Friday, February 25, 2011

Propped Up

I sincerely hope none of you catch whatever this thing is I have.  I haven't been this sick in years.  Yesterday was the worst.  My temp was over 100 all day, in fact at one point it spiked so high I was hallucinating.  I couldn't keep anything but little sips of water down.  All I did was lay in bed coughing, perspiring and shivering.  Luckily R didn't know since he had to be out of town last night.  I didn't tell him how bad it was because I knew he would have come home.

Finally about 9:15 last night my fever broke.  I thought great finally...I felt better.  That lasted all of about 20 minutes before we started round 2.  It was a rough night. 

Today I am slightly better.  My temp is down to 99, I can prop myself up for about a half hour at a time, and I finally ate a tiny bit of soup.  I have an ear ache though.

I am hoping it passes soon, I have to get to work because the show is coming up quickly and I am not ready.  I also have two pieces to be shipped and the post office may as well be a million miles away right now.  It took every ounce of energy I could muster yesterday to take the trash down for pick up.

I will be back when I feel better.  Take care of yourselves! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Paying The Price Part 2; Websites, Blogs, Ebay & Etsy

I wanted to continue on in the same vein as yesterday, but before I jump into my post I want to put two disclaimers.  First of all, I am sicker than a dog.  I caught R's crud, and I spent the night sweating, shivering, coughing and a few other unpleasant things.  So hopefully the post will make sense.

The second disclaimer is that I want you to understand this is just my opinion.  It's your business and how you run it is up to you.  What works for one person might not work for another.  That being said, on with the post!

A couple weeks ago I got the new issue of Romantic Homes magazine.  I was looking through it when an ad caught my attention.  It was a truly beautiful Victorian sort of pic advertising some jewelry and other little items.  I went to the computer and plugged in the URL which looked like a regular website URL. 

What opened up was a blog page.  My initial reaction was confusion.  I thought I must have typed it in wrong.  But no, it was in fact the right thing.  The first post I was presented with was a recipe for some type of dessert.  I scrolled down a little and saw three more personal posts before I found the first item for sale.  The entire blog was a bit dreary in color too.  The photo of the item I found for sale was not clear and it said to e-mail to order.  I looked on the sidebar to see if there was a website link or and etsy link or anything at all that would take me to a place to see all the items for sale grouped together.  There wasn't.  I closed it, sale lost.  I like to read blogs but I don't want to have search through hundreds of personal posts to figure out what you have for sale.  Nor am I interested in you yet.  When I have a shopping fever, I want to shop.  THEN maybe I will develop an interest in you and want to read your blog.  I guess my expectations are if you can take out an ad in a mainsteam publication you will of course have a website to back it up.

I have never bought anything from a blog directly.  If I already know you and follow your blog I want to see what you are working on, and what you have for sale.  But I also want a link that takes me to where it's for sale somewhere else.  I don't know why, it's just a thing.  If I buy it directly from your blog that feels like I am buying it across your kitchen table.  Now I am sure I am in the minority in feeling this way/.

A while back I read an article online about a woman who made these lovely flowers that you could wear in your hair or on your lapel.  They were really above and beyond and so pretty, there was a link to her website.  I clicked the link and what came up was a very pretty website.  I decided to read her bio before I got to the things she had for sale.   Very nice page, told about how she began making the flowers and a little personal stuff about her.  Then I clicked the link that said things for sale...and her Etsy shop opened up. what?  Why would you do this amazing website if you're just going to send me to Etsy?  I clicked the X and sale lost.  This is quite common.   I don't want to chase you all over the Internet to give you my money.

Now I have this weird love/hate relationship with Etsy.  If you have an Etsy link on your blog, I will go look and might buy from you.  If I find you by wandering aimlessly about Etsy looking for something I will be happy to buy from you.  But I don't want to go from your website to Etsy.  To me that's a step backwards.

I can get caught up looking at Etsy, there is everything in the world on that site.  I can do a search for ANYTHING and usually find it.  The thing I hate about Etsy is that it's run by very young people who really don't have a clue what they are doing when it comes to programming and making things easy for sellers.  For such a large site, they should have better programming.  I had an issue with them a while back where I cancelled a sale because my buyer didn't pay.  But it takes 24-48 hours for it to actually leave the system.  After I cancelled it, she paid.  I contacted them about it and they wanted me to do the listing again and have her re-buy it.  I told them that I had a hard enough time getting her to pay in the first place, I somehow didn't see that happening again.  Through a series of e-mails back and forth I realized they couldn't just go in and adjust it.  The kicker was at the end of it, in the last mail the admin from Etsy told me at least I learned a lesson!  Um...what lesson did I learn now?  The only lesson that I learned is that their programming can't support something simple that probably happens a lot, and that e-mailing them is like talking to a wall.

The last thing I want to cover is ebay.  Ebay has made stars out of a some of artists.  They consistently sell things at really high prices, and that's great for you if you are one of those people.  I will not begrudge someone the money they earn.  However, I will not, under any circumstances buy anything from you on ebay either.  For starters auctions stress me out.  In the past when I did try to buy things on ebay, I would bid on something...wait the long 3-5 days with my money tied up, feeling hopeful and excited and get sniped in the last few seconds every single time.  Also I abhore Ebay's business practices.  So if you are one of those people who is making ebay work for you, that's great.  But remember there are other potential customers out there who would like to buy from you but won't do it on ebay.  Maybe be offer a piece just once in a while for sale another way. You will definitely pick up a few new customers.

The bottom line is we all work very hard for our money, most of us don't have a huge amount of disposable income.  It's an honor not an inconvenience if we choose to give to you.  So please make it easy for us to give you our money.  I am never going to work that hard to give it to you, I already worked hard to earn it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paying The Price

  Back when I did shows regularly, I would often see artists who didn't put the price on their pieces.  Some of them find discussing money vulgar, and some arrive at the shows scattered and eventually get the prices on their stuff.  Others never did.  One of my friends was in the latter category and I finally broke down and asked why they didn't put prices on their work.  The answer surprised me.  They told me that if they could get a person to ask the price, they could absolutely sell them the piece.  I guess that was one way to get people talking.  I don't know.  It's certainly not something I would do.

This morning I visited a website.  I saw quite a few pieces for sale and I was really liking them, but I couldn't find the prices.  Finally on another page I found a little note that said for pricing please contact me.  I have been to several websites like this lately.  You know what...I am never going to buy one of those bears.  I don't want to have to ask the price.  I want to see what it is and quietly decide in the private comfort of my own brain as to whether I can afford it or if I think it's worth it.  I find it embarrassing for both of us to have to ask and then realize I won't buy the bear or whatever it is for either of those reasons.  What do you say then? 

But I also find myself people sell more by doing this?  Or are they losing sales because of it.  I know they lose sales from me since I won't ever ask.  Basically I automatically assume if you don't put the price, I can't afford it.  It's just a mind set.  There is also that niggling little voice in the back of my mind that asks are they sizing me up before they tell me a price?  Lastly I don't want you to make me work hard to give you my already hard earned money.  So what price do people pay by not putting the price on their works?  I am sure there are at least a few other people who feel the same way as I do.

I know that pricing is an issue for a lot of people.  But if you're going to be in business you have to work out some type of formula for pricing and stick to it.  You also have to discuss money even if you find it distasteful, that's part of selling things.  So I implore you, please put the prices on your website or at a show.  Who knows I might buy something from you if you do!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ta Da! New Bear

I can finally show you one of the new bears!  I am really happy with them.  They cuddle in your hand and they are the perfect amount of "squishiness."  They are right under 7 inches tall and completely hand stitched.

This one is adopted, but there will be more at the Blooming Bears show next month.  So until then, I will be working away!

Hugs, K. <3

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Catch Up Post

I am so exhausted!  I have been working myself to the bone the last few days.  But let me back up a little.

So Friday I went to get my highlights.  First he took me to the beauty supply place and let me pick out anything I wanted at his cost.  It's probably a good thing that I had a raging headache or I might have spent much more than I did.  It was one of those kid in a candy store moments!  The best two things I came home with are Moroccan oil for my hair and a pumice peel for my face.  I kid you not, I scrubbed off five years!

 I must say it turned out a little lighter than I had anticipated.  I am one step away from  highlighted playboy bunny blond.  I guess it's ok, I am not quite used to it.  I am also a little concerned what it's going to look like when it grows out.  Maybe by then it will be warm enough that I can be outside to let the sun do it's job.  I know you guys wanted to see a pic, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get my webcam turned on, on my new computer.  Maybe I need to download the software.  So I had to take a pic of it myself.  No easy feat!  That's why for now all you get is a close up. 

Saturday I made R take me to a specific restaurant because I have a new piece in mind I want to do a pattern for.  You will have to wait and see!  It won't be for a while yet though.

Sunday he went off to run errands while I worked and he came home feeling sick.  I spent 16 hours working since he was sleeping.

Now about all this know how sometimes you want to make a certain thing, but you don't because you get too caught up in unimportant details in your head about it?  That's what happened to me.  For ages I have wanted to make a smaller sized bear.  But I didn't have the right size joints and I needed to make the bear so I could order some but I needed to order some so I could make the bear and....aaaauuuuggghhh!

Then along came a friend who wanted me to make a smaller size bear for a reason.  It was just the push I needed, even though it still took me 3 1/2 months to do it.  And here is the interesting part...I discovered I had bought some small joints somewhere along the line.  A whole bag full, and they were exactly the right size for the pattern I made!  Crazy kismet I tell ya!

So I have made two of them already, and have a third cut out.  I also cut out a snowman for a special request I got.  I am completely in love with this new size.  They are just a shade under 7 inches.  I wish I could show them to you, but one will be going to my friend and the other will be for the Blooming Bears show next month.  I can't show you that bear, and I am not sure which one she wants yet.  Once she chooses I can show you that one.

Actually she may have already chosen, I haven't gotten a single e-mail in two days.  Not even spam.  That happens occasionally with my server, so I am sure tomorrow I will wake up and have 9000 e-mails when they finally make their way through to me.  In the mean time, I am going to go fall into bed before I collapse!

Sweet dreams!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Highlight My Day

When I was born my hair was red, so I am told.  Then it all felt out three days later, and came in blond, when I was very young it was almost white.  As I got older it settled into a nice baby blond where it stayed until I had an unfortunate incident in high school   I was in the production of The King & I and I was the only one playing a Siamese character that didn't have dark hair.  Now I didn't know much about hair coloring so I bought something called Fanciful Rinse in black.  I thought that meant it would rinse out.  It didn't.  It also didn't adhere quite properly so I had blond spots.  My head looked like a banana gone bad.  It was one horrible week.

After the production ended, I went to "Cecil" and had him strip the color out of my hair.  The following week we started swim class.  My hair was back to blond but with the chlorine and being so porous from the stripping it turned a strange shade of pale green.  My junior year wasn't that good.

Since then I have been blond all my life with the exception of dying it red on three occasions because I wanted to do something different.  I actually look fairly good as a redhead because everyone else in my family had reddish hair. 

That pic was taken in the 80's...hence the giant hoop earrings and big hair. 

As we age our hair darkens a bit.  Normally in the summer I am outside doing stuff and the sun gives me natural highlights and brings me back to light blond.  Last summer was so hot that I couldn't spend much time outside and when I was out there it was to garden.  I wore a hat most of the time because I burn so easily with my fair Celtic skin.  Even though I am still blond I was looking in the mirror the other day and noticed it's a very dreary shade of dirty blond right now. 

Since it's so long that it grazes the top of my posterior now, people often think it would be hard to take care of.  That's not true at all.  In fact it's pretty low maintenance.  I wash and condition it every other day.  I do a deep conditioner about every 10 days.  I never blow dry it unless I absolutely have to be somewhere.   R trims my ends, and he has gotten quite good at it.  I trim my bangs.  The last time I went to our stylist he said my hair was in better condition than most 20 somethings he sees.

Styling is easy too.  It's all one length except for my Barbie-esque fringe.  I run a curling iron through it and let the rest hang naturally.  Sometimes I use a cute barrette or headband and when I am working I braid it.  I used to put it up, but my neck can't take the weight of it all piled on top of my head because I have so so much of it.

I decided when I saw how dreary it really looked to call our stylist.  R goes to him regularly, but I haven't been to see him for anything in years.  I am going to get some highlights this afternoon to brighten it up.

I am feeling kind of nervous about it.  He says it's going to take several hours.  I am sure it will be ok, but when you have been growing your hair as long as I have, any chemical process is a little scary. 

Wish me luck.  I will let you know how it turns out!

Hugs, K. <3

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Posts & Comments

I learn stuff all the time.  Things people say make me think about stuff I never thought about before.  Yesterday someone commented about how I find all the time I spend making posts.  After that a thought occurred to people pre-plan their posts?  I don't.  I just sit down and start typing.  In fact some days I have a topic in mind and when I sit down at the keyboard I start typing something else entirely.  When that happens I just go with it.  The topic I had in mind shows up at a later date, or never.  *Shrugs*  I don't put that much thought into it.  Even my really long posts are done in about 10-15 minutes.  Sometimes I have to go back and re-word something after I read it because I realize it didn't make grammatical sense.  I don't read it until after I post it.  I probably should read it before hand.  This is also the reason that sometimes my posts ramble a little.

Someone else said they hoped they didn't bug me with so many comments.  I love getting comments.  Even when people don't agree with me.  I don't expect people to agree with the way I view everything. 

I read a lot of blogs too.  I am kinda bad about leaving comments though.  But it's not for the reason you might think.  I don't always leave a comment because I hate typing in those captchas.  To me they are on the same level as punching in automated menu numbers on the phone.  It's a step I would rather not bother with.  That's why I don't make you guys type them in.  I have only gotten a handful of advertising type comments over the years and they aren't that much of an effort on my part to just delete them.  A while back I did have to set it so that people couldn't make anonymous comments.  I had a couple snarky comments from people who didn't want to own up to them.  It doesn't bother me if someone leaves a snarky comment but have the decency to take ownership for your words and kindly refrain from swearing.

My posts also show up on The Hive among other places.  It used to be that we got an e-mail alert every time someone left a comment on a post we made.  Then one day they just stopped coming.  I suppose someone changed the default settings and I never bothered to go change them back. 

I read every comment left directly on my blog, but I am afraid once those alerts stopped coming I stopped checking on The Hive.  It was one of those out of sight out of mind deals.  I went this morning and read quite a few of them all the way back to December.  I felt really bad.  Some of you take time to leave me comments all the time.  Most of the time you are very kind, flattering and one of you is even hilarious.  So I want you to know that I really do appreciate that you read what I write and take time to comment.  I am going to try to be better about checking that. 

I have been trying to be better about leaving comments on what I read too.  In fact I left a comment yesterday for someone whose blog I have been reading for about a year now.  I had never left a comment before.  It just goes to show, you never know how many people really do read what we write.

I don't know what kind of impact or importance it has in the greater scheme of things when we post to our blogs.  But I know for me...I like reading about people's lives I find interesting.  Even if it's just little mundane things from their day.  It's interesting getting to peek into the lives of ordinary people.  Especially when those people create things we admire.  The only criteria I have is that you are sincere.  If you have a whole month of bad days and talk about it, that's ok.  I would rather read the truth of you than a fictionalized version of your supposed perfect life.  Life isn't perfect, it's gloriously messy and it's nice some days to know we aren't alone in all the junk that happens to us.  It's a good thing to find out we aren't alone in how we are feeling about something, especially when we think we should be feeling a different way.

There are a few people who I wish lived closer to me and I could really get to know them over a cup of coffee.  Of course when I do my posts, I am almost always doing it over coffee...and I approach it like I was having a conversation with someone directly.  That's why I don't pre-plan my posts.

Today I was going to tell you about playing postal hooky and the fuzzy logic of a bad hair day, but as you can see that isn't what came out when I started typing!

Have a great day!  I am off to work on a pattern for an order that I promised someone would only take a couple weeks.  That was 3 1/2 months ago!  Thank goodness they are patient!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

User Friendly ~ Things That Never See The Light Of Day

I told you a couple posts ago that R had his heart set on a smart phone.  He is an electronics junkie and he really wanted this.  He didn't actually need it, but he doesn't ask for a lot out of life so I don't say too much.  He wanted me to get one too, but I can't justify it because all I use my cell phone for is an occasional call.   I have roll over minutes until the year 3000. 

Friday I called our service provider to find out what the monthly charge on the data plan for a smart phone is.  After going through a whole series of  menu options and punching in personal numbers, then waiting on hold I finally got through to a live human being.  I started to explain to him what I wanted when I realized I was talking to dead air.  Apparently his phone had died.

Feeling a bit annoyed I called again.  I went through the whole series of menu options, numbers and waiting and got another live person.  I asked her about smart phones and data plans, etc.  She was telling me how smart phones were much more user friendly and could simplify your life even more than your computer.  I said to her that she may not be old enough to remember this, but I come from a time when you stuck your finger in a slot, rotated a dial and a real person came on the phone immediately to help you.  Now THAT was user friendly and simplified my life.  She actually did remember them and agreed with me.

We ended up chatting for about an hour and a half.  She was a really friendly girl and had lots of useful information.  I also got my bill reduced by $10 a month.  YAY!

Now yesterday I showed you the prototype for the pig I made roughly 15 years ago.  Someone told me my pattern was common, and I didn't make things that were truly unique and one of a kind.  Actually at the time it wasn't a common pattern, very few people were making four standing jointed pigs, and the ones that sold were pretty unique in their costuming and even having jointed wings on some.  Obviously I wasn't going to go the distance to dress a prototype I kept.  I told you that I have since redone the pattern and was going to make it when I discovered that everyone was making pigs, so I set it aside.  I also told you I was thinking about doing a French Bulldog and set that aside because everyone was doing those as well.

I got a lot of comments and e-mails from people reading the post the various places it appears.  I learned something interesting.  Many bear artists are designing other animals and setting the patterns aside when they learn it's something lots of others are doing.  They are doing this for the same two reasons that I do it.  One we don't want the drama attached to someone suggesting you copied something...even though that would most likely not happen, but there is the potential and most of us just don't need the headache.  The second reason we do it because we don't want to be perceived as jumping on the latest trend.

For most of my career I made something, took it to a show and sold it, or I sold it to a shop.  I only encountered the work of other artists, through those shows, shops and the bear magazines.  So I only saw the things made by others maybe once or twice a month at the most.

Then along came the Internet, and bear artists started using it as a medium through which to sell.  It seemed like a good option that would simplify our lives.  Now it's so common that you can see other artists work all day long if you chose through websites, blogs, guilds, forums, twitter, facebook, flickr, ebay, etsy, Bearpile...and the list goes on. 

The interesting fall out of all this simplification is that it didn't simplify anything.  In fact it has made it much harder on all of us.  Back in the day I wouldn't have thought twice about making my pig or bulldog or any other animal because I wouldn't really have immediately known what anyone else was doing. 

It make me wonder how many things never see the light of day because of it.  So many potential wonderful creations from artists that fall by the wayside.  I have spent hours on pattern design for things that I am not going to make for the reasons listed above.  My bulldog might have been really fabulous, and been just the thing that someone really would have loved...we will never know.  How sad is it that so many artists stifle their impulses because of they are afraid of public opinion or being accused of something they didn't do.  All those hours may have been spent making other things instead of being wasted.

Another bit of fallout of all this simplification is that we now have to be experts on other things.  We have to be expert photographers and computer programmers and writers.   I spend as much time photographing things and uploading them to the various places on the Internet as I do actually creating something.  For a long time I thought I had gotten slower about making things.  That's not true, it just takes me twice as long to get to move on to the next piece.

We worry that we might say something on our blog or facebook or twitter that will will be taken out of context or misunderstood and cause someone who might have bought something from us to not make a purchase.  (I lost a follower after yesterday's post.  I always lose followers after I make a post like that because some people only want to read the pretty and fluffy and they don't want anything in depth.  Of course that's only speculation, I have no idea what caused them to leave.)  We have to guard ourselves and hope we don't offend someone because they couldn't hear our voice inflections or our intent when we write it.  We hope we don't inadvertently do something to make people judge us too harshly.  We pray that no one decides to post nasty things about us, despite not really knowing us or our intent, because they can and the anonymity of the Internet affords them easy access to do just that. 

We try so hard to remain unique but we are constantly bombarded with image overload from the works of our peers.  It's no wonder that things end up looking similar and trends are created in a day.  Yes we could choose to avoid reading blogs and going places where we would see what others have created, but it you want to sell things on the Internet it's almost impossible to not see images of other works.

It gives us the impression we live in a smaller world.  We make friends through the Internet and we feel as if we know them.  But we really don't.  Whatever perception you get from me is probably only a small piece of the whole picture of who I am at heart.  Most of us never look each other in the eye depsite "knowing" one another for months or even years.

Computers and smart phones and a whole host of other electronic gadgets simplify our lives...or so they say.  So why is it that if our lives are simplified we spend much more time worry and fussing with things we never had to deal with before?  Why does it suddenly seem simpler to load my pieces into the car and drive half way across the country to do a show?  Why does it seem more user friendly to talk to collectors face to face at a show?  Why do I find myself wishing for that complicated time of long ago when I had to leave my house or talk to another person in order to get some information.  Just because it's available at the push of a button now, doesn't simplify my life after all.

Maybe I will make my updated pig anyway.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When Pigs Fly

This is going to be a long post.  It has to be, but I wanted to forewarn you.  I sincerely hope you will actually read it and not just scan through it, because the topic is an important one. 

I want to start with a couple little stories.  What you are looking at above is Hamlet.  He is the prototype for a pig I made quite a few years ago after being inspired from seeing the movie "Babe."  I tweaked the pattern a tad and made several more pigs...some of which had wings.  I was never completely satisfied with the pattern though, and set it aside.  Last year, I got the pattern out and started playing with it.  I thought no one is really making pigs, so now is a good time.  As I have told you before, I am rather slow with pattern design.  Before I got done, another lovely artist I know put a darling pig up for sale on her site...then another artist made a pig, and I decided to set the pattern aside again.  I waited a few months and recently decided I was being silly, so I got it back out and started working on it.  Then I got the last issue of Teddy Bear & Friends in the mail...and low and behold it was entirely devoted to pigs!  *Bangs her forehead on the desk*   Once again the pattern has been set aside.

I decided maybe I would make a French Bulldog since my Mother-In-Law has one.  And of course since I decided to start working on that, I see lots of artists making those as well.  Another pattern set to the side.  Why did we all decide to make the same thing at more or less the same time?  In the case of the pigs...I am not sure.  French Bulldogs are very popular right now though, so that's probably how we all arrived at that idea.   You see them everywhere. 

Why did I set them aside?  Because I don't want the dreaded accusation of copying someone lobbed in my direction, even though I didn't copy anyone...I simply was the victim of Karl Jung's synchronicity. Human beings have an interesting capacity to arrive at the same ideas at the same time.  Usually it's from some outside source.  We, especially as artists are influenced by things that are popular at any given time.  Quite often without even realizing it.  Not to mention ideas and techniques travel at the speed of light on the Internet.

But what happens when you come up with an idea you are certain is unique?  Then all of a sudden someone has something almost identical?  Seems unlikely doesn't it?  As rare a flying pig probably!  Or does it?  The human brain is a very mysterious thing.  Have you ever finished someones sentence?  If so, how did you know for SURE what they were going to say?  You probably just knew, but you didn't know how you knew.  There is a theory called the interlocality of protons, there are also fractal brain patterns, etc.  I won't go into the lengthy scientific explanations, but if you are curious you can Google it, it's quite an eye opener.  People do think alike much more often than you realize, and oddly enough it's because we think alike.  In many ways we are not as special and unique as we would each like to believe.

Yesterday I saw an accusation hurled from artist to another about copying.  Was it true?  I have no idea...maybe, maybe not.  I wasn't there and I can't judge.  Did the pieces in question look like?  At first glance yes...on closer inspection, not as much.  The thing I found disappointing was the mob mentality that followed. 

Suppose I had made my pig and then accused one of those other artists of copying me?  What would have happened?  If I told the story right, you might have believed me, and pronounced that the artist was a terrible person.  The reverse could have just as easily happened as well.

Ok so what happens if you are certain someone has copied you?  It's happened to me twice...well three times sort of.  I will tell you about the "sort of" time. 

Years ago I was at a pre-show party.  I can't wear watches againt my skin without them ceasing to work.  So I had bought an old 40's ladies watch to use on a bear.  When I got it home I discovered it worked, and kept time with an accuracy that is rare for such an old watch.  It had one of those black cord bands, but it was really in bad shape.  The watch was in good shape though.  I really wanted to wear it, because it was cute.  So I removed the band, put a spring ring through the top and hung it on a bracelet like a charm so it didn't touch my skin.  I put a Czech glass bead dangling from the other end.  A guy approached me at the party and really admired my watch.  He was a jewelry artist turned bear artist.  We became good friends. 

Years later, I was visiting his house and he had put the same style of watch on a bear in the same way I had it on my bracelet.  I joked that my watch must have really made an impression on him.  He looked at me puzzled, and said I thought that up a while back.  I said no you didn't, don't you remember the night we met?  You started talking to me because of my watch!   A look of horror crossed his face as he remembered.  He had truly thought he had an original idea...but the image of my watch had buried itself in his subconscious.  He offered to remove it immediately.  I told him don't be silly, I didn't care if he put that on the bear.  Did he copy me?  Sure sort of...did he do it with malicious, not even at all.  I can guarantee you that has happened to nearly every artist alive.  Something that makes an impression on us has stuck to our subconscious and we have used it in our work without realizing we didn't think it up all on our own.  Artists are very visual people, and it's the way our minds work.  Images just stick to us.  Plus we are all influenced at some point by something else we see.  Very few of us are responsible for an entire genre of art.  We all decide to make what we make based on something we have seen somewhere along the line.

BUT...what happens if you come across someone who you know beyond all shadow of a doubt has purposely and intentionally copied you?  Sure you are frustrated, you feel slightly violated, and maybe you want to scream it to the rafters.  Yes, you can get people to jump onto your band wagon and form that mob mentality.  Maybe you can even get people to hate and harass the other artist in question...but what good does that do?  In the end, you will simply look as if you are behaving like a high school teenager.

Maybe you can take it the court system...but artistic design ownership is very difficult to prove without a trademark.  Copywrite does very little to prove it.  Not to mention that most people won't make enough money from your design to make it worth your effort.  If another artist has indeed stolen your design, and does this habitually one of two things will eventually happen...either they will finally develop their own style, or people will get wise, and/or the reproduction artist will get bored and they will go out of business.

The very best thing you can do is handle the matter privately and quietly so that you seem like the mature adult that you are, and you can make something more creative that is harder to reproduce the next time. 

Before you start playing the injured victim...let me ask you something, do you have anything in your closet that's a knock off of a famous designer?  If so, why do you have the knock off?  Was it more affordable?  Did you even know it was a knock off when you bought it?  If the answer to any of those is yes...then you have no room to play the injured party when it happens to you.

What about if you are on the receiving end of these accusations?  It seems as if the entire Internet hates you for something you didn't even do on purpose.  Maybe you want to give up, and go into a different line of work.  The truth is only a small handful of people ever see anything, and they tend to have short memories where such things are concerned.  If they are the sorts of people who eat up scandals, never fear a new one will come along to divert their attention soon enough.  In a month or two they won't even remember the incident you were involved in.  It sucks when it happens, but it passes in time.  If you are an honest designer, it won't have that great of an impact on your business in the long run.  Most of us are not malicious people who purposely copy someone else.  But we are human, we are subject to the influences of current whims and trends, and we have brains that are fallible in perfect memory about what all we see.  I believe that most of us go through life with good intentions, but sometimes those things go awry. 

If you are in business long enough, and put yourself out there enough it WILL happen to you eventually from one side or the other.  When it does, handle it the best, most professional way possible, and know that it's not the end of the world.  It's not going to impact your business that much.  If you read about this happening to another artist, be wise enough to know you don't know the whole story...and please don't join the mob of torch bearing villagers ready to burn the beast!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope you're all having a day filled with love and lovely things!  We aren't doing much today since it's a Monday.  We are going to have steaks and hang out at home.  But somewhere along the line my darling R learned that despite Valentines Day not being important to him, it was to me.

So we decided to celebrate on Saturday.  It was SUCH a beautiful day.  Nearly 60 degrees, completely unheard of in Colorado this time of year.  We headed up to Denver and had lunch at La Hacienda.  It's one of our favorite restaurants.  I could eat Mexican 6 days a week and so could he.  It's one of the few food choices we don't clash on.

After that he offered again to take me shopping.  I declined again since I felt I had spent so much on Thursday's little adventures, plus he always says he would rather get shot in the foot than go shopping because it would be more fun and he would get more sympathy.  But he took me anyway. 

He has been mooning over a smart phone, (which I sorta suspect had something to do with his being determined about the shopping trip) so I decided since he was being such a sweet guy we would go get him one.  I on the other hand, was behaving myself pretty well...I found a cute embellished tank top at Urban Outfitters, and some lovely coffee mugs at Anthropologie, but beyond that I was keeping my purse tightly shut.  That's no easy task for a nearly reformed shopaholic, believe me!  I even made it out of Sundance without buying anything AND they were having a sale.

Then I discovered that one of my favorite shops had returned to Park Meadows mall.  It's the least likely sort of shop to find in a mall, but yet there it is.  It's locally owned; Cali & Mo.  This shop is so wonderful.  They have a mix of unique items and antiques.  The owner has a wonderful eye.  I had actually made it out of the store without indulging myself, but I spied the bracelet above in the window.  R felt that was the perfect Valentine present and bought it for me straight away!  Isn't he sweet!

I got to have a second adventure and come home with a few more little treasures and trinkets...all in one week.  What more could a girl ask for!

I wish you all lots of love and hugs and goodies!  K. <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

Toes And Treasures

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day.  It was cold, but what a bright blue sky!  It was the perfect day for a little bit of adventure.  I woke up feeling completely excited.  It was going to be a girl day!

Now I love going places with R, but there is something special about having a day with a female friend.  I suppose it's because I don't get many of those anymore.  As I have told you before, all the female friends I had that live in town have either moved, or moved on.  So those girl days that used to come a few times a week, now only come a few times a year.

When I got to the freeway I felt that old familiar quiver in my stomach.  Having traveled so much in my life, when I am faced with an open road the gypsy in my soul stirs and I get's almost the exact same feeling as falling in love.

I was only going as far as Castle Rock, but it didn't matter.  It took less than an hour to get there.  I pulled up in front of the quaint Victorian house that was the restaurant I was to meet my friend at for lunch. 

After that it was off to Copper Falls spa.  We had pedicures.  I know you will probably be amazed when I tell you that I have never had a professional pedicure before.  It was heavenly!  If I were a rich woman, I would have someone do something for me every week at a spa.  It's my guilty pleasure.  Don't my toenails look fabulous!

After a blissful hour of being pampered we trudged half a block in 19 degrees wearing those funny little sandals they give you, carrying our shoes.  We stopped at a Parisian cafe for macchiatos. 

After an hour of drying and gabbing, we headed off to The Barn.  Don't let the name fool you.  The Barn is indeed a big white barn, but it houses one of the best antique shops I have ever been in...and I have been in quite a few.

We bought a few treasures including some glitzy bracelets, a letter opener, a lace scarf, and a decorating magazine that I love but find only on rare occasion because it's from Denmark.  I also got some cute little buttons and yards and yards of ribbon to use on bears!  There were a couple other little trinkets as well.

By then it was time to head home.  I could have let the day last much longer, but I suppose all good things much come to an end.  I am already dreaming of my next girl day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

~*~ Posy Puppy ~*~

For the very first time ever, I have made a puppy!  I am pretty pleased with the way she came out. 

She is 4 3/4 inches tall, hand stitched and distressed, and has glass eyes. 

If you would like to adopt her, you can send me an e-mail.  She is 95.00 + 8.00 for US shipping, 12.00 for international.

Monday, February 7, 2011

~ 30th Anniversary Bears Update ~

It's very rare that I make an "edition" bear, but thirty years is a very rare thing too.  So I have one bear for each decade.  They area slightly different, but the same.

I am very pleased with them, so without further ado...let me introduce you to the very first bears of 2011; Tivoli, Apollo, and Savoy.  They are named after theaters.  I don't know why, it just seemed like the thing.

There was actually going to be a new little animal in this update, but he didn't quite get finished since I redid the website layout too.  I will offer him on my blog in a few days.

In the mean time.  You can visit my website to adopt on of these cuties!  (Click the link at the right!)

Hugs, K.  <3

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Update Teaser

I have a little teaser of the upcoming anniversary bears.  They are in a huddle since the Super Bowl is coming up this weekend.  They aren't distressed yet, but you can see they will be tan, blue and peach!

It has been so insanely crazy cold here I can't even tell you.  We have been lucky enough to be just west of the blizzard zone, but it was below zero by quite a bit the last couple days.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer.  I certainly hope so.  R is stuck up in Denver for the night.  So it's sleep and work for me tonight!

More soon....Hugs, K. <3
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