawer, hoping that one day I will find a good use for them. Here’s what my drawer full of UFOs looked like. Looking at this drawer left me quite uninspired to create any kind of work of art.

Beady UFO progress

But then my friend and bead artist, Ilene Yair, came over to my house and picked out some color coordinated pieces and arranged them on my couch like this. I was instantly inspired and realized that I CAN make lemonade out of my lemons!

Before beginning, I went to my local craft store to purchase a shadow box frame with a precut 5″ x 7″ opening in the mat. I cut a piece of black bead backing to be about 5 1/2 x 7 1/2″. I sewed the selected beadwork UFOs onto the bead backing one at a time, starting near the center, composing the exact arrangement as I worked. If I got stuck, I took a peak at the photo I took of Ilene’s composition on my couch to remind me that this is possible! I finally came to a composition that I was happy with and put the precut mat over the embellished bead backing. As I did so, I saw that I accidentally sewed some of the beadwork over the confines of the mat’s framed area. The beadwork spilled out a bit over the edges of the mat. I decided that this was a happy accident, as I liked it even better than if I would have stayed within the lines.

I’m so happy that now my pretty components have a place where they can be displayed, instead of hiding in a drawer! I hope that some of my other mistakes that are still in the drawer will find a happy home as well.

4 thoughts on “Beady UFOs (Un-Finished Objects)

  1. What a great idea!

  2. WOW, that came out great! I need to do this!!

  3. Love this idea, I have quite a few pieces of unfinished projects that would work with this idea. Thank you Susan for sharing your story <3.

  4. Wow- That looks greta

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