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."
One of the first things I learned as a home-based business owner was that the saying "you have to invest in yourself before anyone else will" (I have no idea who coined that phrase) was entirely accurate. BUT, I also learned that there are things you can utilize to propel your business forward that wont require the black-market sale of a kidney. Or both kidneys.
So I'd like to share with you some more resources I've used in my business practices.
ACCOUNTING, TAX PREP, INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: First, one of the most popular and prolific questions I'm asked regards accounting, tax preparation and inventory management. I am not a tax professional and encourage everyone to talk to a tax professional before instituting any accounting, tax or inventory software or processes. But, if you'd like to get your feet wet with some research, this invaluable resource was introduced to me last month that is a rather comprehensive list of resources to suit the needs of this category. Check out THIS RESOURCE (click here) from Cloudwards for a thorough walk-through of some of the most popular accounting, tax and inventory solutions.
PHOTOGRAPHY: If you've followed me for a hot minute, you'll know I'm a photography enthusiast. While, as a hobbyist, I have invested in pro-sumer camera equipment, those beginning to build their home-based business can use free, inexpensive or on-hand resources to create stellar marketing and sales photography.
WEBSITE AND ONLINE PRESENCE: I've said it before and I'll say it over and over again. I no longer have any affiliation with them, but if you're looking to build your business from the ground-up and finances are tight (we've all been there, may still be there, may find ourselves there again....), try Storenvy. It's free. It's customizable. You can link a free Blogger, Wordpress or Weebly blog to it, create static pages for a gallery of past work, an About page, a policies page, for a complete online presence. For the price (you know... free), it's an absolutely amazing option.
These are my most-used or most-referenced resources in the running of my business, or have been in its beginning stages. I hope you have fun giving them a go!
Stay creative, folks!
Wow. Just.... wow.
The entries I received for this design challenge were all out of this world, and completely, unabashedly unique. I'm so tickled to see such a level of uniqueness derived from the same beginning steps, the same materials and tools. The magic factor here is, of course, the imagination, talent and creativity of those who entered... who managed to blow us all away!
If you haven't already seen the GALLERY OF ENTRIES please CLICK HERE. Note: It's best to click from a laptop of desktop. For some reason, I've failed at technology and social media this month, or Pinterest changed their platform, or perhaps a combination of both, but apparently folks had trouble accessing the album and, from a phone, the link was sending you to the Pinterest main page. So... I'll probably rethink things a bit for the next one! It's a learning experience for me too!
Still, we had a total of 68 beautiful entries and each one deserves a round of applause. From these 68 entries, the participants placed a vote for their favorite and the highest vote won the honor of "Group Favorite". A panel of seven judges, consisting of both consumers and jewelry artists, came together to pick a "Judged Favorite". As in previous challenges, the winner of the Group Favorite vote wins my completed version of the project as well as 10 tutorials of their choice. The Judged Favorite also wins 10 tutorials of their choice.
And... get this... we had our first ever TIE! That's right... a tie for "Group Favorite"! This is the first time I've ever had the extremely difficult tie-breaker job! There were a few votes that were not qualified (cast by non-participants), so posting the winners took a bit longer than anticipated as I cross-checked votes with participants.
So let me introduce you to the two participants who tied for GROUP FAVORITE!
These were both incredible designs, showcasing a load of originality and daring, each with a mountain of movement and character. Ultimately... as they say in Highlander.... there can be only one. I will emphatically state that choosing one over the other in no way implies one is actually BETTER than the other. However, I had to go with where my spirit called me.
And the winner of GROUP FAVORITE is.... LOIS DEMERS! Lois wins my completed project as well as 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
However, I would like to also offer Caroline Louise her choice of 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials as well, because she made a stellar piece of art!
And as if these two pieces aren't enough to wet your creative whistle, let me introduce to you the JUDGED FAVORITE!
First of all, manipulating that 14 gauge wire is a BEAST, but she also managed to make the leaves flow effortlessly, creating a truly cohesive flow that moved seamlessly with the required steps. Really beautiful work. Angelina wins 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
But you know what. I wanted to offer up an HONORABLE MENTION as well, because it's my design challenge and I wasn't NOT going to mention this piece......
I mean... come on.... Not only is that an example of the most meticulous weaving I've ever seen (sure... I may be a little jealous), but the symmetry is SPOT ON and the photography is natural and inspired, and she received her fair share of the votes as well. I can only say I wish I'd designed this first. Lovely. So, with that said, I'd also like to offer Donna 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
And that, my friends, brings to close another amazing "Finish It!" Design Challenge. Please give these winners a huge round of applause and congrats. They deserve it, as do all the entrants who took the time to challenge themselves and complete and submit their entries.
Thank you so much everyone for participating, for encouraging the participants, and for your patience during my social media/Pinterest kerfuffle. Hopefully I'll have things a little more clear for the next run. And there will definitely be a next run, so keep your eyes peeled and check back often!
View the GALLERY OF ENTRIES here (please view from desktop or laptop as the link is proving finicky from phones and tablets)
Imagination... that creative spark we ALL have, is really the driving force behind these "Finish It!" Design Challenges. There were a beautiful handful of tutorials I've learned from over the years and, during that time, I've heard others refer to the use of tutorials as a "crutch", that everyone should "design for themselves" (and I have blog posts arguing against that idea for a variety of very valid reasons). This contest proves that tutorials can be a jumping-off point, the spring board from which these 67 entrants launched themselves and their creativity. And I'm so thankful they did. Every day, I was truly gifted with these entries flowing into my email inbox, inspired by them, motivated by them, and awed by them. I hope you will find them all equally amazing.
(Please note: I received 66 emails and responded to each, as well as one Facebook submission, totaling 67 entries. 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 viewing… well… indefinitely or, at the very least, until Pinterest falls into the dark abyss of the internet, at which point the images will (hopefully) be moved to another file sharing system. In the meantime, click the link above to view the wonderful creations.
The gallery of entries will be available for VOTING, however, through May 20th, 2018. 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 21st, votes will be tallied and the “Group Favorite” (most voted by participants) will win my completed version of this project and any ten tutorials of their choice. 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.
Every contestant should receive the finished version of this tutorial as a thank you for his or her participation. This tutorial has already been sent as a reply to all the participants, so if you haven't received it yet, please check your spam folder or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all so much!
Enter between April 10- May 9. Open world wide.
The purpose of the "Finish It!" challenge is to encourage the participants to extend themselves, their talents and creativity beyond the limitations of a single set of instructions and create pieces uniquely their own. Tutorials have been an integral part of my personal evolution as a jewelry artist, from such talents as Eni Oken, Iza Malzcyk, IMNIUM and Lonely Soldier. And my progression from the steps and instructions provided to me by others has been a worthwhile journey towards my own creative self-discovery. Tutorials need never represent a "cookie cutter" aesthetic, nor the only design possibility, but rather a gateway to limitless possibilities, and the entries received for these contests have proven, time and again, the truth of that statement.
Here’s the gist: At the bottom of this post is a link to a tutorial or, more accurately, the beginning of a tutorial, and ending abruptly less than halfway through the instruction. Your job is to create a piece beginning with the steps, as explained in the file, but ending with your own imagination!
While this is mostly intended to reward you with a sense of accomplishment, the “Group Favorite” will win my completed version of this project and any ten tutorials of their choice.
A “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (none of which will be participating in the contest), will also receive any ten tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant will receive the finished version of this tutorial simply for participating. This tutorial will arrive as a reply to your submission email, after the contest is closed to new entries, so check your spam folder if you do not receive it by May 12th. Also, be sure your email host will accept incoming attachments. I've had many emails rejected because the mail box was full, or security settings did not allow attachments.
Note: Please access this file via a laptop or desktop computer. Some mobile devices are uncooperative with PDF downloads, and I may not be able to address requests for manual email delivery of this file in a timely manner (thus using up your submission time).
Good luck everyone and happy weaving!
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