Crafty business…(half punning)

Well, there are a number of things going on here…I’m trying to decide which to divulge, at the moment.  The trouble with concentration is still going on, though I’m taking it relatively easier on myself than I had been.  Meaning that I got some more work done on that bracelet I mentioned a couple of posts back, though I haven’t taken any photos of it yet; you’re just going to have to trust my word that I worked on it.  🙂

Probably the biggest surprise with that is the amount of impact the picot beads are having.  I mean, right now the color scheme is teal, deep copper-red and a tiny bit of violet.  The moss green beads aren’t really very visible any more because they’re sandwiched between the teal and copper.  These two colors come forward in contrast to the dark green iris beads, which comparatively recede (their colors aren’t as saturated).  I hadn’t intended for the picot edging to be as dominant as it is (it adds a significant amount of width to the bracelet — meaning in this case, two mid-size stripes along the edges), but as I said to M earlier, I’ve realized that I can do this pattern in a whole bunch of different colors.

Right now it’s got a copper theme, but there is also a green and violet one which I want to make (the one I first intended to make in 2011, I think, which I found the sample and instructions for [I made the instructions for my future self, by the way]), and a green and gold one which I can start, at the very least…and I want to make a violet-red one, too.  After that, I can see whether I want to go into oranges and golds.  It depends on the colors that are available this season.  We just came out of (or are coming out of) a trend with matte fluorescent colors, which I’m not really sad to see go, but it may become more difficult to find brightly colored beads (as regards fashion trends in supplied bead colors).

In addition, if I’m using the tiny #1 bugles, I’ll have to use 15º Japanese or 13º Czech seed beads to match, unless I want something that is intentionally not-flat or with larger spaces between the beads.  There’s also the option of using standard-size bugles, though I’m not altogether fond of the ones I’ve seen.  They lend a very directional quality to the beadwork which isn’t my favorite, even in the piece I’m working on, now.  Nor am I a fan of seed beads (including bugles) with hexagonal cross-sections — I think they have too many hard lines, for me.  I’m thinking nebulously about using Twin beads, SuperDuos, or DiamonDuos in stacks which will slant in a particular direction, then joining these somehow and adding edging.

M also stated that she thinks that the design I’m making is unique enough that I don’t have to cite the person who inspired it…and now that I’m seeing it work up, I can clearly see both the inspiration and the clear divergence from the pieces I’ve seen made from the patterns in the book, Beaded collars.  The techniques are similar, but the techniques are also public-domain.  I’m thinking that the similarities really fall in the combination of the techniques (and not even all that clearly in some sense, as I’m using peyote stitch, not netting stitch).  I will likely also experiment with different edging and joining methods in the future, as well.

And I’m just hacking my way through connecting the two ladder-stitched strips.  If it works, that is, I’m doing it.  I had a system at one point, then I screwed it up.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe it was too regular and predictable?

I also don’t know how my mind is figuring out how to regularly put on the picots and space out the connecting lines (it requires weaving in and out of the bead holes with a needle and thread [for some reason, I like needlework], and I keep ending up in a place I don’t want to be with the needle — which is where the pattern of weaving started to come into play), but I’m sure that if I make enough of these, it will become clear.

What else…?  I spent a significant amount of time today helping M with her projects — particularly, teaching her how to do wrapped cord endings.  This mostly went well.  Mostly.  I kind of messed up one by leaving too much loose cord at the beginning of the wrap and then wrapping the rest of it so tight that I couldn’t tighten the loose loop.  But learning is the point, I guess…

And I do think that I have realized that while I may combine metalwork with my beadwork…the primacy of color in beadwork is something that really draws and continues to engage me.  Particularly, when things don’t turn out as predicted!  There is the drawback that anything I make can be picked apart and reproduced by someone who’s skilled enough, but as long as I’m not making a living off of it (which is a far goal for anyone:  making substantial money off of beadwork?), I probably don’t need to worry about it, so much.

The point at which to worry about it comes when I have a publisher and book of designs, and even then…what can be copyrighted is limited.  And the beadwork magazines are full of designers’ progressive iterations off of other artists’ designs.  We learn together.  I am presently under the impression that not copying others’ designs rote and selling them is more of a personal honor thing than anything — under some circumstances, clearly just copying and selling copyrighted work for money (this is not viable as a business plan, and in fact makes me wonder why someone would fully copy another person, except to learn [as is — and has been — a widespread method of learning in the Arts]); in other circumstances, work that is just not fully mature in iteration, using stepping-stones set in place by more mature designers; and in some circumstances, the designer has enough experience that they are drawing off a wide pool of skill and thus their work does not directly look like anyone else’s, because they’re in their own flow.

I’m not at the latter point yet, but I’m not at the first, either.  My biggest trouble may just be becoming overloaded with work which I need to drop (as I wouldn’t be able to — or want to — wear it all [seriously, I have a personal sense of style which my beadwork doesn’t necessarily conform to]), and that stuff could be sold and the proceeds (likely) put back into making more jewelry (or donated).  Then there’s just giving the stuff away, which I’ve also done…no guarantee that it will be appreciated that way, though.

Speaking of which, this project has me thinking on making beaded beads as earrings.  The thought came up before, but I didn’t jump on it then, for some reason.  I’ve known how to make beaded toggles for a while, and I’ve thought they could make good drops…and that stuff is definitely public domain!

attempting to preserve my health (…so I say)

Yeah, that.  😉  Right now I’m dissolving a zinc lozenge in my mouth before going back to bed; I lay down at 8 PM or something, basically slept until midnight, then took medication.  In addition, I also took B-complex and Vitamin C supplements.

I feel kind of bad doing this instead of homework…but sometimes you really need to care for yourself, you know?  Emotionally, mentally, and physically.

I did spend about $20 at the hardware and craft stores today, though D picked up the tab at the latter.  So now I have two feet of 14g copper wire, and three feet of 16g (as I said before, the higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire).  My flush cutters can take two mm of copper wire, max., but I also have heavy-duty cutters lent me by D.

Right now I am wondering how I’m going to polish this stuff — we do have a Dremel, and polishing equipment to  go with it — but I forgot that hardware store wire (the kind one can torch, pickle, and patina) generally isn’t sold, polished.  I’ve got to figure out what to do with that.  I can’t do wire wraps around an unfinished clasp…nor should I polish anything that isn’t soldered down.  Plus, polishing compound sprays everywhere, and I’ll need to wear work clothes and a face mask + goggles.

It’s not that it’s difficult to use a pick-soldering technique to secure wirework, it’s just that I’ve never used a small butane torch, before (as versus acetylene) — and heat requires chemicals to get the oxidation and flux off.  And, well, we have silver solder, so the silver color is going to show up unless I grind it away while polishing.  And the polishing compound may get stuck in the wires.  Maybe that’s why people patinate with liver of sulfur and then polish again?

(Or maybe that’s why people buy their wire from jewelry suppliers instead of hardware stores…craft store wire brings in a different set of elements where the metal may not be [assume it isn’t] safe to heat.)

It would probably be OK, though, to file the pieces smooth with needle files and then wire-wrap…it will just look like a brushed/faceted finish.

Maybe I do need to invest in some polishing tools…I can make heavy chains, then.  (Never ever polish a chain with a rotary power tool!  You could lose fingers.)  There’s the possibility of a rock tumbler…which honestly sounds like the most economical way to work, but it’s an investment.

I did also make a little thing, yesterday.  It didn’t take too long:  it is a bracelet made with (what I think is) waxed cotton (I got it from a craft store and threw out the wrapping a long time ago), and ceramic beads.  The beads I got, surprisingly, don’t work all that well with this…twine? yarn? cord? (I guess the latter fits) — I had been hoping to put two strands through the holes, but the holes — even though they’re about 2mm wide — are only large enough to accommodate one strand.  I had been hoping to find this cord in a color other than black (maybe mauve), but honestly I’m not sure where I found it in the first place…was it with the hemp, or the perle cotton?…

I was just looking through a book and got lost for a second…this is a book that I think I got from Kinokuniya Bookstore, called Macrame Pattern Book, by Marchen Art Studio.  It’s actually a really kind thing they put together…it has pictures of finished patterns and then written and visual instructions as to how to knot the patterns.  As I’ve said before, starting in on a pattern and working it leads to a number of different possibilities for derivation from the pattern.  This book does say that the patterns are for personal use only; on the other hand, they also show some really common (public-domain) patterns, in addition to the more specific ones like the numerous “Buddhist Treasure Mesh” panel patterns toward the back of the book.

One of the patterns I really want to retry is on page 39, Double Spiral Knot.  I worked out how to do it a long time ago, after a bunch of errors.  It did, honestly, take work to learn, but now I know how to do it.  I’m curious as to how it can be combined with small beads, or if that will destroy any structure that was there in the first place.

I do want to break into one of the books by Joan Babcock — she’s published three paper books, the third of which was recently gifted to me (I’ve tried doing a knot pattern that I think I really need help on — I know I can find it, there).  Then, there is the wireweaving angle (which is why I picked up a coil of 26g round copper wire today, though if I’d known we had some already, I would have saved the $4).  Micromacrame and wirework really seem kind of parallel in aesthetics, to a point.  I think they may have the potential to work together…

And, there is one photo of a project I made, floating around the Web; I’m curious to see if I can rework it and make it into a printed and drawn pattern, which I can distribute.  For free or for pay?  I’m not sure, though I don’t think it would be wrong to ask for compensation…I probably wouldn’t charge a lot.  (Well.  Of course.  Me.  The person who has experimented with putting Creative Commons licensing on their uploaded work and works in a library.  Right.)

Okay, I’m…really getting tired, about now.  It’s about 2 AM here, so I should be getting back to bed — especially since I do really need to clean up before sleeping.

Logging off…

Trying to work out the logistics of copyright RE: crafting. This is not legal advice…

…rather, it is me trying to figure out, out loud, what is meant by the differentiation of “technique” and “pattern.”  (Writing helps me get my thoughts in order.)

I should note that I am not an authority on copyright law; I’m just a crafter who has been struggling with the question of what is “right” and “wrong” in regard to the ethics of making jewelry to sell, for years.

I did go to work today, and it wasn’t bad — amazingly, it seems to help me.  Even though I do still struggle with shyness, the social contact seems to benefit me, and I often feel better after I leave than I did before arriving.  At work, one of my co-workers (who had noticed my new collar) asked me if there was a reason I wasn’t selling on Etsy.  I couldn’t…quite…give her a good response!  Though I realize that a lot of it has to do with being a little wigged out over the possibility of unintentional copyright infringement.

Now that I realize more clearly, though, what goes into creating a specific design, the difference between technique and design becomes clearer.  With my last collar design, I realized what in fact was my work (that is, my design), and what I had help in doing…which was just a basic knowledge of sinnets which I had to know (or be taught) in order to construct the beaded straps which helped complete it.  However, the overall message and feel and content of the piece was not contained in that sinnet.

This is not legal advice, but just my current understanding:  Design seems to be something that I create for a specific purpose, with a specific message in mind, with specific materials.  Technique (also possibly more helpfully considered “construction technique”), includes the elements (like beadweaving stitches; parallel this to embroidery stitches [and yes, those two can cross over]) which are used to substantiate the design.  Technique cannot be copyrighted.  Design can.

Design is something difficult to put a finger on before you do it, but after you’ve done it…especially after you’ve done it for years without realizing it — and then you face the possibility of publishing it, and start wondering if someone will mimic your work with no knowledge or understanding of its underlying logic, for monetary gain…it’s perfectly clear.

Generally speaking, designs are sold for personal use:  that is, it may be OK with me if you follow my design to make yourself a collar, but it is not OK with me if you use it for commercial purposes without asking, or thinking of reimbursing, me.  With me, this is largely because I struggled to put that design together, and because a part of myself is invested in that design.  When you follow a pattern, a large part of the work is already done for you.  It would be best to consider them tutorials, though:  a step on the way to gaining the knowledge and skill you need to design your own work (which is, even when simple, immensely more satisfying).

There’s effort that’s gone to in order to choose and combine elements and materials, to fit them to each other, to choose and execute construction techniques, to build a feel and aura and message or concept behind the finished piece, to translate one’s process into words and images that others can understand.  The finished piece is, thus, the result of a set combination of decisions.  If these decisions are replicated without question (sin making the instructions; I doubt anyone would replicate that and think it was all right), the finished product is substantially similar to the original — even if its deeper significance is not grasped.

The more decisions diverge, the less like the original design the piece happens to be; however, if the design is based on an original design by someone else (say, like online Buffy fanfiction is based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; is not Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but substantially profits from Buffy’s name recognition and branding, and still follows Buffy’s groundwork — especially if it competes with Buffy for viewers), then the best route to take before entering into an enterprise where substantial profit may be gained from its sale is to consult with the original designer (whom one might helpfully consider a partner for this one item, as they may ask for a cut of your sales in exchange for their labor, which in turn saved you labor) for permission to move ahead.

And I ask myself if it’s clear enough for me, now.  The reason why this isn’t legal advice is that it’s just what I seem to have figured out by myself in the absence of substantial trustworthy help.  Most work I’ve seen has been how to avoid having others replicate one’s own designs, not how to avoid inadvertently replicating the designs of others.  (And yes, two or more people can hold copyrights to the same design, if they originated independently.)

The clearest thing I’ve found is that judgment as to whether penalties apply for the supposed violation of copyright law is a subjective (and complex) human decision and often based on a matter of degree and (possibly) intentionality (such as one case where even a photograph was ripped from someone’s website and used to advertise an off-brand’s goods)…and so the easiest way to avoid violating copyright is to learn a number of basic techniques (and I will say it’s hard to learn these without following instructions, at first:  which then gets confusing [“is this a pattern or just a technique?”]), then with the skills learned and the principles behind why they work becoming clearer, just play around with the beads, cords, threads, wires, etc., as versus following a pattern.

Trust me, it’s much, much more satisfying to build a thing yourself, when you get to the point where you can stand on your own two feet.  But the vast majority of us have to crawl before we can stand.

“Patterns” are usually visible because they make at least one large diversion from popularly disseminated technique instructions (which are visible in a number of places — particularly online, and in print).  They are easy to see after you’ve been around the scene for about 10-15 years, because if you look in a number of beadweaving, wireweaving, bead embroidery, chainmaille, macrame, etc., books and magazines, you’ll see the same basic foundations repeated over and over again (within each craft category, of course; although at times some work, such as micromacrame and wireweaving, do cross over with each other where it comes to aesthetics).

These basic foundations, distilled out of ten or so, “recipes,” I’d say are generally safe to use (I really don’t think anyone can be said to own Brick or Peyote Stitch at this point:  although they do originate with multiple Aboriginal groups…as far as I know, they did originate in different places at different times, not necessarily with contact between those groups, and are part of the basic core of a beadweaver’s repertoire.  The sad fact is, though, that a lot of techniques were transferred long ago from people who didn’t, and don’t, have the power to demand compensation).  The, “recipes,” themselves, though, used in their entirety and without derivation, are something I’d try to keep my own hands off of, where it comes to sales.

An example of a “technique” would be RAW (Right-Angle Weave), Spiral Stitch, or Russian Spiral Stitch, as recently showed up in my Reader.  (Thank you, Sam!  And if you see this, can you tell me if you feel I’m correct or off?  [Granted, I know we’re all finding our own way, but as you do design professionally, I’m thinking you might know more than I do.])  Specific variations, such as CRAW (Cubic Right-Angle Weave), I am uncertain of the legality of using, because the variation (or this variation of it, at least) originated at one specific (recent) time in history.  However, going by the “technique is okay to copy/use” and “design is not okay to copy” rule, I would believe it would be safe to use CRAW in your own designs.  The absolute safest route, would be to write to the person who originated CRAW and ask, though the technique is so widespread now that I wouldn’t think it necessary.

Patterns are fine to play with and learn (particularly technique) from — and by, “pattern,” I mean some kind of set of instructions which differentiates itself in a major way from the techniques which are so known and widespread as to be basically public domain.  But it’s best to get permission before selling items made fully or partially based on or from patterns, for profit — especially if you end up making a lot of money off of a design which didn’t originate with you.  (Of course, some pattern designers will say it’s OK to use their designs for profit, and if they say that, it’s OK, too.)

This can creep up on you, though:  be careful, particularly if someone says, “I want you to make me one like that,” referring to something you’re wearing which you can construct from instructions, but did not design.  Being a beadworker who is trying to be ethical, you let them know you did not design the piece and let them know where they can find the instructions for it.  They don’t want to make it themselves.  They then pay you for your labor (uh oh) and wear it, and other people again want you to make them “one like that.”

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe this is where you can get into trouble, particularly if you end up making a lot of items with very little brainpower exerted in design.  But “design” (and the difference between “design” and “technique”) can be a hard thing to wrap your head around, especially if you haven’t had a lot of art training!  And really especially, if you haven’t been around long enough to know what the basic techniques are, and how to deduce them from the sea of instructions around you.

Using a half-hitch or a petal stitch (embroidery term creeping in there) or Cavandoli knotting (macrame term) is not forbidden, just because you had to learn from someone.  You don’t have to go it alone.  You do, however, have something of an obligation to at least ask the people who taught you if they would like compensation, if you sell something they designed for profit.  If you just used what they taught you but didn’t use it in the exact method of their tutorial, though — and this is not legal advice, but — I’d say you’re probably OK.

And again, this is just what I’ve puzzled out over the period of time during which I’ve been trying to figure out what is safe to sell as my own work.

Helpful commentary, not destructive commentary, is welcome.

Checking in: bead heaven

Things have been going relatively well.  School does start up in about a week, and I’m not thrilled about that; particularly as I’ve started to get used to not needing to do anything on an urgent basis.  The exception to this is work, which has been a grounding force for me, but maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled with being able to take four days off in a row if I worked three in a row.  (I’ve gotten most of my textbooks already, and am a bit…intimidated by the subject matter.  But I should be able to tell if Cataloging will be comfortable for me by the end of the semester.)

Well — I think I know the real culprit, actually, and that is having the time to be able to invest in making jewelry…which is one of the select, rare things that I dove into which I had been granted implicit permission to explore as female.  I had doubted myself and wondered whether I was only in it because I was trying to find anything good about being female…but there are other good things, too; not all of them easily nameable.

I’ve worked my way up to metalworking (that is, Jeweling/Silversmithing) classes (though I mostly used copper [which I kind of love] and brass), but it’s not easy to make a life as a jeweler.  What I can say is that to succeed at it, you really need to love what you do.  This is not an issue for me; but the sheer time, effort, and money (plus management, marketing, and administrative) skills needed to run a small business, is.  This is not to mention the faith that it will get easier, someday.

I had been trying pretty hard at the two-dimensional art…which is just a term I use for drawing and painting (I sometimes use the term “flat art” to myself, but rarely aloud, because it sounds pejorative [but familiar]), though I suppose if one got creative, one could do this on three-dimensional forms, as well.  🙂  I’ve thought of the latter, but haven’t taken a ceramics or sculpture class in years (I did spend two years [or was it semesters?] of high school in Ceramics/Mixed Media, though!…and now that I think of it, at least one or two semesters of middle school in Wood Shop.  Huh.  Didn’t realize I had that alternate path going, there…jewelry design and construction seems a rather organic parallel and/or outgrowth).

Anyhow, I say, “trying,” because I …now that I think about it, I think I actually did start learning beadwork prior to trying to learn how to draw well (first, loomwork; then, peyote stitch)… but the reason I got back into the Fine Art path was related to trying to salvage something of my first degree in English.  I wanted to make a graphic novel (or more likely, if it turned out I liked it, more than one).  I didn’t know, however, if I even liked to draw anymore.  I had done drawings, but had gotten bored with them (I didn’t care to see yet another anime face [which I and everyone else already knew I could draw], and as time went on, my expressions had become more and more limited), and so re-entered classes around art to see if I could revive whatever drove me to draw in the first place.

And what was that?  I’m not entirely certain.  It would have been an interesting question to ask myself at 14, but I am sure that it relates to anime, manga, and visual storytelling…particularly storytelling that came from a culture different from my own (it’s different to be nikkeijin than nihonjin).  In particular, I saw a level of compassion for the antagonists in some series (like Sailormoon and Slayers) which did not exist in American media; this happened at about the same time as I was struggling with being outcast.

I’m not sure if that’s just excellent marketing to a specific target audience or what, but it left a favorable impression on me.  It probably also ties in with what I was saying before about appreciating international media (including writing).  I’m fairly certain that animation was my first in-road to two-dimensional art (I was 14, what can I say), but at the same time, there is no way that I want to work in Animation, now (though I do have one Certificate (something like a ground-level certificate) in it; and right now I question my ability to tell a good story and not lead myself into madness in the process.

In this case, the classes were kind of a test, like last semester was kind of a test, like this upcoming semester is kind of a test.  I’m a little intimidated by the latter, if only because these two classes may be the final classes intended for my track…I’m not sure; maybe I should ask an Advisor…but I did read to take Beginning Cataloging as soon as possible, if interested; this is probably because it weeds out a lot of people.

Back to the original story, though:  jewelry, particularly when it works with color, is something that strongly engages me.  I got out of it because of concerns over environmental damage perpetuated by mining companies — particularly those mining metals.  In addition, there is the somewhat ridiculous culture which insists that gems which all look alike (as though mass-produced) are the most valuable.  This is in Fine Jewelry, though (the kind one finds in department stores); I am more of an Art Jewelry and/or Craft Jewelry person.

And…I just realized probably no one but me knows the difference between Art, Craft, and Fine Jewelry, here…gah, do I have the energy to explain it?  It’s kind of an aside, and I’m not even sure if I have all the particulars correct.  Art Jewelry is one-of-a-kind, usually handmade and unique, using unique stones.  Craft jewelry incorporates materials like fibers and beads, wire, and PMC (Precious Metal Clay) and may be woven or knotted, typically handmade.  Fine Jewelry is what is typically thought of as jewelry:  diamond earrings, gold engagement rings, standard wedding rings, etc. — I’ve seen a lot of CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided-Design/Computer-Aided-Manufacturing) work to this end.  There’s also Fashion Jewelry, which tends to be inexpensive, mass-produced, and low-quality.

In any case…I was drawing the other night and kind of lamenting that this seems so uncreative, to stick with painting and drawing as my art forms, as though I knew nothing else.  Then I remembered my beads…which I’ve been collecting since I was about 12.  And my cords, which relate back to what has been called micro-macrame, because of its delicate nature when compared with macrame of the U.S. 1970’s.

I had been shunning the beads after a series of run-ins with one of the established, “if it’s been done before, you can’t do it,” voices in regard to copyright and (even if unintended) copyright-infringement.  Then there’s the whole, “if you have to consult instructions, you’re not ready to sell,” stuff, and the, “but you didn’t make those components, you’re just an assembler,” argument.  I realize now that listening to these voices is not doing me any good, because all it is, is “I do unique work/I’m skilled/I’m actually creative (UNLIKE YOU).”  Ultimately, this reads, though, “I’m insecure and am afraid you’ll be competition/better at this than I am, and so I’m going to try and make sure you never continue in this path.”

Unfortunately, sometimes one has to withdraw from groups with these people in order to get out from under their grip, especially if they’re presenting themselves as mentors.

In beadwork, the line between public-domain and copyrighted design, and what constitutes “design”, is pretty unclear:  until you actually start wholeheartedly designing things.  Now that I’ve started really consciously getting into design, it becomes clearer:  technique help is OK to consult when constructing something to sell; wholesale mimicking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own when selling it, isn’t.  That’s just the impression I get, not legal advice; but it becomes clearer when one stops following patterns and only consults one’s library for technique help and some inspiration (which will not be directly followed by copying what inspired one, to sell for money).

Of course, though, then it gets difficult when someone sells a book with an extremely basic design that you probably would have thought of yourself at some time in your life…and then, what do you do?  Hands-off forever?  Write to the author for permission to use the design?  Maybe the latter, eh?

I do have more to say in regard to buying more materials — and then, last night, unstringing years of collected beads and loading them all into small vials, which I then put into a couple of clear plastic boxes with drawers so that I could see them all and color-match…but that will be easier for me to work on tomorrow; not at 2:20 AM.  I’ve already eaten an entire bag of Gummi Worms; I think I should get to bed!

Preparing…hoping…(engaging and loving are needed)

Well, I do suppose that I’ve been either taking care of food, hygiene, or study since the time I woke up.  I guess I can do something not required…

Late last night, I was able to come up with a vision for a book which may or may not be made.  Actually, there are at least two main paths I can take:  bound on the side, or on the top.  I’ve noted these down in my Sleep Journal (pretty much the only thing I was awake enough to draw and write in).

I keep having dreams about photocopying 18″x24″ sheets of comic works in order to reduce and print them…last night what was coming to me was the uses of large-sized Layout paper (scan, resize and print the original images going into each panel, then paste them up them behind the Layout paper, and trace the images through the paper for a final layout and inking).  What also came to me was the possibility of using acrylic inks as a color overlay on top of the Layout paper, utilizing frosted acrylic or polyester sheeting (I’ve seen it called “vellum,” but that term also applies to other art surfaces; it may only apply to the texture).  Then both the Layout paper and the sheeting can be scanned in and aligned in Photoshop, with the color layer set to 100% transparency.  At that point it can be printed at less than 8.5″x11″, cut and hand-bound.

Then there are the uses of graph paper, or paper with dots every 1/4″ (I’ve seen this as well; more often in Japanese stores), to fit a comic layout to a grid.  I think that most of the papers I have are not as big as 18″x24″ (as in my dreams), though!  It would be laborious to draw out something that big, anyway.  I’m sure I have something around 11″x14″ or 14″x17″, but I’m not sure the sizes match.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking on how to make the story I began last Spring into an actual, fleshed-out, written story.  But I don’t know whether to narrate it in prose, or whether to use it as a basis for a series or body of art pieces.  I do have a bit of a dream of putting it in a book:  but books can contain much more than, well, writing like I’m writing, here.  I can put in illustrations and storytelling, and prose poetry (it gets better with editing, which I don’t do much of, here).  And if it’s an art book, it will probably be OK.

I haven’t posted about the topic of the story recently, because if I do plan on going big with it, it wouldn’t be to my direct advantage to speak about it in its natal stages.  On the other hand, I probably don’t have to worry about anybody “stealing” my story, because that is in effect, impossible, just from my disclosing synopses.

The story is born from me, it is spun from me; that individual touch is going to permeate it and distinguish it from any inspiration others may take from my ideas, in order to make their own stories (which would actually most likely be about a different set of concepts than my stories are).  Authenticity and cohesion is palpable, and multiple people can take the same prompt in very different directions:  another thing I learned in Art classes, which wasn’t as visible (if you will) in Writing.

I have decided to go ahead and get a couple more packs of these Signo 207 pens, though, for drawing practice.  They’re just…really nice, even if they aren’t waterproof.  I’m also, as I said before, scared of ruining the good pens (my Microns and Copics) with pressing too hard on them during practice (and not even necessarily drawing anything serious).

This happened to me with a Micron 005, where I bent the fiber-tip and then had to hold it weirdly to be able to get any ink out of it, and it was starting to happen with the tiny Copic nibs (I purchased the disposable ones, so there is no going back and replacing the nibs on these pens, as is possible with the more expensive, refillable Copic fineliners).

I realize that the Signos, being roller-gel pens, are not going to discourage that habit (they have metal tips, not fiber tips, and will in fact incise the paper in finer nib diameters); but at the same time, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to Microns — about $1.50 each.  They just have a nice feel — like I could play with them and run the ink out of them and not worry about messing them up, or about whether anything I happen to draw with them has to be “good”, or worthy of the use of such expensive instruments (as Microns or Copics).

Originally, I was going to give them a pass:  then I was playing around in the margins of my notes the other night and used both a Medium (0.7 mm) and Micro (0.5 mm) tip on a few of the drawings I’d made (really just doodles, but it’s…kind of astonishing, to me, that my mind does this).  The very fine distinction in line width actually matters.  It’s visible.  It surprised me.  While I wouldn’t use the Micro to write with, it comes in handy when illustrating details, and anything you don’t want to have a heavier line weight.  The 207s come in an Ultra Micro (.38 mm?) and a Bold (1 mm), as well.  I’m planning on picking these up for more options.  (Plus, I get irritated when I can’t find any good pens…)

Of course, though, I am in Finals; so my only sure time to be able to play with these hardcore is coming up in — HA, 10 days; though I work on five of them.  I’ve just got to be sure to prioritize things appropriately, given that I have somewhere along the lines of 242 hours left of the semester.

I did spend three hours at the library today, researching and collecting items for a Diversity assignment (fairly interesting, I’ve got to say:  I have three days to work on it), and trying to do research for my last group project (the meeting for which would have been rescheduled to Sunday, but I ran into people online anyway; the take-away from that meeting is that we may need to simplify our approach).

Luckily, I did stay up late last night to complete the paraphrasing of my Librarian interview; so the hard part there (the part I was dreading and avoiding) is over.  (It helps that I was a Creative Writing major; I can extrapolate the meaning of my interviewee’s words and restate it, rather than aiming for exact word-for-word transmission [which would not be possible without a voice recorder, which I don’t have].)  What remains is to add my Reflection piece and edit; then I can turn it in (even though yes, I am scared of getting below 85% on it — my professor is tough).

The only other big thing is a paper on Privacy, which…hasn’t even really been assigned, yet, though I can start working on it after I finish my Diversity paper.  Then there is something to write up as practice for the last element of the program (!) …yeah, okay.

Those are the major assignments; plus saving my records to my friggin’ portfolio (which I don’t entirely know how to do, yet; I should search for tutorials).  I have a hard copy list of everything in total that’s due before the 12th, though.  It’s not looking nearly as bad as it was last night, so that in itself is awesome…

“Camo” color fusion…I need to do some research.

Since I’m going in so many different directions and don’t know, really, which is best — maybe I should just pick what I’m feeling “on” about, and go with it.

Based on a pattern by Carol Wilcox Wells, in _The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving_.
Based on a pattern by Carol Wilcox Wells, in _The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving_.

The photo above is a record of a bracelet I made a little over a year ago.

This is not the actual bracelet, as for that to work, I’d need to finish the ends and make or attach a clasp.  (I’ve found another practice version of this in my stash.)

Gold plate or gold fill would probably look good with this — gold plating would probably suffice, because the metal wouldn’t be worn in a piercing.

I generally don’t like to make toggle clasps with “beaded beads,” as I have a tendency to split seed beads (which beaded beads are made of) by reinforcing the toggle too much.  This is the reason I try not to use size 10 needles with size 11/0 seed beads…which are so much tinier now that I’m older.  When that happens, the toggle has to be scrapped.  It’s also possible to warp toggles by reinforcing them in a non-mindful way…but I haven’t been making these for a while.  (Toggles can get bulky, too, and they’re not always as secure as say, a lobster claw clasp attached to a soldered ring — which is visually cleaner; just more expensive.)

The main reason I photographed this was to record the color and luster combinations, as I found this particular combination of beads to be successful.  This is the “camo” color theme that I mentioned earlier, which I wanted to utilize in the necklace project that I started and then got scared to work on.  (Too many design possibilities makes it difficult for me to choose a path and go through with it, though I do suppose I can always take the thing apart and just be a little bit of thread less.  I hate the disarray that involves, though…)

The thread path used above is a variation of Chevron Stitch published in the book, The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving, © 2002 Carol Wilcox Wells.  I’m not sure if I altered it enough (and I did alter a lot in character, color, texture, visual pattern) to make this legally my own or not, especially as the Variations of this stitch in this section of the book are all extremely basic.  I’m thinking that they’re so basic as to not be owned as one person’s intellectual property — but don’t take that as legal advice.

I probably should check around for books on legality in handcrafts…though I’m thinking that the people targeted by copyright law would be large-scale firms actively exploiting small-scale artists’ designs, not micro-scale crafters making one-offs for family.

One of the reasons I got this book was that the author was good at showing how patterns could be altered for different effects, as versus giving one project “recipe” which involves little to no creative play in order to complete.  Many of these types of books will tell one how to make jewelry just like the pattern designer, but not teach one how to design on one’s own.

I hate this.  I hate, hate, hate this.  I would much rather be taught how to design than be provided with designs.  Teach me to fish, dang it.  It’s the same reason I don’t make my own clothes, because why would I make my own clothes if they’re going to end up like store-bought ones?

I’m not into beading so I can be the manufacturer of someone else’s designs.  This is not the point.  But this lack of legal clarity (and thus, clarity as to whether it’s ethical to sell beadwork in general, given that all of us had to learn somehow, and I doubt all of us learned without any help) is why I got out of beadweaving to begin with.

At the same time, I’m probably trying to construe a law to apply to my situation which was never meant to apply to me.

I should probably get ready for bed…

What to share, why to share, etc…

It seems that I go over this problem a lot — the question of the purpose of this blog, the question of the purpose of sharing anything, the question of the purpose of expression, etc…

I was a largely silent child, so I suppose maybe this concern has been with me a while.  The concern over publishing art or writing…is an extension of the concern over speaking or letting anyone know who I actually am.  The latter two bits are the reasons I got into writing and art in the first place.

I found an interesting macro here while playing around with the Reader, which kind of sums up the issue.

Also, I should let you all know that because of some kind of bizarre stuff I’ve witnessed, I’ve become more hesitant to visit the blogs of those who have left “Likes,” and then Like/Follow them.  If this has impacted you, it isn’t because I don’t like you or am trying to slight you, but rather because I’m being more cautious than I was before (I’m doing research before visiting your blog).  But concomitantly I’ve seen the number of “Likes” on my entries drop.

Yes, you say, because you keep writing three-and-four-page-long posts!

^_^;;;  Yes…well, there’s that, and the fact that I work when everyone else is playing and play when everyone else is sleeping.  If I set these things to be posted at 2 PM instead of 2 AM, maybe I’d have more readers!  😉

Yes…well…

Anyway, I do still have a…quite a lot of photos of work I did last semester, and a lot of photos of other experiences I’ve had within the last year or so.  I’ve wanted to share them, but at the same time I don’t want to give away my treasury, so to speak.  So long as I don’t share them, others can’t try to claim them.  But what’s the worth of art if no one sees it?

And, to be clear — I do know this is the Internet.  What I did in the last image was crop the original, reduce the DPI and publish a highly compressed JPEG (barely above the threshold at which artifacts start to appear).  That wasn’t even really a great photo, though, which is probably why I felt OK doing that.  Also, though, it was the first photo I’ve published, the location of which I divulged.  I could do a lot more of that, and it would probably make the rest of this blog make a lot more sense.  😉

In particular, I have some really nice images from the Arboretum, including one or two which I may want to make into a larger image.  If I painted it, resolution wouldn’t be a problem — but I don’t know how to save photos in Camera RAW yet, so I’m afraid full-res with that image is only going to give me a 6″x4″ print.  I’ve been considering a Creative Commons licensing scheme for the images I may put out online, but I haven’t settled on it (as versus copyright, which is a pain to enforce) at this point.

The advantage of Creative Commons is that it avoids the legal junk that comes with copyright and just asks that derivative works cite the original artist and appear with another like license which allows further derivative works to be made.  The other advantage is that it remains my work, as versus the possibility of my having to go to court because someone else claims copyright to my work and says I can’t use it because it’s theirs.  However — if I’m recalling correctly, hypothetically copyright comes into play at the moment of creation, unless I disclaim it (which I haven’t, yet).  Shouldn’t be a problem so long as I have the originals, and I do have the original photos as well as the original works, for the vast majority of the material I’ve posted, here.

If someone else claims my Creative Commons license is theirs, there’s much less of an issue — I can still utilize what I did in the past in my own future work, it just has a faulty legal attribution which will have to be (probably fairly easily) corrected.  After all, the only reason to claim someone else’s Creative Commons title is to be a jerk, and being a jerk usually isn’t worth court fees or countersuits.

There’s also the issue of anonymity or lack of such, especially because some of my works are still in installation.  It’s not like I expect anyone to go see the installation, but I’m just not used to actually having my work on display, or the possibility of someone connecting the information I publish here with the work on display.

But that’s normal for a Fine Artist, you say.

Yes, probably.