Ticklebean: I am a mom, a wife, and a homemaker. I wanted to do something for myself because I missed making my own money. I’m new to jewelry making, but when I made that first necklace I was hooked. It’s kind of addicting. I started knitting when I was a little girl (I’m 30 now). Just about everyone I know has some kind of knit item from me. I just like making things with my own two hands that I love and that other people love.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
Hand hammered jewelry using the ancient techniques of repousse and chasing. I mostly work in silver. My favorite items to make are pendants and earrings.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started by taking a U.C.L.A. extension class in making handwrought jewelry (as opposed to doing the lost wax casting method). I then was introduced to a German man who specialized in repousse, and studied with him for several years. Before turning to jewlery making, I wrote episodes of some animated t.v. shows.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Yes. I was at the airport checking in for a flight to New Zealand. This was before 9/11, when one could still take things like hammers and saws into the cabin of a jet. I had my toolbox with me, and the airline attendant asked me what was in it. I told her it held my jewelry making tools. Somewhat surprised, she stated, “Humm, a woman with tools”. I have been a woman with tools ever since.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I make jewelry by myself. I do get input from family and friends as to what items they like the most. I work best in the morning; it sort of sets the tone for the day. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything in my life. It’s sometimes hard to concentrate on making something when my little dog comes over, drops a toy at my feet, and stares up at me.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I used to have my work in a few galleries, but it’s hard making a profit on silver jewelry that takes such a lot of time and work to make. I’m not too good at selling my things in person, so online is perfect for me.
Right now my only shop is on Etsy.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
I’ve made friends with a lot of fantastic and talented people on Etsy. It’s hard to limit to 3, but I admire Tasha at http://www.etsy.com/shop/earjeans, Judy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ConfectionsInGlass, and Shoshi at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoshiPo.
What inspires and motivates you?
Ancient metalwork that I see in museums and in books. Beautiful designs such as those from the Arts and Crafts period, and the jade and wood carvings of the Maori people of New Zealand.
What do you wish I had asked you?
How I met my husband. It was in a Kung Fu class. I was one of two women in the class. Now how many people can say that?
Thanks Lynn! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.
“Each product is made by hand and usually all the wood is surrounded by cups of tea, laughing children, and disco music so each product will come to you infused with love and bliss!” says Amy Turn Sharp of her handcrafted wooden toys. Amy and her husband Joe, the handsome British carpenter, have lived in a small village just outside Columbus, Ohio for about nine years. They have two kids, Finn, age 5 and Blaise, age two, who have tried out all the wooden toys their parents make and have given them a seal of approval.
Anna lives in Gloucestershire, England where she is a student and loves art, music, crafts, animations and video games. She’s an animation student so most of the time she’s working on her films and projects. She makes charms to fill in bits of idle time along with playing some video games. Check out her store!
How long have you been making these tiny charms?
Not very long to be honest! I’ve always made random bits of sculpture from various types of clay over the years but I didn’t take it too seriously until I discovered how to make cold porcelain clay. It’s only been…about a year!
Last week I talked with Eloise of HidenSeek who found herself in the unfortunate position of having one of her designs copied by a large retailer. My post certainly captured your interest, and I found that a lot of you are concerned about finding yourselves in the same situation as Eloise, Gemma Correll and Laura of SheDraws. This week I share some of Eloise’s tips for handling suspected infringement.
1. Protect your work from direct duplication
If possible, watermark photos and images in your online shops. While this may not completely deter copyright infringement, it means that any images taken directly from your shops will be easily identified as yours. “I started putting a watermark on the images in my shop very early as a first step,” says Eloise. “I understood back then too that it is pretty impossible to protect your work from copying. The watermark for me is just a sign to big companies that you are willing to protect your intellectual property and of course they become unable to use the ‘I didn’t know it was copyrighted’ defence.”
2. Gather support from other artisans
As I learned from your comments last week, infringement is a huge worry for a lot of indie designers. There are numerous communities and even a Facebook group dedicated to identifying and stopping copyright theft. “The support that was offered to me so freely and the abundant kindness shown by thousands of people back then, still fills me with the warmest emotions whenever I think about it. I learned that people are willing to put themselves on the line for a perfect stranger that has been wronged and that when we the little people band together we make an unstoppable force.”
3. If you suspect infringement, contact the individual or company immediately
“When you are dealing with individuals…let them know of the problem and seek for a calm and quick solution, they will probably want to avoid any stress and trouble, just as much as you. If they show great resistance or indifference to your plea, you could treat them as a company. Companies will seldom reply to your personal plea. You should still immediately let them know of the problem and be very diplomatic about it, so no rough accusations, just ask for an amicable solution.”
4. Don’t back down…but keep your cool
If calm communication doesn’t work, don’t feel defeated. “Feel free to make your problem public and find any way to apply pressure to them. You could send them a proper bill for your services that they so conveniently appropriated or you could take them to a small claims court (that’s what it’s called in the UK at least and you don’t need a solicitor for the procedure). I wouldn’t suggest you go for a proper court case unless you are rich or can find a no-win no-fee lawyer. Even then, expect an excruciating few months, legal proceedings are a very tiring and dirty business.”
5. Don’t let fear of infringement ruin your passion
Particularly when you’re feeling powerless, it’s easy to think ‘It’s not worth it’ and call it a day with crafting – but don’t! “All in all, you can’t do much to protect your work, other than lock it in a box and never open it again. Since you are going to show your art to the world, might as well go all the way! The more your art is seen, the easier it will be to defend yourself if the unfortunate happens. The fact that everyone could see I had sold the specific artwork on Etsy months before Paperchase produced their own copy, made it very clear in everyone’s eyes that I was the one being copied.”
Have you got questions or simply want to share your experience? Post in the comments section below!