What at first appears as a hurdle

I am still experimenting with Flat Spiral stitch. I’m learning a lot I didn’t expect to learn, which is why I haven’t yet moved on to a more difficult technique. I’ve wished to go on a tour of learning (and experimenting with) all the beadworking stitches I know of or have heard about (Cubic Right-Angle Weave being a possible exception, but that’s just an intimidation and, “why,” factor: which possibly means I can learn a lot from it and should do it), in order to learn the mechanics of the stitches, and try to derive how they work. This is with the eventual goal of being able to understand the stitches and learn how and when to break free from them.

Alongside this…I have discovered that I have at least four or so design projects in motion — at the same time, in different stages — and I’m having difficulty prioritizing work on one, over another. I only expect this issue to get worse as time goes on and I gain a wider repertoire of designs, unless I can do something about managing priorities. I do love to multitask, but seriously, I’m telling myself that I need to just pick one thing and work on it, as I have a tendency to be scattered. Especially, recently.

My space is limited, and I still have a hard time finding things when I need them…when I’ve just put them down, they’re within arm’s reach, and I should know where they are. I mean seriously, the area I’m in is a mess when it’s being used…but I think I’ll do better once I figure out where I tend to habitually put things. Right now, my placement of things seems to be organized by function, project, and staging areas.

What I used to do at work was create a hierarchy of tasks to manage a plurality of priorities (it was a fast-paced environment with a lot to do)…but right now, for me, there really isn’t one thing that has to be done, before another. I do, however, expect that to change, depending on what sells, and how many custom requests I get.

Another thing that I think I’m discovering is that I may be more into Design than Manufacturing, so once I have a design decently figured out, I tend to hop to the next design that isn’t figured out, rather than exploit the one that’s polished. It would seem that I like the problem-solving and experimentation part of this, that is…though maybe I can keep my own interest by tinkering with the designs even past the point where they’re fine?

On top of this, even as much as I really don’t like to chronicle my work, or record how I came to a certain design, I’ve recently discovered that I need to do this if I want to be able to recall how I achieved a particular result. (I can draw; the issue is that my Art classes conditioned me against it. At this time, drawing [or at least, anticipating drawing] is stress-inducing for me. I tend to draw tightly, and have had to deal with people telling me to “loosen up,” for years…not like that helps in the present, though. Blueprints kind of require exactness.) I also recognize that I could keep my camera nearby and just take in-process shots every few moments to show how I did what I did. I don’t lose anything by doing so; I just expect it to be a tedious process.

And…drawing is a much more compact way of recording this information, than writing.

But yeah, that’s…I guess, that’s design. And I am getting an inkling of how recorded design instructions (all the work I go through to communicate what happens and how, either to someone else, or to myself after my memory has failed) can be copyrighted, but that this is separate of the physical method of construction.

Note that the next four paragraphs are my trying to think aloud about just what is protected by copyright. It’s been edited — a lot. Sometimes I can come to a deeper understanding, by trying to think in type; but in no way should my puzzling aloud, be taken as legal advice. I especially don’t want to mislead anyone new to all this who may think that I know what I’m talking about. If I do, I don’t know enough to know I do.

I’m thinking that just making something similar to something someone else made, without relying on that person, or their work, or their brand, may not be anything that infringes on anyone else’s intellectual property. Is the instruction — the physical, drawn-up plan of an item — the intellectual property, not the method of construction of the item?

There’s also the line between widely-known beadwork stitches or knotting techniques or wirework techniques, and specific brainchildren of specific living people…which one probably isn’t experienced enough to clearly distinguish, early on. It’s just after you’ve been in the beading community for years that you get used to seeing specific techniques popping up over and over again, and you start to recognize when examples in books aren’t using highly unique variants of stitches.

Like, maybe if I made a certain model of earrings and someone else saw them and made some like them, or inspired by them, there might not be much one could or really should do (unless it’s a pattern of behavior). That’s kind of…culture at work. But if someone took the work I did in explaining how to make those earrings, and distributed my explanations and schematics for their personal financial gain without notifying me, that would be a deeper grey — because they’re essentially selling my labor for their gain.

The copyrightable work is the literal explanation?

Not to assert or infer any qualifications to give legal advice, again…I’m still just untangling the differences between technique and design, because for so long I hadn’t designed. I’m feeling my way through this instead of researching, because I know things become clearer, the more I design for myself. I also have a feeling that some of these terms — technique, design, construction, pattern — are technical and difficult to understand from an outside perspective (or possibly, without training). Maybe I should actually write to the legal team at Lark or Kalmbach or Interweave, and ask for clarification? I can say I’m doing it for an article. 😀 And then I can actually write an article.

Or, I could just join a reputable forum, and ask. Not that I know where those are, heh…though I do remember one place, from a while ago. (I haven’t been lurking on Social Media for long, so, well, I have a lot of people to meet.)

I have recorded my own designs, before. Just…doing it for beadweaving, can get really hard to decipher; particularly with seed beads, as they’re so small, and the work is intricate. This is where multicolored fineliner pens and markers, come in. But even with pens, you’re dealing with trying not to make a mistake unless you’re using erasable ink, and I have seen my Pilot Frixion marks disappearing over a period of months just from sunlight, not even from rubbing.

The informational loss on this last project I didn’t record isn’t monumental: I was planning on trying to improve my design the next time I worked on it. However…it’s hard to start from the place at which you left off, if you can’t remember how you originally got to that point.

I told myself when I stopped working on this some months ago, that I would come back to it soon enough that I would remember what I did, and wouldn’t need to record it. I revisited this yesterday. Not months ago. It is possible for me to figure out what I did by systematically destroying my work in a reverse fashion, at least unless I reinforced things to the point where I can’t pull the beads apart (which I may have done)…but I don’t think it’s worth it, this time.

What I can remember of what I did, gets me to the point where I have a really nice little drop for an earring — I think I remember it because I tried a method that I had seen in a book, where I’m utilizing fringe and then connecting the turning beads. It’s really pretty neat.

One of the things Flat Spiral stitch has taught me is that what may at first seem to be a hurdle, may not be one, on further inquiry. Last night I was toying with using 4mm Fire-Polished round beads instead of 4mm Druks (plain pressed-glass rounds) as the core beads in my Flat Spiral work. These — actually, work great. I also tried using some smallish 2mm Fire-Polished beads as accents on the embellishments…which were not much different from using size 8/0 seed beads (I still have a messed-up sample from that work). I took a chance and tried fitting a 3mm Fire-Polished bead in that space. So much better. Really. I couldn’t even imagine how much better it would be.

This matters because 3mm beads are much, much easier to come by, and come in more variety, than 2mm beads. Something else that I might forget is that it’s OK to use plain opaque beads for contrast. I’m using what I think are 4mm Capri Blue Fire-Polished beads for my core, which…well, Capri Blue is a very intense blue-green, and these are transparent faceted beads (most, if not all, Fire-Polished beads are faceted), so they’re also really sparkly. I had tried “all sparkly” originally (silver 2mm Fire-Polished beads, with silverlined size 11/0 beads), which was pretty overwhelming — and it was hard to tell one bead apart from another.

I switched to a seed bead which reminds me of plain Sleeping Beauty Turquoise (blue-green, opaque), and — I think I’m actually using transparent Cobalt Blue 3mm Fire-Polished beads, which are way darker in value than what I originally had there (contrast! a positive!), as well as different in temperature from either the Capri Blue or the Turquoise, which both lean green. (Cobalt Blue, in glass, is an intense, dark, rich blue-violet.)

I am still hanging around the analogous color schemes, but I’m doing it as a way to ease myself back into color work. Over time, I can see myself developing in my security with color — I’ve come a long way from the grey and black of my youth. 😉

I believe I covered what I intended to…if not, I’ll return to it at another time. I would go and take some photos (the sun is up, now), but I have a feeling there’s going to be a collage at the end of this. I’ve also been awake all night. Why? I don’t know. Maybe there’s going to be an earthquake or something. No idea.

But I’ll try and get some rest.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). Currently, they are trying to figure out whether to place their energies more into language and language arts, or producing handcrafted jewelry and face coverings, for the interim...

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