Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Beader's Floral - book review

Well today I got a cool new book... It's a little pricey at $39.95 retail but it is a very cool book:

The Beader's Floral by Liz Thornton & Jill Devon

This book has the coolest collection of flowers!!! Among the many flowers in this book are: Water Lily, Clematis, Tulip, Fuchsia, Daffodil, Cornflower, Iris, Snowdrop, Pink, Peony, Orchid and Columbine.

The directions appear to be more detailed than the usual condensed version in the magazines. This book is 144 pages. The diagrams are in color and there are oodles of pictures of projects and a gallery in the back for inspiration.

It's definitely worth the price and is fully available here in the US now, so make sure you check your local bead shop and see if they either have or can get it in!!!

Just a bunch of quotes today

I don't know where these came from originally, but it was in a friendship forward I got today. I think they speak volumes.

Be kinder than necessary because

everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

A sharp tongue can cut my own throat.

If I want my dreams to come true,

I mustn't oversleep.

Of all the things I wear,

my expression is the most important.

The happiness of my life

depends on the quality of my thoughts.

The heaviest thing I can carry is a grudge.

One thing I can give and still my word.

I lie the loudest when I lie to myself.

If I lack the courage to start, I have already finished.

One thing I can't recycle is wasted time.

Ideas won't work unless I do.

My mind is like a parachute...

it functions only when open.

The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!

It is never too late to become what I might have been.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Needling the Thread

There are a few things that I have noticed universal across the board with most beaders and one of them is how we thread that blasted needle. You have thread that is fine and soft. If it's Nymo, it's like blasted dental floss only thinner... So threading a beading needle - which is also fine and has the thinnest of eyes - is a task for the new beader. Many a time have I told my students that I will thread anything they need in class to save on time because when you are new at it, you can literally spend 5-10 min trying to get that baby threaded. But what I do isn't special; it's pretty much what all beaders do. We needle the thread instead of threading the needle. This means that you hold a tiny bit of thread sticking out between your thumb and forefinger then lay the eye of the needle onto that tip of thread - hoping and praying to get it on at least the 2nd try!

So the question right now is - can anyone own that method? Just because you make a tutorial - you can copyright the text but can you take credit for the process? I certainly didn't invent it and I have seen many, many beaders do it and instructors teach it. Can one person really think so much of themselves that they own how to thread a needle?

A quote to think about:

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and
with too high a spirit to be encumbered
with old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stolen or borrowed or simply not that original of an idea in the first place?

Sometimes I write here to unclog the garbage from my brain. Other times I have in the past written here to correct bad info posted on the net. Still others, I write here to tell of my own experiences. Basically I write here so you get to know me a little better and maybe understand me a little bit.

How does someone decide that something you designed must be stolen from something they designed??? Is it well meaning people telling them that the ring they saw looks just like one they designed? Did they see it themselves and have the same thoughts?

Item in question is a flower ring that I designed. This item is a derivative of a flower I learned in 1999 or there about from a friend who was also a beading instructor. This friend/instructor and I often took little pieces from each other to create a new piece. We were both pretty comfortable with our own beading talent such as is was, so neither of us was threatened by the other's creativity. It's the reason I love to teach. I love to see what else someone does with what I teach him or her. I wouldn't want to see a bunch of identical versions of a piece designed by me. I would want to see several similar, yet different pieces that were started with something I designed and taught. It's the best compliment to a teacher to see the students learning and broadening the idea just a little bit. To see someone taking something they learned from you and created something that is their own is a great thing.

After all, no one invented beadwork in the first place. It's been done by many cultures for hundreds of years. Needlework of all kinds has been taught generation to generation. I remember being given a ball of yarn and taught single crochet by my mom at about 7 or 8 years old. I made a little cap for my doll to wear. For embroidery, I was given a flour sack dishtowel in a hoop. My mom had drawn the lines for the petals and dots for the center. There, she taught me the lazy daisy and the French knot. She didn't invent either the knot or the loop but she taught it to me just the same, as her mother had done to her. No one owns it or even thinks to try.

What is it in a person to decide that you could not have possibly both come up with a ring with a flower on it at different times that may look similar but are still also different? This all seems to be the buzz in sleepy town I live in right now. I teach at the local bead shop and through the buzz at a few recent events at the bead shop, it has come to my attention that another bead designer here seems to think that in a brief acquaintance we had, I stole her idea for a beaded flower ring. It’s a little much ado about nothing if you ask me. There is plenty of room in the bead world for more than one ring with a flower on it. You would think that the chattering people would have better things to do but it’s such the nature of the human apparently to speak in hushed circles about thing that may or may not be true to the detriment of another. They have a word for it – GOSSIP! Instead of being an adult and contacting me personally, she choose to tell other people that I stole her idea from her. Had she contacted me personally, she might have been proved wrong and then she wouldn’t have had anything to gossip about!

So I searched out the other ring in question and it’s a nice ring but I would never have looked at hers and thought that she saw mine and designed it to copy me. It’s nice and it’s different from mine. Who really cares anyway? Well she does apparently... Heck, I may have been wearing it the very day I met this person. For me, it’s about getting the crap out of my head so I can design and bead new things. So for the last hour or so, I have been looking through photos on back up CD’s to see just when I made my first ring. The photo was taken in 2002, though I think I beaded the first version about a year before that. I didn't move here until June of 2003, so my mind is now clear but I have to wonder, what if it had been the other way around. What if I did see something someone else did and was inspired to use a flower I learned the basics of from someone else 5 years before and made it into a ring?

I did a google image search for Flower Ring and literally thousands of images on the internet fit that description. It says “Results 1 - 18 of about 1,080,000 for flower ring”. I didn’t invent the concept and neither did she. Yet I’m a thief because I have one I designed which I teach and sell a tutorial for.

I simply don't get the issue here. I have never seen her instructions and she has never seen mine that I know of. She could have seen my ring and was later so inspired to design a flower ring of her own. So what? I just don't get the very thought process that makes someone look at something and decide it has been stolen from them. What makes a person have such an ego or even having the lack of ego to be so threatened by a similar design by another beader?

There is another flower ring here:

The kit is for sale as we speak, as mine was when I sold kits on that same site. Does it mean that any of us stole the idea from another one? NO!

And still an even cooler flower ring is here:

So before you assume that someone has stolen anything, think that maybe, just maybe they could have come up with it on their very own – with their own two hands. This same person learned how to make a cool earring from me and took it another step. I thought it was great! The idea didn't end up working but I often pull the pair of earrings she tried it on out and look at them trying to figure out how to make it work. The idea was adding flowers to the Dutch Spiral earrings I make. They look great when they stay on the outside, but they try to flip into the core here you can't see them. The acquaintance was brief and it never really did develop into a real friendship. My mom says that it ended because she had learned all she needed to from me. Maybe. The last time she came over to bead, it was so I could teach her how I make twisted fringe. I taught her that and never really saw much of her after that. What is really sad is that I have an even cooler way to make the twisted fringe now. She would love it even more this way! But she lets the crap clog her life. To fixate enough to tell several people that I have stolen from her, instead of moving forward and designing something even cooler herself, she is poisoned with the negative crap. I sincerely feel sorry for her. It is sad for someone to feel so low and unappreciated.

Everything is really not about you. It’s about a much bigger picture. In the end, isn't it about promoting beadwork, which is something we all love, right? That any of us can make anything using the ideas we come up with is great and we should all celebrate each other and not fight. It’s more important to keep the crap out of your brain so you can have a chance at creating. You get back what you put out. And if you put out crap, that is all you are going to get back!