Sunday, October 03, 2010

Random Thoughts by the (Etsy Finds) Bullet Points

It's been a rough week with lots of thought, so I thought I'd recap the week, and instead of using boring bullet points, use Etsy Finds bullet points.  There are so many things on Etsy that I love and crave that I want to share along with my musings.

1.  Often I feel I need to be a warrior -- a warrior for my son (he started private school last week after MUCH deliberation), a warrior for carving out time to make jewelry (the contractors destroying our house to make it beautiful are In. My. Way.), and a warrior in the jewelry world, trying to carve out my niche.  In that last regard, I'm a quiet warrior, preferring to be as kind and helpful as I know how.  Unfortunately, doing things in that way sometimes means I don't get seen.  But I prefer to remain this type of warrior.

Book Mobile by ShopHouse
2.  Other than DESPERATELY wanting this (and I don't often buy things just for ME), this reminds me of my desire to write books.  I have so many ideas.  I've lived a pretty full life with lots of experiences, from life in Italy, Korea, Japan, and the like, just begging to be chronicled.  Will I ever find time to write them down?  I think I'll start a file and just write a sentence or two of memory so I at least don't forget things.  It's a start.  In alllll my spare time.  Snort.

"The Lonely Lady" by Oil and Fleur

3.  Sometimes I feel very alone.  Lately there have been SO many blog posts about copying that I've felt afraid to visit blogs, to view other's jewelry, for fear that their work will stick in my brain somehow and come out months, years later and I'll get publicly humiliated for it.  We're all such visual beings that when we make friends with other artists, it's almost impossible not to be touched by what we see.  I find this incredibly sad and I'm still working out how to deal with this.

"Gratitude" by Tara Catalano
4.  But above all, I've been grateful for my readers and my customers and even the sellers I frequent.  I recently bought a strand of beads from a seller to fulfill a custom order.  She wrote to me that she was touched by my parenting and the sacrifices I need to make to put my child in the best school for him.  She sent me a huge box of beads as her way of contribution.  I was completely overwhelmed, touched, and humbled.  And that gesture, by someone who I didn't even know read my blog, gave me a surge of hope for humanity and kindness and I truly, truly believe that Karma will bless that person ten-fold.  

heart by Firelily

My task for you today -- do something unexpected and kind for someone you don't really know.  Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you.  Add something extra to your Etsy sale package.  Send a special email to let that person know they have influenced your art.  These little things mean so incredibly much.  And trust me -- you'll feel marvelous yourself.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. Love your collection, Lori. Thxs for sharing!

  2. after a long life so far I find moms never stop being a warrior for their child, more so if we are blessed with special children.

    Please do not live in fear. don't let the bullies of design push you around. Life is too short and KARMA will bite them in the butt....which makes me smile when I think of mean folks getting it back in their fanny :o)

    Take a moment and think what the look on your darling son and hubby's face would look like if you walked in Christmas morning with that warrior outfit sure to take pictures if you do it!

    Have a lovely week as a excellant mom, wife and fearless artist!

  3. Such a great post, Lori and I love your picks!

  4. Dear Lori,
    I came back from my trip to a ear/sinus virus....and your wonderful book. You did your kind and generous act. I was so tickled...I just was thrilled you would gift when I mentioned I would love to read this book.

    As I have said before, from the beginning, Lori, you have been so kind to me. I need to think of a way to pass this on...


  5. What a lovely post Lori - I love your Etsy finds bullet points, what a great way to punctuate your thoughts. I think it's time we embraced the fact that we are influenced by others and that that can be a good and wonderful thing - another way of sharing our art! Nobody can help but be influenced and inspired by what they see and as long as it is not a deliberate or malicious act then somebody else's work consciously or unconsciously becoming a spring board (not a blue print!) for our own is a great thing! What we do is all about sharing and connecting. Which you do so well!

  6. Lori~I love this format of using items on etsy to give a visual impact to what you are trying to convey.

    On copying...I haven't seen these posts of which you speak because I haven't had time to visit blogs like I would love to. However, copying is a slippery slope and to put it very bluntly, I think it's a bunch of bullshit. If jewelry designers look at a historical compilation of jewelry, beading, egyptian wirework, etc, you will notice something very interesting. People today are ripping off designs from 5,000 years ago. I am guessing they don't know it, but it has all been done before.

    Sure, people develop a "style" and may even put a slight creative spin on something, but it is still similar to something else already done. Granted, if someone makes something, posts it online and then finds an exact replica a month later of something they posted, that's annoying and unethical of the copier.

    Another thing I've noticed is pick up an issue of a jewelry magazine. Start flipping pages. Pick up another and flip pages. The majority of the designs look the same.

    Fear of copying can really freeze a person so they can't make anything-even if it's something they really enjoy doing. I've been there and seem to revisit that place periodically. Add the fear of copying to all the other things going on in your life and I bet it's impossible to get anything made.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Perhaps I should do a post on copying. I'm pretty sure my opinion wouldn't be very popular. LOL!

  7. Kerry Bogert shared a link to this article on her blog. I love it:

  8. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment Lori, I still get very few visitors but cherish every one.
    I love the pictures you put up, don't be sad your work is beautiful you are a very creative person and always up for learning something new, just ignore any nastiness and press the delete key.
    Love Jackie

  9. I agree with Jennifer! After about 10,000 years of humans making stuff to wear (and listen to), everything is going to be derivative. No one person can own a genre, and genres are what happen when lots of people embrace a certain style (folk, rock n roll, jazz...) Early adopters of a genre, or pioneers of a genre, can get their knickers in a twist over that. Well there aren't enough genres to go around so let's share. And there are only so many ways to use a clasp, hang a pendant, etc. Erin Prais-Hintz did an excellent post on "artistic influence", and posted a piece she made influenced by someone else's design that she admired. I thought what she created was completely appropriate, and took nothing away from the original design.
    Don't be afraid to be influenced! Somebody's always going to be mad that they're not as unique as they thought. And the fact that you're so worried about it makes it highly unlikely that you will ever commit actual copyright infringement. Design on!!

  10. Lori, I really connected with your blog post. I guess one of the things that impressed me is the copying issue. I went to Dick Lehman's article. It felt like very familiar territory because I remember him, his work, and his writing from my days as a potter. Potters, by and large, are a friendly bunch. The thing about glazes is that they will look different over different claybodies and with different firing schedules. Not only that, if your goal is to produce unique work, you wouldn't use the glaze without bumping it up a bit. It's the same with the jewelry thing.

    I really like what Jennifer Cameron had to say. I think it's important that we keep the big picture in mind. I know of some of the blog posts to which you're referring. I mean, some people are a legend in their own mind! When we become paralyzed by fear, we do ourselves an injustice ... and really the rest of the jewelry world.

    It's okay to be the "Reluctant Warrior" but don't stop trying new things, things that are new to you ... forget 'em and don't suck up to them! It does you no good.

  11. Love the post Lori. I always say if you are a true artist copying should not effect you. Your artistic voice should always be growing, changing and developing.

  12. Lori,

    I would never worry about being inspired by another artist. And if that person (using the word loosely) is offended that their work was using as a jumping off point to a new creation, well then they need to get their head out of their arse. Your work and you are so beautiful that there is no way you would even consider copying another.

  13. Lori - a friend sent me an article recently by a high ranking leader in the Dept of Defense - normally such articles are eye-role inducing for me - but the article was about his busy schedule and how he managedhis time. He said that if you have a big project (writing a book) and you wait until you have a large enough chunk of time to tackle it, you would never even start. His suggestion was to use time on a plane, time riding in a car somewhere, the 30 minutes you enjoy a coffee first thing to write a paragraph or two, the in a few weeks you might have a chapter done, and the another. It's something that really stuck with me and I apply daily to my jewelry making :-). Good luck and keep the faith!

  14. I thought of something else. When I was just starting to get comfortable in the quality of my beads and considering selling them, I created a design I had never seen before. I was totally excited about this design and kind of didn't want to share it online because I didn't want to be "copied". Fast forward about a week. I got an issue of a magazine...I think it was Lapidary Jewelry or whatever it used to be called, in the mail. They used to have the occasional lampwork tutorial. I opened this new issue and was absolutely devastated when I saw an almost exact replica of what I had made right there in the magazine. It was a very important lesson and one I've never forgotten in all the years of listening to the "c" word being thrown about.

  15. oh yes,
    i too
    pretty things!
    (love that
    book rippling
    down like ribbons!).

  16. I see that my thoughts have been pretty well expressed by the others ahead of me! I liked your way of doing the Etsy Bullet Points. I will add my 2cents about your fear of inadvertently "copying" someone - I have started feeling the same way, even changing my original idea, "just in case"! This is over the edge, I think it's agreed that we need to go ahead with our creative flow, of course it's going to be similar to what someone else did, somewhere in the universe. Hey, it's a big place, there's room for all of it. The true blue copycats have no talent and, therefore, aren't really relevant, just annoying. Thanks for your excellent post.

  17. I just love this post, for both the eye candy and wonderful insights. I love reading your blogs and drooling over your jewerly. I am grateful for you.

  18. I have admired that book mobile before, it really is interesting. Thanks for this post

  19. Lori, I love the collection and I have been there & identify with many of the bullet points...hang in there girl, I think there is a great need in the world for kind & warm people such as yourself...

  20. Lori, you always manage to put words on things!!!
    Thank you for this post - it really made my day. Hugs!!!

  21. I loved this post. It made me feel happy! I totally hear what you are saying about fear of 'copying'. It stunts creativity and takes the pleasure out of it too...

  22. Beautiful post Lori. I have to agree with you about all the post lately about coping. It's getting old. Move on!
    New jewelry designers and artists when they first start out always copy the people's work they admire the most. It's what they do with it that makes the difference. If they're coping as a learning tool and not selling it, no big deal. If not, it will later catch up with them and bring their integrity into question.
    Some designers and artists never find their own voice and will continue to copy.

  23. Lori,

    I think when it comes to copying, the defining line for me is this - intent.

    If your intent is to make your own original work and in participating in the world images are stored in your subconscious that you draw upon when creating that is one thing. And it really is just being the visual creatures we are.

    If your intent is to look at the work of another and knowingly, willfully replicate it without drawing upon your creative process, that is entirely different.

    I don't "know" you, I "Internet know" you, but I know enough to know that if you are worrying about it, then you aren't doing anything wrong.

    Let the negativity from others float away. Just like a balloon you let go of.

    Hugs!! Lots of big hugs!!

  24. A great post Lori. I love the "bullet points". It's great to be able to express your thoughts and have people connect with what your saying.

  25. i can pretty much relate to everything you've said here...i love the way you did it with the items from etsy, very clever. (and I want a book mobile like that, too!)

  26. Lori, I agree, what a great post - love the way you linked the Etsy finds to visually represent your bullet points. I enjoy our talks on all of these issues you've expressed need to ever feel alone! :-)

  27. #1) Mama Warriors (aka Mama Bears) are precious. Don't give up! And now your jewelry needs to move up into the Mama Bear arena. I'm glad you've recognized your son's needs and are putting him in a situation where he can be challenged and have fun.

    #2) I agree on the copying. It seems to be making it's rounds again. When I go vintage shopping with my mom I see that there is "nothing new". I had just discovered making swirl lampwork beads and was so proud of them...I hadn't seen them around the circuit of lampwork bloggers I visit. Then my mom gave me a vintage (50's) necklace with pressed Czech glass...with the same type of swirlies I was so proud of. Lesson learned.

    #3) Even if you don't seem noticed because you're quiet and's BECAUSE you are quiet and kind that you ARE noticed. I want to spend time on positive and encouraging yours.

    Happy creating!

  28. Lori,
    Thank you for a wonderful post. You put into words what many people are thinking. Charlene said it well--it is about intent. Of course you are going to copy when you are learning a new technique--that's what the instruction is there for--to try something new.

    Don't worry about copying something...I've had great ideas that I've never expressed and "Poof!" shortly thereafter I see that idea done by someone else. We are all influenced by what we see and hear (music I believe influences what we create as well) and since many of us see the same books and magazines and listen to the same types of music...

    Of course if there is something that was influenced by another artist, but you've made it your own...a nice homage is to say that you were influenced by that person.

    You continue to be the warrior that many of us aim to be--you set high standards with your warmth, kindness, and your open heart. You keep doing what you are doing and all the rewards will come back to you ten-fold!

    Have a wonderful and creative day!
    Bead Happy!

  29. Just want to say thank you for your post. You gave me the words I needed to hear. Warmest hugs...Emma

  30. I would love to read more from yes jot down those memories now. I think you will be so thankful when the time is right to sit down and complete your writings.

    As for copyright, I guess there will always be two camps. Most people will seek to make their own mark and I feel even if you never saw another blog, magazine, or book you could still come up with the same idea as someone else. I see them as sources of inspiration. The kicker is not getting caught up in looking then not creating...if you figure out how to do that will you write a book and sell it to me?? LOL


  31. First, Lori, your Etsy Bullets are wonderful! I don't know which I love more ;)

    Second, I have to say that I'm right there with you on the copying/copyright issue. I get so nervous, in part because like you said, we are so visual. There's no doubt in my mind that some of the designs I've played with are similar to other designs. And it makes me nervous! Ah well, such is life, I guess!

    Great post, btw!

  32. #3 - so sad, and you're right, how do you ensure it doesn't happen? It's a tough one. You're a wonderful writer -- I can tell that by your blogging -- so I hope you do have a chance someday to make that dream come true. I too have found amazing love and generosity through my blog readers! It's a great world out there.


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