Gently stretching earlobes…and one more piece of a business model.

…and I mean, very gently, stretching earlobes!

Today I was able to find a new set of 14g spirals to put into my piercings, which would be the first earrings I’ve ever gotten at this gauge which are especially meant to be decorative.

I meant to ask about whether I should be concerned that when I went up to 14g after having the 16g in for a few weeks, I was playing with my piercing (sliding it back and forth to lubricate the ring and separate it from the skin) and heard a “pop”…Luckily, there was no oozing, no bleeding, no pain, no infection. Just a sound, and just once.

I was originally pierced at 14g (which is maybe 1.5-2mm wide?) and had gone down to nothing (22g is my finest earwire) and slowly back up to 14g, several times (maybe 4-6 times over something like a decade), so I thought maybe it was safe to accelerate things if my 16g earrings were loose and fine. I didn’t anticipate that my skin or scar itself might get moody and expand and shrink on me (which is what I think it did).

I don’t think I’ll be doing that in the future.

I’ve also experienced the feeling of a hook digging into my piercing from playing with it, as well (as though my fingernail had caught and torn the skin) — but again, no pain after that, no oozing, no bleeding, no infection.

These both happened on the left side. The latter sensation I can attribute to the possibility of a snag on a rough part of the earring (the piercer’s plier marks on the ring: these were the same rings I had been pierced with) — which is why I got new earrings. The former…? Well, I’ve heard that it’s normal for many tiny fractures and microtears to happen when gauging up, and am assuming it is that.

From advice online, I probably should have gone back down to 16g and waited out a healing period, but I didn’t. I’m hoping I’m not going to pay for that with a weak spot in my piercing forevermore (or until I get someone to punch out the surrounding tissue so it can heal correctly).

It’s also possible that my body is working out damage made over years, of trying and failing to find the actual hole in my ear, with my (sharp, largely mass-produced) earwires. I’m fairly certain that there should be some gratuitous scarring, though I can’t remember if I always had trouble finding the piercing on the right side, or the left side…but I’m thinking it was the left.

But today, I made it out to a quality body jewelry/piercing/tattoo place and purchased the tactilely (is that a word?) gorgeous surgical steel spirals I have in, now. Well, actually, M got them for me! They were $22, and I love them. There’s a beauty about them that is missing when someone makes an earring and tacks it onto a cheap, sharp, thin earwire (granted, they’re not all cheap and sharp, only the worst ones are — and I’ve found rare limited options in heavier “wires” [sometimes — as in the case of bronze — these are more likely cast units, not wires] up to 16g, but I think the general jeweling community stops, at that point).

Trying to find information on stretched piercings (and jewelry for such) online has got me thinking about targeting the large-gauge earring market, in between conventional jewelry (22g) and plugs/tunnels (let’s just say 0g/8mm, for now). I’m not sure if I mentioned this too often, before, but I have taken some Jewelry (silversmithing) classes, and I’ve been beading since I was 14 years old, so I’ve been through some minimal ropes where it comes to design, and construction. I also have a much better idea of where I stand as regards Intellectual Property than I used to (technique is no one’s property, unless it’s patented, and it usually isn’t).

I already know where to find heavy-gauge sterling and fine silver wire, and I know how to file and round the ends of wire, in addition to forging, annealing, hardening, pickling, and polishing. I also know where I can learn beginning lapidary, though I wouldn’t be quick to jump on that…powdered rock from sources unknown isn’t the safest thing to deal with, although carving is alluring.

I didn’t end up going into jewelry, because it’s hard to make a good living at being a jeweler, unless one is a Fine Jeweler and dealing with gold (allowing one to drastically raise the price of the finished product, introducing a large profit margin)…and gold extraction is known for being terrible for the environment (unless things have revolutionized within the last 10 years). This is why the group, Ethical Metalsmiths, was formed.

One of the reasons I let my piercings shrink up to wear conventional jewelry is that I had a concern that large-gauge earring options would disappear in the West during my lifetime. But if I fill that gap myself, there really isn’t anything to be concerned about — for myself, at least. And I know that there is a market. When I wear my own jewelry, clients find me. They literally see my jewelry and stop me.

This hasn’t happened with large-gauge earrings (it’s a rather obvious assumption that I can’t blacksmith and that spring-loaded rings are likely specially made), but I know that when I wear what I do have, others with large-gauge piercings, notice — and are especially kind to me! (Well, I’m thinking of one recent person in particular, but I know a lot of people with expanded piercings.)

I’m writing this post because I can see a potential future in this, even though it will take work — a lot of work. But I’ve found a market gap, which is something I didn’t see, before. And crafting earrings is something I knew I would have to do if I did go into jeweling, because there is a much shorter time-frame for execution and thus a lower labor cost than for something like a necklace, bracelet, anklet, etc.

There’s also a lower materials cost, before we get into things like matched cut gems (though…transparent sparklies aren’t really my main aesthetic, anymore…well…fire opals excluded, let’s say!…but those are kind of niche, in themselves).

Those two things together mean that I can sell at a lower cost. That would assist me in reaching my target market (Millennials/Gen X/Gen Y), who in turn will likely be willing to pay more for something they know they can’t find, normally. All of this together means that I have a better chance of a profit margin that is healthy enough to stay alive on…and maybe the possibility of making jewelry that I’m really into (earrings and not)!

If, that is, I can find my market, which likely means targeting tattoo and piercing parlors to sell my work. It will also likely mean remaining urban. And getting down with people I might like…jewelers, lapidarists, customers.

Yes, there is a community aspect of this, though it’s loose. (It’s always good when it’s loose!)

I wonder if I should do some market research? And maybe, if I make some prototypes and/or designs, consult with the place where I bought my jewelry, today?


First quilt square ever: paper-folding

Hey! I did something today! 😀 😉

I thought it would be best to start out with a simple pattern. Last night, I had been toying around with folding the corners of origami sheets to various midpoints formed by other folds.

paper pieces for the below quilt square

The square above is what happens when one folds one corner to the midpoint of one or another opposite side. (I honestly don’t consciously know what happens differently if I might choose a different corner than the one I did…haven’t experimented in that direction, yet.)

Anyhow, I used a straightedge and X-Acto to cut these different shapes out. Then I traced them onto the backs of fabric fat quarters (when I could tell what was the front and the back of the fabric — I failed twice, here, with the purple batik you see below) and cut them out with the new rotary cutter.

What I didn’t realize was how prominent the center cross would be, though it’s possible that this could tone itself down a bit in an actual quilt assembly. The photo below shows what I ended up with, but I still have an approximate 1/4″ selvage on each side (though I measure 6mm much more easily, having worked with beads for so long). Taking that away might help.

Pieced quilt square made today
No, I didn’t realize that dot was right in the center of the quilt square, until I sewed it in.

The color effects here, too, are a bit unpredictable. I had been hoping to make a sort of pinwheel pattern, but you can see how well that turned out.

I’m pretty sure that the difficulty here has to do both with the proximity of the folds to each other, and with the fact that the center stripes are contrasting and break up the pattern. I mean, right now it looks more like a “Z,” than anything.

Maybe if I used different fabrics for each leg of the pinwheel? Or if I expanded the center square.

Right now I really want a bright orange, but I’m not entirely certain, why. Though I do suppose that purple, green, and orange would form a triadic color harmony.

It’s also possible that I have too many cool-toned colors, here, or too sharp a value delineation between the light purple stripe, and all the rest (which are similar value). I do have an orangish-brown fabric that I didn’t break into (I was trying to play it safe), but it could be interesting to see what happens later on.

a possible view of parts of my pattern, interlocked.

The image to the left happened after I questioned what this would look like if I took mirrors (clockwise and counterclockwise folding) of the square I’d done and positioned them in a pattern. It looks like I would get a continual hourglass/diamond interweaving of shapes.

Of course, there’s a part of me that wants closure to this pattern, but it may be better not to have that? It may be too predictable, that is.

But then — I’ve just looked at an image of the original square I tried last night — folding all the corners to identical spots just forms a tilted square in the center, which isn’t really what I’m after.

But…? Maybe it would form a pattern that I can’t predict right now, just like the last one did?


As a note to myself, I might want to try using a Quilting Between needle next time (will it be thinner?) — and reinforce any seam where my thread snaps off while trying to make a knot! This time was just for practice, though…

I should use a thimble on my left thumb to prevent gouging my thumbnail with needle tips…

And also: if I use this pattern for real in the future, it may be best to add a 1/4″ selvage on all edges and transfer the pattern to template plastic…

I knew this blog was good for something.

Over the turning of the new year, I realized a couple of things. One, I have gotten out of the habit of writing regularly, because schoolwork demanded so much of my time — not least, my time at the computer (which is limited due to repetitive-stress concerns: I have had severe pain in my upper back from sitting at my terminal for too long before, and don’t want to repeat it). Two, I have also gotten out of the habit of making art. When starting is the hardest part, that’s not good.

So over about the last week, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my time. Right now I have three weeks to go before school starts up again. It’s fairly evident that I’ve gotten into a sewing kick, but I didn’t realize how to link that and another of my projects — this being the mandala project that I started towards the end of my Art AA and which carried on a bit further after that — until last night. Check the mandalas tag on my blog to see some of this work.

I’ve realized that the paper-folding technique with which I’ve attempted to create mandala art, may be more useful in plotting quilt squares, than I’ve thought. It may even be more useful this way than in its original form, as paper-folding from a square base tends to make four-sided (or “gated”) designs. It was because of this that I eventually migrated away from paper-folding, to utilizing a compass system. However…it seems to lend itself to this.

I’ve been looking around for books on appliqué. I was only able to find one today, but the quilt book I checked out before also has a section on this. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be easy to work on a pieced quilt with geometric designs stemming from origami forms (though I could be wrong: I haven’t tried it, yet), appliqué can basically take any form. M was thinking that I might be really good at it because I work best in tiny, delicate stitches.

Right now, the biggest question is what construction method to use, as a rigid approach would be fine for something I’d hang on my wall; not so much, though, for something I might eventually use. For example, I wouldn’t want to use glue (as one of the books I found today, recommended), for anything I wanted to cuddle up under. I did find a book which was more laid-back than this, though, which also used hand-stitching as versus machine-stitching (the former of which is basically one of the key reasons for me to be in sewing at all).

I’ve got to return some of these library books.

I have, also, gotten through one chapter on the couture sewing book I checked out, and it’s fairly clear that the entire chapter will be useful.

Anyhow, looking over the blog, the other night, was what tipped me off as to what I had enjoyed before, and directions I might want to go in as regards quilting, now…

I also suppose I am working content into my work!

Working embroidery again

Well, I tried to take photos of what I was doing, tonight; unfortunately, only a few of my shots came out as even passable, because I was too close for the camera to focus. I can try again, another day.

fly stitch sampleI was, however, able to improve my skill with fly stitch, a lot. The image to the left is the culmination of that, for tonight. Essentially, fly stitch is a straight stitch tacked down somewhere in the middle so that it forms an angle.

I had been intending to try and make an image of a fern (thus the color of this perle cotton thread), or of a pepper tree. As I was working this, though, I found that the legs of the stitch looked…like pine needles!

I also learned that not everything has to be symmetrical, though I had been aiming for that, just to gain a decent sense of control. What I ended up having to do was account for the amount and direction of pull the thread (in this case, size 80 H.H. Lizbeth crochet thread) would exert on the underlying fabric.

It’s kind of like archery, that way: in archery, one has to account for the peculiarities of one’s bow and adjust one’s aim away from the target, in order to get the arrow to go where one wants it to go.

In this case, I couldn’t line up the second needle piercing of the fabric with the first one and put the third hole directly centered between the two…because that consistently gets me skewed V’s. I have to aim up and above the first stitch, and make the V wider than I think I need to. If it’s too wide, adjusting tension can help fix that (though I don’t know if that will have lasting effects later on down the line).

Anyhow…it would make more sense if I posted a video, but I’m very new to working with video! The point is, I have to compensate for the give of the fabric and the tautness of the stitch, to make things do what I want them to do.

I was very happy when I made the above little sprig. Before I lay down the stitches, I did a running stitch where I wanted to lay down the twigs, then made a small stitch at the tip of the frond, then did fly stitch until the pine needles would bump each other, and moved on to the next bit. It looks really bad if I put all the needles in, before planning where the branches will be…

…and it does remind me of painting, a bit. Experience in drawing did help me here, too.

tulip edging

The above is an edging sample I was toying with, last night: it’s something I would use to try and reinforce an edge (though I’m not sure it would work!). I’ve started on a different version with light blue crochet thread, but all the photos of it came out wonky. With this one, even, you can’t even really tell that I was making half-hitches with the thread over the edge of the hem, because the white is so washed out, but that’s where the pattern began.

Right now I’m thinking of trying a different camera next time; this was shot with a simple point-and-shoot, when I think a macro lens is called for.

But anyway, those violet things are little upside-down tulip stitches (basically a combination of a petal stitch [see below] and fly stitch). It helps that each one takes up about two repeats of the half-hitch pattern. The white cotton is DMC perle cotton crochet thread (Size No. 20), while the pink and purple are DMC embroidery floss (I mentioned last entry that they behave very differently when stitching over an edge — due to the fact that the perle cotton is round in cross-section, and the embroidery floss, is not).

By the way: I did absolutely make it out to the lace store, today. I have three little spools of perle cotton thread which are somewhere between being like a sewing thread in diameter and the DMC No. 20; and one spool of light blue DMC No. 20, as I’ve found pure white to be harsh. I’m hoping to put a herringbone pattern (and possibly edging) on one (or more) of my collars!

I’ve also found that I have consistent “likes,” where it comes to color and color combinations. I can stick with this for now and then branch out, but I find I’m drawn to green, rose/pink/violet, and blue. (I got some Fat Quarters at a different store [little bits of cotton fabric] and was surprised that I had, indeed, picked coordinating colors!)

And…yes…there are a couple of things about that experience that strike me. One is that it expands my options exponentially when I think about doing things for myself, just because I like to, instead of planning to try and monetize them.

Also, this may fill the hole that was left when my local bead stores went out of business (I picked up a rotary cutter and some templates, which…enable me to work on quilting!). The fine handwork portion is there, and the color play portion is there. And if I get good enough, I can even try to enter the State Fair competitions…

Yeah…maybe I shouldn’t think about that too much right now, and get back to what I’m working on…

embroidered red maple leaves

To the right, is the third photo which came out clear enough (and interesting enough) to post, tonight.

These are those maple leaves I was talking about before, which grew out of an attempt to make a six-petaled flower, until I made two petals different sizes and just decided to go with it. So the points are individual petal stitches, arranged in a circular fashion around a central point.

I’m pretty sure that these leaves were made using all six strands of the DMC embroidery floss, meaning I had to use a large needle, which made a large hole in the muslin. I’m pretty sure that there is a large danger of ripping through the fabric at the center, there.

I can see that the botanical theme I’ve been drawn to in Art, is also working itself out, here…I’m kind of wondering if it would be worth it to research floral patterns and nonfigurative art, in light of that.

Anyhow, tonight was…just really kind of awesome, especially when I figured out how to fix the problems with the fly stitch I was working!

I also did some work on re-teaching myself slipstitch, from my hand-sewing class, a long time ago. Right now I am not sure if I want to do quilts or embroidery or garments, more (or all three, meaning I’d have to shift energy and resources): there is a couture sewing book I have right now which is awesome for learning to construct garments by hand (no machine stitching). I’m not sure if I should try and find a copy to put in my permanent collection, or not, or just read it and Xerox what I need to remember.

Of course, a lot of that hinges on whether it’s even available…

Back to the needles

…There is a now-sealed hole somewhere in one of my fingertips which proves that I was doing something creative, tonight. 🙂 Particularly…I was toying around with edging/reinforcing hems, and embroidery.

I seem to be particularly good at fly stitch, petal stitch, tulip stitch, buttonhole stitch, blanket stitch, and whatever that variant is which has one making larks-head-knots over the edge of a hem.

I also find it very interesting how embroidery can be like drawing, with mark-making and linear elements being key. There is also the fact that difference in line weight and color are the main ways to vary certain stitches, and that whenever I make a design unit one way, alternate ways to do them, present themselves…

…like the first time I had a go at this and tried to make a daisy, and instead got a maple leaf. Or the time I tried blanket stitch and realized I could write yama, yama, yama over and over again in kanji by varying the height of the anchor portions!

Not to mention that my stitches are like my handwriting, and they are characteristically mine right now in, say, the way that I tend to slant things that shouldn’t be slanted (or at least, aren’t ideally slanted). I’ve been having a bit of a time with keeping the legs of my fly stitches even: I’m having a hard time gauging how much the fabric will “give,” or distort, with a stitch.

I also find it very interesting, how often strategic needle entry and exit points, and wrapping of the working thread around the needle tip, are main components of the stitches I’m dealing with, now.

Right now, I’m trying to get better and more consistent at what I can do, rather than trying to do everything at once. For instance, I want to try feather stitch, but it’s kind of out of my comfort zone right now. Not to mention, I’m not sure I understand the instructions. I’m sure once I get good at and bored of straight fly stitch, feather stitch (like fly, but staggered) will be a welcome bridge into further designs.

I just stopped playing around with this, so no photos, yet. I’m sure that even though I was under a torchiere lamp, the light would have been sub-par for making an image of what I was doing. And some of it is really delicate, using only one out of six strands of DMC embroidery floss, which I’ve found is then broken down into two more filaments…

I do like the delicacy of using one strand, but…doing anything that could be seen, with that, would be a lot of work! (Detail of repeated fly-stitch elements [chevrons] on a collar, though, is something I’m thinking about.)

I find the repetitive work calming, though not boring or stressful (as versus knitting, for me. I don’t knit well). I have to pay attention to make sure the stitches turn out right, because when attention isn’t paid, it shows. What’s weird, though, is that when you’re paying attention most of the time, that shows too, and the errors fall into the background.

Earlier, I was telling D that I feel like one of the differences between the arts and crafts is that crafts are more obviously community-oriented. I have to learn technique from somebody, and heavily rely on skill and technique, so nothing I make is ever fully “mine;” there is always a debt and honor to those who taught me for having passed on the knowledge. (Kind of like martial arts…)

But that (the difference between art and craft) is a question, you know, that I keep going back to and which hasn’t been fully answered for me, yet. I should probably run some more searches on it. I’m wondering right now if there is a difference or if the difference was invented recently for some historical (likely money- or prestige- or sex-related) reason.

Anyhow, it was nice to just be able to work with my hands tonight, and not worry too much about the intellectual content of what I was doing. 🙂 I’m hoping to be able to find colored perle cotton tomorrow (No. 20), at the cute lace store that I found not so long ago. They had tons last time I was there, so it will probably be good.

Speaking of which…I opened the pattern I obtained from that store, tonight. The monpe pattern is extremely simple — so much so that I’m considering machine-stitching the trial pair in muslin — though I’ll have to enlarge it a bit because I’m apparently very curvy for someone who might wear Japanese clothes. 🙂

And, I have plenty of muslin with which to practice embroidery. Not to mention, a few plain mens’ shirts of which I bought duplicates (they were $5 each, on Clearance). I’m not sure if I do still fit them (they’re “Slim Fit”), but I can practice stitching on the collars (collars and cuffs seem to be the first places to get worn through, and if I can edge them, I can protect them and extend the life of the shirts. These shirts, though, are short-sleeved, so I can focus on the collar and plackets first).

The biggest concern I have now is the colorfastness of the embroidery thread, and whether, if I start hand-stitching my own items of clothing, I’ll end up with a bunch of stuff that I have to wash on Delicate or hand-wash or dry-clean (though it probably wouldn’t be as big a deal if there were a lot of it).

There’s that, and the fact that perle cotton and embroidery thread work up very differently…one is round in cross-section; the other, flat. This has a strong effect in how they behave when stitched (particularly in edgings and very very much so in buttonhole and blanket stitches, at least), which is why I’m going to try and get some perle cotton (in a color other than white, black, or ecru) tomorrow.

Also, no: I really have no idea why I like to work with needles. Except, maybe, I’m precision-oriented and highly attentive to detail? That could have something to do with it…

I’ve gotten the idea, also, that if all I want to do is hand-stitch (and also because I love playing with color), it’s possible that I might enjoy quilting. I’ve had the idea before…we were researching it for a bit, and then I laid off of it for some reason that I can’t remember. Was it because I was lacking a cutting mat? I have that, now.


Breaking out of the narrowness, for a bit:

For Christmas festivities last night, I cleaned off the craft table and stowed some stuff away. When I was putting it back, I used a little miniature set of…well, organizers, which helped very much! I am planning on expanding the organizers soon, which is why I’m not saying what they are, 😛 but…I would hope at least to clean up that area. I would also like to arrange things so that I don’t forget about the resources I have, while chasing after new ones.

For instance, in addition to the drawing and painting which I’ve done and which I have resources for (and which are difficult for me to start, not kidding — though I have been doing some visual research and started with a different method of approach to the painting I mentioned last post: color blocks as versus contour-line drawing), I also have wanted to do embroidery, sewing, and beading, in the recent past. I also have tools for wirework and crochet. And…bead embroidery, now that I think about it. (Also, knitting: but I’m unmotivated at knitting.) 🙂

(EDIT: Oh, and collage and block printing! I entirely forgot about that!)

These things fall into a rather unattended area of intellectual property law, as I would be creating things with the help of others (in the form of instruction in technique). However, they aren’t particularly novel inventions (thus the technique can’t be patented), and don’t fall under copyright, so long as I don’t resell the physical patterns themselves as my own. What remains is down to friendliness, honor, and often-unspoken community norms. That, my dears, is Craft, and it is ruled by “managed openness” (not my term, but I can’t find the reference right now).

One of the main reasons to gravitate back to the Fine Arts, for me, is that the Intellectual Property slog is much clearer, even if so hard to enforce that it’s almost useless. In that case, I’m making images or sculptures or prints from my own mind that would normally not be reproduced by anyone else (until uploaded to the Web, that is, where anyone can download and use my unique contribution without my permission. There is no Universal IP Law that applies globally; it depends on international contracts which no one has to buy into).

And yes, I do believe I’ve talked about this before (possibly not in such detail), under the tag, “copyleft.”

I had entirely forgotten that I have a pattern for monpe (Japanese field pants) and the fabric to make them with (and wanted to make them)! I also forgot that I have plenty of needles, at least one good thimble, hand-sewing thread and basting thread, and sharp scissors ready at hand!

And I want to get back into hand-sewing. I really want to get back into hand-sewing, and I don’t even know why. There is just a thrill in making things, you know?

Maybe one of my gifts to myself this Christmas will be allowing myself the time and freedom to do this. Do anything I want, regardless of whether I can sell it or call it fully “mine” or not.

I also want to read and practice and write, at least a little, in Japanese. For now this will be limited to my textbooks, but I have enough books to give me a good variety of beginning approaches and reading material.

My biggest hurdle at this point is kanji (Chinese-based characters), though the book Beginning Japanese by Kluemper, et. al, starts out teaching kanji along with syllabary (as it’s geared toward AP Japanese students — it seems to move faster, even, than Elementary Japanese by Hasegawa, et. al, though they look like they cover the same material). I need to practice and reinforce what I know and what I’ve forgotten, so that I can move forward.

Maybe tomorrow, I can mop the kitchen floor and lay out, pin, and cut out my pattern on muslin. I know by now that I’ll need to make it a Size 16, which is the largest size available for this pattern. If things go how they may, though…I may start dropping weight on my own relatively soon, because of going off of a medication which causes weight gain. I still haven’t made that last jump to not ever taking it, but right now I’m on a half-dose of normal, and have been for a while.

I do think that it would be foolish of me to state, though, that the weight gain is entirely due to medication; genetics are also playing a role, as is lack of activity. My appetite hasn’t been as much of an issue since I started probiotics (amazingly enough). But since I will need to take a shower soon anyway, it wouldn’t hurt tomorrow to get in some physical activity.

See, I knew that I would get around to articulating my priorities over Winter Break! …about midway through Winter Break, yeah! 😛

Sometimes things just fit together and you get a glimpse of the big picture:

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.  ❤