My name is Tara Turner and I am a fine art photographer and digital artist who has a driving passion to capture the beauty of my surrounding environment, whether it be a misty landscape, a moody sky or an old brick wall with a hundred stories to tell. I focus on combining my two favourite genres of photography- landscape and urban. By merging these two mediums I hope to make a statement about how as people we affect the environment around us. As well I hope to evoke emotion by creating a visually appealing, unique and imaginative piece of work, as ultimately in the end, some things can’t only been seen…they must be felt
I’m so pleased to introduce our newest columnist, Sarah Simpson. She’s going to be writing on organization and simplification of your life – something we all need. Please welcome her to Try Handmade and let her know of any topics or shops you’d like to suggest to her in the comments!
Spring is here! (I bet so many of you have been dying to finally get to say that). What better way to lose those winter blues and clear you mind than to get your workspace de-cluttered and organized? Organization doesn’t necessarily have to mean sorting your belongings into those horrid plastic bins. It can be functional, beautiful, and…earth friendly!
The desk caddy pictured above, by PegandAwl, is handcrafted from reclaimed wood from antique floors in Philadelphia homes built in the 1800s. Holes varying in size are drilled to hold all kinds of office supplies and keep them within easy reach. Use it at home to sort crafting supplies, at your work office for pens and pencils, or even in your garage to organize tools and hardware.
One of my favorite office “must haves” right now is a good old fashioned chalkboard. Chalkboards are EVERYWHERE right now. They’re convenient, they’re adorable, and they’re very easy to make. Just about anything with a non-porous surface can be painted with chalkboard paint that you can pick up from your local home improvement store. Having a visible “to-do” list near your workspace will de-clutter your desk and your mind. Check out these beautiful handmade chalkboards made from re-purposed cabinet doors from FunkieFinds.
Whether you use your workspace for office work or as a studio/crafting space, your most often used items can be sorted and organized so you always know where to find them. To add some color and flair to your space, use an assortment of handmade pottery dishes from TheMudPlace to organize paper clips, thumbtacks, beads, and so on.
You can find so many unique items online, at flea markets, and at seasonal crafts shows to help create a well sorted workspace in no time. Use your imagination and design a custom space that allows you to keep everything in order with as little effort as possible.
Jennifer Joy Creative: All my creations are inspired by nature and my little family. I love to work with natural fibers such as hemp, linen and cotton for my clothing and wool, alpaca, bamboo, tencel, and various others for my yarn.
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!
Wire Art Jewelry by Mel: I started making jewelry over 10 years ago, even longer if you count some jewelry I made with my father while I was still in grade school. I am basically self-taught with the experience of working with several great artists and teaching. My degrees are in art and psychology from a small liberal arts college. I moved to California to go to grad school, but never made it. I started creating jewelry as my main source of income there and began working for a company (whose name I cannot legally mention) making jewelry showcases for department stores. So, you may have seen my work without even knowing it, since they did not incorporate the artists names. I moved back near Chicago a few years ago and continue my passion for art, working from a studio in Wheaton.