Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quick Update

I've just updated my Etsy shop and a lot of the jewellery I've shown you here is now available to buy. There will be more tomorrow.

Orphan Act - Update and UK Info

Here are three addresses to contact with your concerns:

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The World Trade Organisation
With regard to the WTO, it's an important place to contact, as this USA bill would totally conflict with the agreetments in place for enforcing copyright infringment.

If you are a member of Etsy or any other artist community, make sure you spread the word there, too.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Alison (check out her cute Platypus and her cool photos!) and her kids are always on the lookout for sea glass for me, so I thought they all deserved a special treat.

Green Man Necklace

Alison (if I remember rightly) really likes the Green Man and I found a lovely vintage brass stamping of him which I decided to use in a special necklace for her.

I've also added a nugget of deep green sea glass that, although it has been through my pebble polisher, still has some texture and wrapped it in some brass filigree. The green man stamping didn't have any loops so I created two by bending the sides of his beard backwards and by soldering a jump ring to the bottom of his beard. (That took me longer than making the whole necklace!)

The chain, bead caps, clasp and the little leaf charm are all vintage. I used two different types of chain, one has almost rectangular links, the other has figure of eight links; both are brass.

The beads are all new from the dark green round beads encased by teeny flower petal bead caps to the peridot green flower beads and the Japanese seed beads which are a wonderful dark, matte green.

The final touch was a little dangle made with an eye pin, the aforementioned green seedbeads and leaf charm:

And here's the whole necklace:

Feather Key Ring

Alison's son been busily helping collecting glass, so here's his treat, a key ring made with lovely wooden beads in different shapes, sizes, in varying shades of blue and cream, a lovely ceramic bead with a simple bird drawing engraved in it and a gorgeous feather charm. The beads are all strung on silky rat tail in two different shades of blue.

And here's the third present for Alison's daughter.

Tattoo V2 Necklace

Like the first Tattoo necklace, this was made with spirals that have been hammered flat and then strung together with much thinner wire. However, this time the whole design is slightly smaller and made from copper and bronze wire. I like the two-tone effect after the oxidisation process. I think it really works to make it into something special.

Secret Heart and Forgetmenots

More fun with wire. :-)

Been playing with wire shapes as you could see with the Pear Blossom necklace and the Cloudberry Bracelet. This time I've set my heart on a wicker type heart with a little heart hidden inside it.

Secret Heart

I started with a heart shaped wire frame I made from 0.9mm bronze wire, which I hammered flat to strengthen it. Then I added centre supports and a sort of scaffold going out from the centre supports in 0.5mm bronze wire.

I added the little wrapped vintage heart bead in the centre, and finally covered the heart shape in a criss cross pattern with 0.2mm (very fine) bronze wire.

Next, I started on the barbed wire chain.

I used the 0.9mm wire to make little eye pins with eyes on both ends, which I hammered flat. With the 0.5mm wire I then created the barbs for the wire on each of the little links. The next step was making jump rings and a custom made clasp for the chain. I linked everything together and the necklace was finished apart from the oxidisation. The chain - although it does look like barbed wire - is perfectly safe. There are no sharp edges on the barbs, as I've just squashed loops to make them look like barbs, which works just as well but is comfortable to wear.

It looked nice in plain bronze - see the Etruscan necklace - but the secret heart was not very visible and oxidising it made it far more interesting. A bit gothic, admittedly, but I think it works.

Forget-Me-Knots Necklace

This was born from a little sunshine and the pretty blue vintage flower beads (made from lucite) that arrived in the post the other day.

I started off with a kind of sprig in 0.9mm bronze wire to which I attached three flowers made with the lucite flower beads, some ivory coloured size 8 and yellow size 15 Japanese seed beads and some thin (0.5mm) wire.

I made three of these flower sprigs, connected them with handmade jumprings and added some ready made copper chain and a handmade clasp. The copper chain works much better with the bronze wire as the bronze wire looks almost like rose gold and the rosey sheen of it is closer to copper than the grey/gold/green sheen of ready made antiqued bronze chain.

The final touch are the Miyuki drops in yellow, pale blue, deep blue and white I attached as a little dangle next to the chain.

Orphans Act 2008

This is for everyone who doesn't know about it yet: last Friday both the Senate and House introduced variations of the same bill: The Shawn Bentley Orphan Acts of 2008 (S. 2913) and The Orphan Works Act of 2008 (H.R. 5889). If these bills pass, they will have devastating consequences for visual artists.

The information here was summarised by Joanne Fink. I will post any links and other information on my blog as and when it is available.

This doesn't just affect illustrators and artists in the US but worldwide. It's important that we are aware of this here in the UK and everywhere else.

Having been involved in strategy sessions for the last few days with Brad Holland (Illustrator’s Partnership) and others, let me outline what you can do that would be helpful.

1. Write a letter to your congressional House leader and Senators stating your opposition to the bills. Send the letter both by e-mail and fax.

2. Help raise awareness about the potential consequences of this legislation, and ask everyone you know to write and send letters.

A number of groups which oppose this legislation are collaborating on creating a website which will enable you to e-mail your congressional leaders with the push of button. It will also contain sample letters. I will post the link as soon as the site is live.

The main reasons to object to this legislation are listed below. In case any of you want to start work on your letters before the sample letters are published, I’ve also included additional information to help you explain and clarify these objections.

1. It changes the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act (enacted in 1978), and makes it virtually impossible for artists to protect their work. It basically allows anyone to use a design without the copyright holder’s permission.

Under current law, you receive basic copyright protection even if you don’t register your work. Under Orphan Works law your work could be declared an orphan even if you have registered it. Congress, in enacting the Copyright Act of 1976, provided that copyright exists in the creation of any work that is copyrightable subject matter, regardless of whether or not the owner has performed any legal formalities, such as registration, or copyright notices, or taken any steps to protect or defend the copyright. Since 1978 (when it was enacted) many creators have relied upon the Copyright Act of 1976, and employed business practices based upon the protections it offered. The proposed Orphan Works Act of 2008 would have the effect of depriving certain creators of the ability to enforce their copyrights because they did not take steps that the Copyright Act of 1976 did not require them to take. In essence, it will give infringers the legal means to use a design without the copyright holder’s permission.

2. It requires artists to attempt to protect their work by registering it with a digital data base system (presumably for a fee, in addition to the copyright filing fee)—when no such system exists!

The proposed legislation is predicated on the establishment of private, profit making registries that would establish databases of digital versions of artworks and provide a place for infringers to try to locate the artist, BUT it will be enacted whether or not these data bases ever come into existence. This will relieve the infringer of liability if he simply attempts a search that cannot possibly be performed successfully.

In addition, the legislation places no limit on the number of these registries or the prices they would charge. The burden of paying for digitization and depositing the digitized copy with the private registry would presumably fall entirely on the artist, and even if an image is contained in the registry, as long as the infringer “looks” without finding it, the infringement is allowed. There is no liability imposed for the failure of a database to find an image registered in that database when it is searched, and no requirement that all available databases be searched, thus potentially requiring multiple registrations (and multiple registration fees). Also there are no safeguards to prevent any person or company from fraudulently registering work they do not own.

3. It eliminates statutory damages wherever an infringer can successfully claim an orphan works defense, thus eliminating the only tool the law provides to prevent deliberate infringement.

Current law almost certainly deters rampant infringement because the present remedies – damages of up to $150,000 per infringing article-- make infringement risky. By “limiting remedies,” the Orphan Works amendment will effectively create a no-fault license to infringe.

4. It allows for an infringer to create—and copyright—a derivative work from the original design.

Under current law, the right to create a derivative work is one of an artist’s exclusive rights. Section103(a) says a user can’t copyright a derivative image that he’s infringed. “Protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.” Under the proposed new bills, since the entirety of an infringed work can be included in a derivative use, then the copyright of the derivative will amount to a copyright of the original. This would be a de facto capture of new exclusive rights by the infringer. In other words, these bills allow infringers to make and copyright derivatives—even if the copyright holder to the original work objects.

If this legislation passes it would mean a return to pre-1976 U.S. Copyright Act when many artists' works fell into the public domain because they could not afford to comply with the formalities of registration as a condition of copyright protection. This violates the trust under which American artists have worked for the last 30 years, and nullifies our U.S. Copyright registrations. Further, it is against the Berne Convention, and invites retaliation from around the world because international artists' works are just as vulnerable to infringement under the U.S. Orphan Works Act.

Now let me recap the current situation:

The Senate has only given a few days for comments on the bill to be made; they are due Wednesday, April 30th. The House has not specified a time-frame, and may give as little as 24 hours notice before closing the window for comments. There are several loosely allied groups which are opposing the legislation. These include The Illustrator’s Partnership (illustrators), The Artists’ Rights Society (fine artists), The Advertising Photographers of America (photographers), the Artists Foundation (fine artists), the Textile coalition (4 textile groups) and the Industry Coalition (whose members include the Craft and Hobby Association and George Little Management). During an OW strategy session Friday afternoon, Corrine Kevorkian, counsel for textile giant F. Shumacher, shared that the Textile coalition intends to recommend to the Senate that they adopt the House version. If this happens, the Textile industry will be spared the draconian impact of the Orphan Works Act because the House version exempts useful articles (see #1 below). She also intends to emphasize that the legislation shouldn’t take effect until the electronic data bases actually exist.

Although the bills are similar, there are some important differences to note. Both are devastating to all visual artists, but the House bill is somewhat less objectionable. Here are the three main differences:

1. The House bill includes an exception for useful articles, which (as far as I can determine) means that products (such as textiles and mugs) which are functional whether or not design has been applied to them, will not be impacted by this legislation.

2. The House bill also requires that manufacturers file their intention to use an image before they can use it --although it does not (a) specify a time period or method for doing so, (b) does not require an image to be included, only a verbal description (the Mona Lisa, for example could be described as “a dark-haired woman with an unusual expression” which would supposedly allow Leonardo to identify his work), and (c) does not require the filings to be readily searchable to allow an artist to monitor unauthorized uses of his/her work.

3. The House bill allows for a longer (possible) time period before implementation: January 1, 2013 vs. the Senate bill which uses the date of January 1, 2011. Unfortunately both bills are scheduled to take effect on the earlier of: “the date on which the Copyright Office certifies under section 3 at least 2 separate and independent searchable, comprehensive, electronic databases, that allow for searches of copyrighted works that are pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, and are available to the public through the Internet; or the January 1st, 2011 or 2013 listed by the respective bills. This means that if there is no visually searchable database operable before the date(s) listed, the legislation goes into effect anyway!

If you would like additional information on the potential impact of this legislation, you can learn more by

a. Reviewing the submission to the House by the Illustrator’s Partnership

b. Listening to Brad Holland’s informative webcast.

This is a very serious situation, and will require a concerted effort on all of our parts to stop it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

My New Bike!!!

Ta Da!!! My new bike!

I hadn't really set out to buy a motorbike this weekend, but when the opportunity arose, well, how could I say no to this cute bike? There was just no way!!!

It's a Royal Enfield 350CC Bullet, a lovely coral red (well, almost everywhere, apart from little bits where the paint has flaked off - it adds to its charm) and it's just so cute it makes you grin all the time.

Needs a bit of work and an MOT, but then I'll be up and running... I hope, it's got a kick start and the gears are on the wrong side. It'll go from 0 to 60 in about 4 days and and it'll only ever reach 100mph if I drive it off a steep cliff. But, hey, it's a 1981 bike based on the original 1955 design and has been imported from India some time back. It's been around the block and so have I, so we'll get on fabulously.

Just wanted to share...

Re-invented Black Sun

I am having one of those strange days when nothing seems to go quite right. Found a cool contest on Etsy yesterday with a theme of Cinco de Mayo and thought, hmm, with a few teeny changes my Black Sun necklace would be perfect. So I made the changes and took the photos, ready to upload... and then I just couldn't find the contest anymore!!! Really should have saved the link!

However, I think the changes made it into an even more exciting necklace than it was. Sorry, it's a lovely necklace and much prettier in real life than my measly photographs are showing.

I've added two different coloured turquoise chips (lovely deep cerulean blue and a slightly lighter shade) and a Kyanite rondelle to a bit of shaped wire and then did a fancy swirly bit for a lovely heart shaped turquoise. The blue really seems to set of the gold of the chalcedony and amber, and the oranges and reds of the Carnelian and Coral.

So, all in all I am glad I made the changes. :-)

See for yourself.

Pear Blossom

My latest design. Took me all of a whole day to make this, but I think it was worth every minute. I had fun designing this as I tried out lots of new techniques and combined them with old and tested ones.

I started off with the leaves - lovely heart shaped leaves that I made from thick copper wire, then hammered flat, finally I added the veining with thin copper wire. When all three were done, I first scorched them with my new pencil torch, rubbed them with some wire wool, verdigrised them to an old family recipe (watch this space, I'll post the process), and, finally, varnished them to make sure the verdigris would not react with the skin.

The next step was the pretty chain for the necklace and bracelet. They are both made of figure of eight links in a mix of copper and bronze, and the ones for the necklace are graduating from very small to quite large. The links for the bracelet are made with links that are all of the same size in a ladder design. Some pretty handmade (of course!) clasps and then it was time for the next step.

The blossoms are made mainly from rosequartz - a large briolette, chips, a lovely smooth nugget, a pale pink glass bead, and some rosy seed beads (teeny and Japanese).

Now it was all ready for the final step, the assembly and here are the finished articles:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wire Fever Still Raging...

Well, I've been busy... as per usual. I just can't get enough of the wire! It's addictive. You may also notice that my jewellery is becoming more sculptural. I just love the way you can bend and hammer the wire into almost any shape.

Here are my latest creations.

Keishi Petal Necklace

This is a necklace made with handsawn and brushed silver tubes, keishi petal pearls in silver grey, a single white new jade bead and lots of sterling silver wire. The pendant is a flower made with keishi petal pearls and the new jade round bead. The clasp is handmade too. At the bottom is a picture with a penny so you can appreciate how delicate the necklace really is.

Cranberry Sweetie Necklace

This is a necklace I made for myself to go with all my silver bangles. I wanted something to go with everything and this fit the bill perfectly. It's been made with handsawn and brushed square silver tubes, tiny garnet rectangles and lots of silver wire. The clasp is also sterling silver wire but bought. Again, at the bottom is a picture with a penny to show the size of the necklace parts.

Cloudberry Bracelet

Little hammered, flattened, shaped and partially brushed clouds made with fine sterling silver, filled with a variety of beads: pale blue and powder blue facetted chalcedony, white jade, crackled rock quartz cubes and frosted rock quartz rounds, lace agate in cube and chip form. A lovely opalite drop near the handmade clasp together with a handmade sterling silver heart and another frosted rock quartz round bead.

Cherry Blossom Earrings

The cherry trees are in bloom all around which inspired me to make these earrings. I've made oxidised sterling silver wire swirls, hammered and bashed them into shape, added some pale pink chalcedony, bright pink candy jade, and some lovely hot pink fossil beads to make it all work. The earwires and jumprings are also sterling silver wire and made by my own - not so fair - hands (the wire works is taking its toll).

Black Sun Necklace

This was inspired by the big black chalcedony I used as a pendant. I added lots of different beads to bring it all together, there are coral sticks, carnelian (chips and beads in dark red and orange), golden amber chips, and orange and sunny chalcedony. There are three lovely handmade bronze connectors and the findings (chain, jumprings) are a mix of copper and bronze which I oxidised.

Dragon's Tale Necklace and Bracelet

This one's ALL MINE. :-)

I bought these absolutely stunning, gorgeous handmade beads that looked to me like dragon's scales. I just couldn't resist making something with them almost the minute they arrived.

The necklace is shaped like a dragon with a bronze wire flame shape at one end and the beads getting smaller and smaller towards the end of the dragon's tail. I've used a variety of beads, from the beautiful handmade beads to lava beads, citrine, a plethora of glass beads, green coloured two-tone crystal, jade cubes and Miyuki cubes and Kyanite and black chalcedony rondelles. Mixed in with this are my handmade swirly connectors and there's a litte wire heart at the end of the dragon's tail. The dragon's tail fits through the flames at the beginning. Very mystical, I know. ;-) The bracelet is made with mostly the same beads but the tail doubles back on itself.

It took forever and a day to make all the links and string the beads, so it's a tale and a half, but well worth the effort.

Tattoo Necklace

Sorry guys, this one is ALL MINE too! I love making swirls and this one turned out looking like a tattoo, even more so when worn. It's made with two thicknesses of fine silver wire, the swirls made, then hammered flat, and lastly tied together - imagine puzzle shapes - with much thinner wire. A last tender bashing of the thinner wire to make it all stay in place. Least but not last, I've attached very thin sterling silver chain and a bought clasp and oxidised the lot. Voila!

Klimtesque Vine Necklace

Can you tell yet that I do like swirls? This one is made in the same way as the tattoo necklace but this time with copper wire and chain. I've made a clasp for it and added a lovely little dangle with a beautiful teal copper framed beads.

Ginkgo Necklace and Earrings

This set must be one of my all time favourites. It's absolutely stunning in real life (rather than on a picture on a computer... sniff).

I've shaped a Ginkgo leaf from thick copper wire, then added the veins with much thinner copper wire giving the leaves a look of skeleton leaves. Lovely golden yellow chalcedony beads dangle like little flowers in the centre of each leaf. A little dip to oxidise them, then I added the gunmetal chain and put the earrings together - the earwires and jumprings are handmade too, apart from the ones attaching the pendant to the chain, the handmade ones were too thick to get through the links of the chain.

Cityscape Bangle

This is a freeform double cuff bangle. It was quite difficult to do as I had to hammer the bronze wire between the be to ensure that it would be firm enough to put on and take off. The beads look like little sweeties - white with green and blue stripes respectively - and the pretty little opalite cubes add interest. More texture is added with the little spiral connectors above the candy (furnace) beads. Finally, I added a spray of Miyuki drops to one side.

SOLD - to Penny. :-)

Jewellery Display

There's no space in the house left to hang my jewellery so I had to get creative with some more wire.

I made the frame from silver plated copper wire, the used two thicknesses of black iron wire to create the 'web'. Took half a day to make. Oh well, only another 11 more to go....

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