Although I didn’t absolutely need a break from study and work, today — or, at least, didn’t think I did — it’s been nice to disengage from the career/training thing, for a bit. Tonight I took a cue from what I had been writing about in an earlier draft of this post, and set to work on a few earrings I’ve wanted to repair for months, if not years. I had stashed them away, and chose not to work on them, for one reason or another — even though in one case, the repair was incredibly easy (switching out sharp, steel earwires, for higher-quality silver ones).
What I’ve realized — and I’ve just earlier this week read a really, really interesting paper on Intellectual Property (IP) which in effect told me that I wasn’t violating anyone’s IP — is that the beadwork thing that I’ve been involved with is relatively…well, it’s niche. It’s kind of like lacemaking, just not that niche (…I don’t think?). 🙂 It’s a craft and creative pursuit where the things that are made are not necessarily groundbreaking, and as such are relatively unaddressed in IP law.
Since I stopped making and selling beaded jewelry largely because I did not understand where I stood in regard to this…and now I know it’s OK to use techniques I’ve learned from books (just not to use patterns from books if I’m selling them for profit, re: community regulations), and have a sense of a framework and where I stand (as part of a community of practice)…it’s kind of spurred off an enthusiasm that I haven’t felt in a long time.
Another reading I did, further back in the semester (I think we’re about halfway through, now), stated that most costs in manufacturing could be attributed to labor. This was another thing which gave me some heart, because creating beaded objects is relatively inexpensive so far as materials go. The vast majority of the cost is taken up in the time and skilled labor needed to produce these objects…and then there is the time taken up in managing a small (tiny) business.
And as a craft jeweler based in the U.S., I can’t compete in the same market as people who make beaded jewelry in other countries, and sell their jewelry in the U.S. for what is, in effect, below cost here. If I make beaded jewelry, I’ll need to be strategic about it — and be willing to sell it for what it’s worth, meaning that I’ll need to make sure that my jewelry — in quality and added value — merits the cost I’ll be charging.
So…there’s this, and also the fact that my experiments in suminagashi, plus my recent experiment (one, so far) with linoleum block printing, plus my training in Digital Imaging, is paying off in my Web Design course: I own the rights to files I’ve produced, to use as graphics in my Web pages — and those graphics are not born-digital, which I feel gives me a certain advantage.
I’m starting to see a theme, here: I think it’s highly likely that I would be best off in a job in which I get to be creative. Thus, Web Design is highly viable, as is Web Development with a Design component. And, I can do it in a library setting, if I really want to contribute to a Public Good. That is, I don’t have to leave Art and Design behind for Librarianship or Information Science: there are ways to merge these paths, particularly where it comes to Info Science, plus Art and Design and technology. And it is worth it to continue the pursuit of Art and Design, because creativity is what I’m actually “about.” (I’ll need to work on that phrasing for my Elevator Speech.)
Right now I’m working on a new earring design which I came up with a couple of nights ago. I can see where it needs to be tweaked; I can also see where the beads I’m using are inferior. I don’t have photos now, but I should be able to take some, soon. Essentially, the bright metallic coating on some of my glass beads (SuperDuos) rubbed off in the short time I was handling them in order to weave the pattern! Kind of disappointing…unless they’re meant to be fatigued (like stonewashed denim)? I’m not sure.
There is an upcoming bead show, but I’m uncertain as to whether I’ll actually be able to have the time to do it. That’s all in the future, though: for now, I’ll focus on what’s in front of me, and try not to deny myself too many opportunities for creativity. ❤