View the GALLERY OF ENTRIES here (please view from desktop or laptop as the link is proving finicky from phones and tablets)
I often hear a lot of folks say that tutorials somehow negate the creative force, that following the instructions of another lacks a sense of originality. And this design challenge proves exactly why that's nonsense! Instruction is not law, it's not immutable. You are allowed to work with the flow of a lesson, or row down your own river. It's a jumping-off point, but not canon. I love to see how others change designs, allow mistakes to happen, cut wires too short accidentally and have to improvise. Those moments always spoke to me on a personal level, and offered me the opportunity to own the process, which is exactly what these entrants have done. They OWNED it!
(Please note: I received 54 emails and responded to each. I checked my spam folder daily to make sure I didn't miss a single entry. If you attempted to enter and do not see your entry in the gallery, please send me an email ASAP. I will add your entry to the gallery as quickly as I'm able.)
The gallery of entries will be available for VOTING, however, through May 23th, 2019. Voting is open only to those who participated in the contest. To vote:
A note to non-participating viewers and commentators…. please reserve the term “VOTED” for participants only, to avoid confusion during the judging process, but do feel free to comment as a show of appreciation for the beautiful work submitted. These entries are worthy of the recognition they receive and then some.
On May 24th, votes will be tallied and the “Group Favorite” (most voted by participants) will win my completed version of this project, any ten tutorials of their choice and a $25 cash prize via PayPal. In the case of a tie, I will place the deciding vote.
Also, a “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any ten tutorials of their choice and a $25 cash prize via PayPal.
Every contestant should receive the finished version of this tutorial as a thank you for his or her participation. This tutorial will be sent as a reply to all the participants, within the next day or two. Please check your spam folder or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not receive your copy of the tutorial by the end of the weekend.
Thank you all so much!
But I was feeling the pull.
I've always been inclined towards a sense of minimalism. I don't like clutter. I feel overwhelmed when surrounded by too many things. And, of course, organization is a keystone of my day to day life. So, part of my Depth Year was a low-spend or no-spend promise to myself for 2019. I hoped to find peace and joy in what I already possessed, and not in the hunt for something new and shiny. This didn't, necessarily, mean I wouldn't purchase anything at all, but that I would attempt to be very conscious about my purchases.... bringing to me only the things that filled a need, purchases that supported local artists or business owners or fed into the creative community, and purchases that would further what interests I'd already established that I'd hoped to journey deeper into during the year.
And I think, entering April, I'm finally finding my groove with my Depth Year journey. I deleted all shopping apps from my phone (even apps for Michael's or JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby.... those coupons encourage me to spend without necessity!). And now that I've purged unused items, even items I've only recently purchased, I feel much more free to create, or that I'm at least open to creative possibility.
While I may have moments I'm derailed from this new path of mine, I wont punish myself for it or allow it to derail my goals moving forward. I may yet buy another purse. I may buy another tarot deck, despite the 20 I haven't used in months. But I'll endeavor to try, every single day, to invest my time and energy into what I have.
And this isn't just about "things". I endeavor to spend my time more consciously as well. I want to experience the depth of great relationships, encourage other creative souls in whatever way I can (and yes, sometimes this will mean buying things), and keep my interactions positive and uplifting whenever possible. And when not possible, be open to receiving the positivity of others.
So yes, while I may have "failed" at the beginning of my Depth Year, there's still a lot of 2019 left, and I'm opening myself to whatever that means. I'm excited to see where this road will lead.
Are you investing in a Depth Year? Let me know in the comments below!
The summer flu swept through the Hanna household with full fanfare this month! You know the kind of ick I'm talking about.... you feel fine one night and wake up the next morning in a fog of congestion, and then it all rolls downhill from there. It's going on three weeks now, fighting fever and coughing fits and sneezing attacks and, I imagine, another week or two to go! Because... and here is where I get to the point of this post.... I keep working!
While some might say it's admirable to push through illness, stay productive, get things done, it's also, without at least some moderation, seriously detrimental to recovery. A cold can seem a small thing at its start but, without self-care, can spiral into weeks of congested, sleepless nights. I was a zombie for four straight days and, just when I started to feel human again, I think "Right! Let's do this!" and jump ring back into my list of to-dos. And then a day later my body says "Hey now, you listen here, you will sit still if I have to make you sit still".
And it does.
And if you're in the business of being creative, if you're livelihood depends on your ability to maintain a certain amount of productivity, plan ahead. Reserve work or blog posts or social media posts to share during those days when self-care is a pre-requisite for continued forward momentum and you haven't the energy or will to actively create. And then, when you've scheduled your next blog post and you've shared a piece you made four months ago, take a lay down on the couch, watch a little (or a lot of) Netflix, drink some warm tea and rest. Rest your body. Rest your mind.
Everything else can and should wait.
One of the questions I'm asked most frequently is whether or not it's okay to copy a design, or how similar a design needs to be before it requires attribution to the inspiring artist. I wish I could say "The short answer is...." but, sadly, as with most things in life, it's not quite that simple.
Let's get the obvious out of the way. If you've paid for a tutorial, followed a tutorial offered for free, or otherwise have verbal or written permission from the artist to replicate a design, feel free! As an aside, it should be noted I'm discussing a complete design and not technique. Techniques are not protected by copyright laws. If you see a weave you like in another design, for instance, use it! But use it creatively and originally. I learned the netted bezel technique from the Eni Oken tutorial, pictured below, and used that technique with an original woven frame. Whether I used the tutorial or not to replicate the technique, it was utilized in an original design and therefore not a copy of the design. While attribution is the polite thing to do, in this instance, it's not a legal requirement.
This is also not a post about "accidental replication". You know what I mean.... those instances when two artists who have never met, nor been introduced to the other's work, somehow create pieces that are incredibly similar. While truly rare (especially in an age of Pinterest), this does happen. If you find yourself in this situation, and one artist can prove provenance (their piece was completed first), and they request a cease and desist, it's my opinion that the easiest and most professional thing to do is comply. Honestly, this isn't the end of the world. There are other pieces to be made.
As in my other posts on copyright, I'll reiterate that the idea you can change some variably-defined percentage of a design and still call it original is muddy waters, at best. There is no magic percentage that will protect you from copyright infringement. If you've been heavily influenced by another artist, the easiest way you can protect yourself and your work is to ask the influencing artist their opinion on the piece. Worst case scenario they say "Hey, that's a little too on the nose and reminiscent of the piece I made last month. I'd appreciate if you refrained from sharing or selling your version of my design." It happens. As artists, I understand we're often emotionally invested in the work we complete, and this response can rattle our sense of creative self, for lack of more effective phrasing. Rule of thumb: if you ask yourself "is this too close to (insert design here)", then it probably is. Ask the inspiring artist and go from there.
With that said, copying has it's place in the creative world. Artists, for thousands of years, have copied and emulated the work of masters as a study to improve their own techniques and discover their own style. I often find photographs I like online and use those as a reference to sketch. If those photographs are not open source (ie free for use), I do not share my sketches utilizing those protected images. They are just for me, to help me improve my skills, and they stay between the covers of my sketchbook. It's good to remember that not everything our fingers touch needs to go out into the world for recognition. So if you see a design on Pinterest, and you want to give it a go, I'll be the last person to say "Hey now.... whatcha think you're doing?". But I would caution, loudly, these replicas should not be shared or sold, even with attribution, without permission from the inspiring artist. If you can't determine who the inspiring artist is, don't share it. I like to err on the side of caution.
I suppose, in the end, the answer is simpler than I'd originally anticipated when I sat down to write this post.
When in doubt, ask the inspiring artist. When in doubt, ask for the opinion of an impartial third party. Can or should you copy? Yes to both. There's a place and time for it. What you do with that copy, or how you handle copyright infringement claims as a result of that copy, is another matter entirely.
In the end, folks, I encourage only one thing... stay creative and happy weaving!
I am not exactly an Instagram addict, but I can easily lose 30 minutes of my life scrolling through my feed. Wait... that doesn't exactly support my original assertion, does it?
I wanted to share with you my favorite Instagram feeds to follow. Maybe you'll find them as inspiring as I do! Just click their names to view their feeds!
1. Joybird. I'm not going to lie. I love Joybird furniture. I want to outfit my entire house with it. I want to live in their Instagram feed, wrap myself up in art deco light fixtures beneath a brilliant blue couch.
2. Pitch Pine Pottery. I have a weakness for pottery... specifically coffee mugs. Probably born of my addiction to coffee, but I'm fairly certain if (gods forbid) coffee was striped from the earth, I'd still own a ridiculous number of handcrafted mugs. I love having them on my desk, being inspired by their art while I work, and feel a little indulgent when drinking from them.
3. Ravens Meadow. One of these days, I'll own all her work and may not even put a single one in wire, because they tell such powerful stories on their own.
4. Tammy Kanat. Five years ago, if you'd asked me, I'd say that I'd never much bothered to decorate my walls. I was, you could say, severely practical in home decor. But this artist's work with fibers is absolutely inspirational. I could easily cover every wall, ceiling to floor, with her work and live in a fantasy.
5. Gracemerewoods. So much detail on such tiny canvases. I could imagine myself with an entire family of these creatures in my home, keeping me company, taunting my cats, and generally just being awesome.
6. Spirit Nectar. If ever there was jewelry that captured pure magic, this would be it. Any single piece and I'm lost in the woods with the fey.
7. Terri Foss. And keeping with the theme of mysticism and magic, check out the amazing artwork of Terri Foss, where everything is a fairy tale and all those tales include witches!
8. Sculpted From Nothing. It's like holding a world in the palm of your hand.
9. Moonchild Tarot. I have a problem. I collect tarot decks. A lot of them. To be fair, I've downsized my collection from over 200 decks to (a respectable, I think) 50. And until I get my hands on a copy of the Moonchild Tarot, their Instagram feed will have to do.
10. Homesweethell. Everything about this appeals to my inner goth. So very very much.
Perfectionism. The creative spirit in all of us has, at one time or another, fallen victim to the pursuit of perfection. While I use the word "victim" dramatically, it's also honest, because striving for perfection is one of the most damaging habits creators can build in themselves.
"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough - that we should try again." - Julia Cameron
When I create a piece of jewelry, I am not just making jewelry, something functional or impersonal, but am expressing the day I've had, or the month or the year, which all translates into the wire I weave. When you see an extra turn of the wire in a weave, a visible join or a kink, for instance, that is the part in my story when I was thinking about how my son was hit by a drunk driver while riding his bike home from work (he's thankfully very much okay), or realizing that my dinner has burned (again), or enjoying the constant distraction of my cats.
So no. I will not fall into the trap that perfectionism sets. I will not lose the parts of my story that make me real and keep me honest. I have a feeling there's an audience out there who appreciates the imperfections of others.
Stay creative. Be a superhero in how you express yourself. Be fearless and unapologetic and embrace your story from start to finish.
Creativity is about the expression of a vision, and those visions are a direct reflection of our lives. Sometimes, life is messy. Life is imperfect.
If you're already subscribed, no worries, you're automatically entered to win! And not only are you in the running for this prize, but I have four video tutorials planned in the coming months exclusively for subscribers, as well as awesomesauce holiday coupon codes and PDF lessons, all only available through my newsletter. But I promise... I wont hit your inbox with general ramblings five times a week or anything excessive. I like to keep things mellow and on point and only share with you goodies, deals and new releases.
Thank you so much for all your continued support, for being part of my creative family here on my site and my social media platforms. Every day I'm blessed to read your comments, your encouragement, learn about you and share a bit of myself with you in return.
Check it out and good luck!
What do I do when it's a day off and I have a camera and a beautiful niece with nothing better to do than spend an afternoon with her aunt? I messaged her with "Hey, wanna go get thrown out of Hobby Lobby with me?" and a link to this video. I shouldn't have been surprised when she agreed, so I charged my camera batteries, packed extra SD cards, and off we went to complete the Hobby Lobby Challenge!
What is the Hobby Lobby Challenge, you ask? It's basically taking staged photos inside your local Hobby Lobby (or any craft store.... any store at all for that matter). Both of my nieces are always game to help me add new photos to my website, and are always (seemingly) keen to wear my jewelry for a bit and earn a little modeling fee, or free lunches, or both.
shelving units, tags and posts visible between the vines and flowers, so most of these images required a rather intensive amount of post-editing. But I used free software with Photoscape and Snapseed, and it's easy to get a good basis for some great life-style shots this way. Plus, the weather was uncooperative with a light but steady rain, so an indoor location like this was an ideal exercise in photographic creativity.
Tarissa was such a sport! She chose her own outfit for the shoot, which worked out beautifully with the greenery of the floral department, and she was never too shy to sit on the floor, sit on shelving units, tuck herself behind fake ferns and generally just rock it!
"Just go stand next to those random lamps."
The pieces in this collection all utilize multiple stones, gathered together in a bezel of wire that is sometimes chaotic but always organic. Once I've chosen an ancient archetypal story to tell, I sit with the stones and the wire and allow the characters to manifest in my thoughts before taking to task the tools at hand.
I suppose it's a rather abstract representation of Gaia, for instance, to see a collection of Imperial Jasper and carnelian stones huddled together in a nest of curling copper. And her story may not be immediately clear to the casual observer. But I come to know her, or what her story represents, while I sit with the wire and allow it to move and dictate to me the direction it takes. Though I've been told or have read her tale many times over the years, each piece that I make in my effort to express her story in art is always unique, always showcasing an emotional connection that I've made to the Gaia in me, for lack of a simpler explanation.
I imagine this collection will be a long-standing one for my work. The opportunity to tell these ancient stories, however limited by my skills and technical knowledge, is one more step towards embracing the goddess within.
Alas, I am also obliged to say that I am no longer accepting requests for custom work, for an indeterminate amount of time. I will not be maintaining a waiting list of requests, since I currently have no plans to open to requests in the foreseeable future. This will, I hope, allow me the opportunity to focus on learning and utilizing new techniques and materials in the months and years to come, expanding my "mental toolbox" if you will, and adding to the skill-sets involved in producing my creations. All available work is posted in my store and updated as frequently as I can produce and will, undoubtedly, often indulge the one-of-a-kind tendencies of a raving wire-weaving addict!
I want to wish you all an amazing up-coming holiday season at least until we see each other again (soon, I hope!). May your days be as stress-free as possible while you track down all the weirdly specific items on your holiday gift-giving list! My son wants a light saber stick-shift USB port for his car and I'm not ashamed to admit that I have no idea what that is! Ah, Christmas. Good times.
Stay creative, everyone!
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